East-Jerusalem’s Arab Neighborhoods – Fourth Case Study
The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies in cooperation with the Jerusalem office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty conducted a fourth round table in the frame of its joint research and dialogue project on Arab neighborhoods in East-Jerusalem, this time dealing with the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood. The roundtable took place on November 19th, 2015 in Jerusalem and gathered researchers, community representatives, local leaders and representatives of the Jerusalem municipality to discuss infrastructural, social and economic problems of the neighborhood and possible ways to improve the situation on the ground. Main problems raised were the garbage disposal facility, which collects the garbage from the old city and which is located near to a Muslim cemetery and a memorial site and on the way to the holy sites of the old city and which the residents demand to evacuate for the last two years. The municipality’s representatives said that they are searching for a new location to transfer the disposal facility. Another problem in the neighborhood is the lack of education facilities. There is no elementary school and there is a shortage of 300 class rooms. The municipality explained that they have allocated a piece of land for building a school on it but currently they are in a dispute with the Antiquities Authority over this piece of land. In addition there is no public garden in the neighborhood and no leisure facilities. The municipality points out that it has detected two locations suitable for a future public park, one next to the Rockefeller Garden and one in the era of “Karem al-Mufti”. Moreover the overall condition of the road system is very poor in the neighborhood and parking lots are missing, especially along the main road, where car garages and shops are located, which often deters potential customers.
The municipality’s representatives emphasized the good relations with the residents’ committee and raised their efforts to improve the condition of the neighborhood. The municipality is determined to close the gaps between East and West Jerusalem, but this needs a joint effort of the municipality, the government and the civil society, since the gaps have grown wide over the last decades.