Rights Group: 75% of Palestinian Children in East Jerusalem Live in Poverty

ACRI report cites a severe discrimination and neglect in East Jerusalem, which is home to more than 300,000 Palestinians.

Almost three-quarters of Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem are poor, according to a report released by an Israeli human rights group on Monday.

East Jerusalem children

Some 95,000 East Jerusalem minors (around 74 percent) live under the poverty live, compared to about 45 per cent of minors living in Jewish neighborhoods.

In all, nearly two-thirds of Palestinian families live in poverty, compared to nearly one third of Jewish families, according to the report, titled Human Rights in East Jerusalem 2010, which was compiled by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

The report comes ahead of Israel's celebrations to mark 43 years since it captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel celebrates the "liberation" of East Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall and the "reunification" of East and West Jerusalem as "Jerusalem Day." The holiday starts at sundown on Tuesday and ends at sunset on Wednesday.

The ACRI cites a "severe state of discrimination and neglect" in East Jerusalem, which is inhabited by more than 300,000 Palestinians, or 36 percent of the city's total population.

Municipal services are worse in East Jerusalem than in the West, according to the report.

More than half of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have no suitable or legal connection to the water network. The group also reported a shortage of 1,000 classrooms and noted that while West Jerusalem had 42 post offices, East Jerusalem had eight.

Israeli authorities demolished 80 Palestinian homes in 2009, leaving 300 people homeless, the report said. The houses were built without legal permits, but Palestinian residents complain these are hard to get by.

"This past year, East Jerusalem has been on everyone's agenda, making headlines here and abroad," ACRI attorney Tali Nir said.

"Unfortunately, despite all this attention, the harsh reality of everyday life here remains unknown, ignored by both the authorities and the public."

Reacting to the report, the Jerusalem Municipality said it was aware of the gaps between East and West Jerusalem and was taking action to reduce them. It said it was spending more money on education in East Jerusalem than in the West and that sanitation had improved since Mayor Nir Barkat took office more than a year ago. It added it was promoting housing projects for the Arab public in the city.