The socioeconomic and political effects of the fence on the Palestinians in Jerusalem are many:
1. Mobility: the consequences of the fence for the freedom of movement of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem or those living near its boundaries are tremendous. Tens of thousands of Palestinians cross the checkpoints into Jerusalem every day. The extensive security inspections lengthen the daily commute and affect mainly the elderly, schoolchildren and women traveling with small children.
Furthermore, in November 2008 the IDF and the Israel Police ordered employees of the medical sector working in East Jerusalem to leave the West Bank only through the Qalandia checkpoint in Ramallah. That order causes delays and has an impact on working conditions in the hospitals of East Jerusalem. Following pressures by various organizations, the restrictions were eased for doctors but not for other health professionals.
2. Access to religious sites: the fence has also greatly diminished access to Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem. During Ramadan, the Civil Administration allows older Palestinians and women over the age of 40-50 to enter Jerusalem freely, but it restricts men ages 14-49 and requires them to ask for special permits. During Easter, Christian residents of the West Bank and Gaza are required to submit applications for permits to visit their holy sites in Jerusalem. In 2010 two buses traveling from Ramallah and Bethlehem to participate in the Palm Sunday procession were held up at checkpoints, and Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem was shut down on Palm Sunday until the following Thursday, in response to a nonviolent procession by Palestinian Christians who tried to march to Jerusalem from Bethlehem. The closure of the checkpoint prevented the Palestinian Christians from participating in religious ceremonies in Jerusalem, although there were some who managed to get through other checkpoints.
3. Health: completion of the construction of the fence in Jerusalem is preventing tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the neighborhoods and villages around Jerusalem from receiving adequate medical care at Palestinian hospitals, most of which are located in East Jerusalem. The fence and system of checkpoints requires Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances in the West Bank to coordinate their travel to hospitals in East Jerusalem with the Civil Administration health officer in advance, despite the official recognition of the right of the Red Crescent to operate in East Jerusalem. This causes long delays or completely prevents the entry of the ambulances, both of which can have grave consequences.
4. Education: The fence greatly impedes access to education since students of all ages have to cross checkpoints in and out of the city on a daily basis. According to statistics collected by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2007, no less than 6000 students and 650 teachers living east of the fence had difficulty accessing schools in East Jerusalem. The schools reported a loss of students and staff following construction of the fence, to the point of fear for their continued existence.
5. Economic deterioration: the separation fence has contributed to the continued economic deterioration of East Jerusalem and the rise in the poverty level. In the past, East Jerusalem flourished as the economic center of the West Bank. With the institution of the fence system and its attending permits, East Jerusalem was almost completely disconnected from the West Bank. The construction of the fence requires the Palestinians to change their buying patterns since it prevents Palestinian residents of the West Bank from buying or selling in Jerusalem and poses difficulties for Jerusalem Palestinians who wish to do business in the West Bank.
6. The return of Palestinians to the city: as a result of the obstacles Israel has placed on Palestinian construction in Jerusalem, many Palestinian residents, some 45,000, have moved to Palestinian towns close to Jerusalem, such as Abu Dis, al-Azariya or al-Ram. These residents have built homes outside of the city but maintained their addresses and assets in Jerusalem so as not to lose their rights as residents of the city. Since the wall went up, these Palestinians, who are permanent residents of Jerusalem, remained on the east side of the wall and have to go through checkpoints and make major bypasses in order to enter the city every day. The Jerusalem Institute and the National Security Council estimated that many of the permanent Palestinian residents who remained on the east side of the wall would prefer to return to the city and predicted a migration of 50,000-60,000 people.
The return to the city has caused a steep rise in housing prices; today it is sometimes as expensive to buy or rent an apartment in East Jerusalem as it is on the west side of the city. This situation is creating high density in the neighborhoods that remained in Jerusalem, especially around the Old City, whose status the Palestinians believe will not be changed. This has raised the already high levels of poverty and unemployment of the Palestinians, increased the burden on the already shaky municipal infrastructures and has the potential to destabilize not only East Jerusalem but the entire city.