The Palestinian population of East Jerusalem has been suffering from municipal inequality in a range of areas for many years, even though by its legal status it is entitled to all the rights and the same level of services granted to the Israeli population of the city.
A 2005 study by city councilman Dr. Meir Margalit found that even though the residents of East Jerusalem constitute 33% of the city's population, the municipal budget invested in that part of the city is only 8-11%.
Two grave areas of municipal inequality are planning and education.
The planning problem includes erecting various obstacles to the physical development of the Palestinian neighborhoods, such as failing to draw up outline plans, zoning a large part of the Palestinian land reserves as green areas where construction is forbidden and more. This policy has led to a widespread phenomenon of unauthorized and unplanned construction in the Palestinian neighborhoods, exposing this construction to the perpetual threat of demolition by the authorities. To learn more about planning in East Jerusalem
In the area of education there is an ongoing failure to build enough classrooms to meet the needs of the developing population, even though the Palestinian children of East Jerusalem are subject, like Israeli children, to the free compulsory education law for 12 years of schooling. As of 2009 there was a shortage of more than 1000 classrooms; about half of the parents are forced to send their children to private education that costs money and about 5500 children go to no school whatsoever. To learn more about the education problem
Nor are municipal services delivered equally to the city's different populations. For instance, according to a report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (see here- English follows Hebrew), the postal services in East Jerusalem hardly function and there is a severe shortage of sanitation services: hundreds of streets receive no garbage collection service at all and on others the service is partial and defective. Even though this population suffers from severe poverty and unemployment (67% of the Palestinian population of the city lives beneath the poverty line), only 19% of the municipality's social worker positions are devoted to the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. Another large gap is evident in infrastructures: a shortage of 70 km worth of main sewage lines, garbage piled up along the roads, potholed streets, a shortage of sidewalks and street lighting and more.
This state of affairs raises the suspicion that the neglect of East Jerusalem and failure to deliver services to the Palestinian population are designed to encourage Palestinian emigration from the city and thereby maintain the demographic goal of a city with a solid Jewish majority. In fact, the Palestinian population of Jerusalem is growing and presently constitutes 35% of the population of the city. This population suffers from severe economic, sanitation and social hardships as well as a severe housing shortage. These problems are causing extreme social disarray including crime, a flight of the wealthier classes from the city, the flourishing of fundamentalist religious organizations and so on.
Ir Amim believes as long as East Jerusalem is under the responsibility of the municipality of Jerusalem, it must provide its residents with all of the services they deserve by law, while working to close the intolerable gaps between East and West Jerusalem and ending the severe neglect of the Palestinian neighborhoods.