Ir Amim web site


“At any given moment we must recall that we stand on the brink of a violent outburst; but we must also recall that we can influence the course of events. The desire for supremacy and the intoxication of force are two components in human life, to be sure; but they are accompanied – and no less forcefully – by the desire for a life rich in activity and love, construction and creation. And these inclinations prefer a non-violent environment, even if they tend to concentrate on the violence directed against them, rather than the violence they direct at others.

At this juncture it is important to recall something that many tend to forget: violence is not just a shooting attack, a missile falling from the sky, or a Molotov cocktail thrown at a home. It is also a checkpoint, discrimination in budgets, neglect in services, and so forth. Accordingly, those who long for a violence-free Jerusalem must act not only against overt violence but also against its covert form; not only against the violence of which they are the victims, but also against the violence that harms others.

 There are many different arenas in which it is possible to engage in such action, on a small scale and despite all the difficulties: in the political and educational arenas, as well as on the streets and in the squares. Although there is no guarantee that our work will be successful, we are not free to desist from it.”

 Professor Hillel Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,

Preface to What Will be Different Next Summer?
Ir Amim’s 2015 report on nationalist, anti-Palestinian violence


This is the work of Ir Amim: Fighting within the political and educational arenas, as well as on the streets and in the squares – knowing full well that while there is no guarantee our work will be successful, we are not free to desist from it.

 Because that is our mission. When conflict on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif escalates into violence across the city, when checkpoints threaten to close off the whole of East Jerusalem and new settler takeovers progress meters from the Old City walls, when frustration at the lack of political will to forge a political solution is at its peak, that is when Ir Amim – and you, our partners – can least afford to desist. 

These are the times in which Ir Amim is on highest alert, when our work is in greatest demand, when policy makers, advocates and opinion shapers around the world depend on Ir Amim for its monitoring, reporting and analysis.  When our advocacy to bring down the checkpoints, challenge touristic settlement projects that threaten to undermine a political resolution on the city, reroute violently abusive nationalist Jewish parades from entering Palestinian neighborhoods, increase dropout prevention programs in East Jerusalem and remedy dangerous road conditions in the neighborhoods beyond the Separation Barrier is most urgent. 

 Please stand with us during this difficult time in Jerusalem. Because when we all work together, we absolutely have successes to celebrate (like those highlighted below).

If you have already given this year, thank you for being part of the circle of support that makes our work possible.  If you have not yet given and are in a position to contribute, you can still help us close the narrow gap remaining to ensure all our vital activities are fully funded.  Your contribution couldn’t be any better timed.

 Please click here to make a donation to Ir Amim (or see bottom of newsletter for check and bank transfer options).


With gratitude from all of us here at Ir Amim… 

…and wishes for a season of light


Ir Amim Updates

IR AMIM REPORT LAUNCH: “Displaced in their Own City: The Impact of Israeli Policy in East Jerusalem on the Palestinian Neighborhoods of the City beyond the Separation Barrier

“Since the construction of the Separation Barrier, tens of thousands of residents… have been pushed out to the neighborhoods beyond the Barrier. These residents have been uprooted from the city – or, perhaps more accurately, their city has uprooted itself from them.” - Preface to report 

This past October, Ir Amim launched its comprehensive report on the eight Jerusalem neighborhoods cut off by the Separation Barrier – home to an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Palestinian permanent residents, one quarter to one third of the total Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. Despite these residents’ status and connection to the city of their birth, the Municipality has all but completely abdicated responsibility for the provision of law enforcement; emergency fire and ambulance services; and basic infrastructure, water and welfare services. At the same time, the City’s relinquishing of construction oversight has fostered conditions for a dangerous and unregulated building boom that attracts Palestinians unable to build or afford housing in the center of East Jerusalem.  

This push–pull phenomenon is recognized as the “silent transfer” of Palestinians to the neighborhoods beyond the Barrier.

Ir Amim’s report has become increasingly relevant in the context of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent public flirtation with the idea of mass revocation of permanent residency status for Palestinians living in the Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Barrier. Moreover, Mayor Barkat has declared intentions to transfer overall authority for these neighborhoods to the military’s Civil Administration. While Israel has not initiated any legal or substantive change in the official status of the neighborhoods beyond the Separation Barrier, it continues to use opportunities created by the Barrier as a tool for limiting and weakening the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem and even for uprooting it. The government maintains a basic obligation to improve the living conditions of Palestinian society in East Jerusalem as a whole, for so long as its control over these residents continues. This obligation constitutes an essential condition for any future political agreement on the city.



“Residents cannot be left that way…  Either it’s part of Jerusalem or not. If it is part of Jerusalem, give them the services they deserve.”

Judge David Mintz, Jerusalem Administrative Court, ruling on the Jerusalem Municipality’s responsibility for remedying grievous road conditions in Kufr Aqab 

On November 1, the Jerusalem Administrative Court accepted Ir Amim’s and the residents’ of Kufr Aqab’s petition against the Jerusalem Municipality and its mayor on the matter of substandard and dangerous road conditions in this north Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Separation Barrier.  

The Court’s decision obligates the respondents to develop and produce a plan for the improvement and repair of roads, including sidewalks and drainage systems, in the Kufr Aqab neighborhoods within three months of the date of the Court order, stipulating that they must be prepared to implement the plan within 6 months after submission of the plan. In addition, the Municipality and mayor were ordered to pay the appellants’ court costs of NIS 25,000.


 “We're concerned about a pattern of evictions of families in East Jerusalem. All residents deserve fair treatment under the law.”

From the Twitter account of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem

Last week, the Deputy Consul General and Political Chief of the US Consulate General made a personal visit to the home of veteran Ir Amim field researcher Ahmad Sub Laban, whose family is at imminent risk of eviction from their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. 

The Consulate General added its voice to a growing chorus of international concern over the discriminatory application of property law in Jerusalem. The Sub Labans are one of roughly 130 families in East Jerusalem struggling to maintain their homes against the threat of settler takeovers. While the law grants Jews the ability to reclaim land/property based on claims of pre-1948 ownership (in many cases, settlers using the law to evict Palestinians from their homes have no familial or legal relationship to the original owners), Palestinians are not afforded equal recourse in reclaiming their homes in West Jerusalem. 

Moreover, the Absentee Property Law has been used to confiscate more than one-third of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.

The Sub Laban family – which first rented its apartment in 1954 and has enjoyed protected tenancy status since 1967 – has been fending off takeover attempts by settlers and the Israeli General Custodian since 1978. The Sub Labans are currently requesting the right to appeal before the High Court of Justice – the last recourse in their more than three decades long struggle to maintain their family home.



“The site… presents 13 stories of men and women, young people and adults, liberal professionals or salaried workers, each of whom shares with the readers their daily lives and the difficulties they face in a candid manner, with a smart and easy-to-use interface, which makes it possible to read the stories and think about them without fulmination – and therein lies the strength of the project.”

Yediot Aharonot daily newspaper (December 6, 2015) 

The online photo documentary project 37% - Stories from East Jerusalem seeks to present the reality of life for Palestinian residents of this city – a city that is ostensibly and declaratively united, but actually divided – no more so than during periods of elevated violence as we are experiencing now.  Because newspaper headlines, statistics, and slogans are far removed from the actual stories of individual lives, this interactive project offers an opportunity to hear the often unheard and unseen Palestinian residents of Jerusalem – 37% of the population – describe their childhoods, work, family, and daily lives, in a simple and un-sensationalized way. 

Some have wondered if the“37%” project is a digression for Ir Amim – if the project seeks to avoid politics. Politics are an integral part of life in Jerusalem in general and East Jerusalem in particular – clear in each and every story presented within the project, from problems of civil status and employment to thoughts about feminism and education. A central driver of “37%” is being able to eliminate the artificial boundaries between the political and personal spheres in order to enhance our ability to identify with others’ lives beyond the barriers of alienation, fear and extreme circumstances. 



In November, Ir Amim launched its 5th course on East Jerusalem for West Jerusalem based activists and young leaders.  The course is designed to facilitate participants’ awareness of the political and socio-economic complexity of Jerusalem while simultaneously leveraging their roles as agents of change who have the capacity to influence much wider audiences.  While Jerusalem’s vibrant cadre of social activists and entrepreneurs is making remarkable inroads in taking responsibility for the future of the city and safeguarding its pluralistic character, their efforts have been largely limited to a focus on West Jerusalem.

Course participants on a tour of East Jerusalem, December 2015

During the last two years, Ir Amim has been actively cultivating relationships with such organizations as Yerushalmim, Hitorerut, Ruach Hadasha, Mimizrach Shemesh and the Rashut HaRabim Forum to foster an understanding of how East Jerusalem must factor into activists’ efforts to create a more just and equitable city and to encourage involvement in advocacy aimed at addressing such core issues as violence, educational disparities and efforts toward a political resolution on the city.  The past two courses were conducted under partnership with Ruach Hadasha, Yerushalmim and HaYeshiva Hahilonit (the Secular Yeshiva). 



“The behavior of Netanyahu and his government concerning approval of the plan on the slopes of Gilo is another example of the cat and mouse games the Israeli government plays with the Americans regarding building in East Jerusalem...Continued unilateral steps, such as this, will only deepen the crisis that Israel is descending toward in lieu of a diplomatic agreement and will destroy any chance of reaching a real and just solution in Jerusalem.” – Haaretz,

Speaking at the recent HaaretzQ/NIF conference in New York, Ir Amim Executive Director Yudith Oppenheimer says the movement aiming to change the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif has penetrated deeply into the Israeli political establishment:

Yudith Oppenheimer writes in +972 Magazine: “Netanyahu’s proposal and the silent assent with which it was met constitute a watershed in Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem, and beyond”:



Ir Amim invites you to join one of our public tours – an opportunity to learn about the political, economic and social issues associated with Jerusalem’s role as the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to engage in dialogue about our shared future. The tours provide an incisive and candid look at Jerusalem and how developments – from settlement building to revocations of Palestinians’ permanent residency status – impact the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem as well as Israeli democracy, security and prospects for peace.

Given the current situation, at present the tours do not enter Palestinian neighborhoods. Participation requires registration in advance and is free of charge.

The next tours:

Friday, December 25, 2015 - 9:30 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here)

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 9:30 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here)



Ir Amim works to inspire an informed public discourse on political issues related to Jerusalem, and to promote conditions for a more equitable Jerusalem today and towards a future, agreed-upon political resolution. We reach out to the general public in Israel and to our friends abroad by means of tours, lectures, press reports, social media activity, media campaigns and more.

Please consider making a contribution to Ir Amim as we work to monitor all of the current developments in our city, and conduct legal and policy advocacy to fight developments that undermine hope for a political resolution on the city. To donate, please click here.

You can also mail your US tax deductible donation to:


Ir Amim
PO Box 2239
Jerusalem, 94581


Bank transfers may be made to:
Bank Otsar Ha-hayal Ltd.
Swift code: FIRBILIT
IBAN #: IL560143690000000471423
Branch 369
Account # 471423
Beneficiary customer: Ir Amim


Follow us on Twitter: @IrAmimAlerts. Our English-language Facebook page will be launched soon – we will continue to update as our social media presence expands.


With best wishes,

The Ir Amim team