Abu Dis in the West Bank

Tuesday, 21 July 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Abu Dis or Abu Deis is a Palestinian village in the Quds Governorate (Jerusalem) of the Palestinian National Authority bordering the Palestinian East Jerusalem. Since the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Abu Dis land has been mostly part of “Area C“, under full Israeli control. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) census, Abu Dis had a population of 12,604 in 2016. Abu Dis is situated on an ancient site, surrounded by deep valleys. Ruins have been found of ancient buildings, cisterns, grape presses and caves, one with a columbarium. Ceramics from Late Roman and Byzantine period has also been found.

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Abu Dis has been under Israeli occupation. In the 1967 census it had a population of 2,640. After the 1995 accords, 85.2% of Abu Dis’ land was classified as Area C, under full Israeli control, while the remaining 14.8% is Area B, meaning that civil affairs have been under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and security matters under the control of the Israel Defense Forces. Abu Dis is bordered to the north by Al-Eizariya and to the south by as-Sawahira ash-Sharqiya. Israel has confiscated land from Abu Dis in order to construct the under international law illegal two Israeli settlements; 1,031 dunums for Ma’ale Adummim, while 348 dunums for Mizpe Yedude (New Kedar). Most of the Palestinian Authority’s offices responsible for Jerusalem affairs are located in the town. In 2000, the construction of a Parliament Building to possibly house the Palestinian Legislative Council was started in Abu Dis, but the project was never finished. Israel has suggested to predestine the location as a substitute for East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital. From time to time some Israeli and US politicians are trying to create the mood that West and East Jerusalem together would be Israel’s capital, because this could be found in the Old Testament of the fairy tale book Bible and they actually still wonder why nobody seriously cares about their proposal (somewhere in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm one will surely find a counter-proposal that could be used as an appropriate response at eye level). The separation barrier Israel built in Abu Dis runs just a few meters from the location.

Israeli West Bank barrier separating Palestinian East Jerusalem from the West Bank © flickr.com - Brian Jeffery Beggerly/cc-by-2.0 Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0 Israeli West Bank barrier separating Abu Dis from Palestinian East Jerusalem © Tamarah/cc-by-3.0 Israeli West Bank barrier separating Abu Dis from Palestinian East Jerusalem © Yann/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Israeli West Bank barrier separating Palestinian East Jerusalem from the West Bank © flickr.com - Brian Jeffery Beggerly/cc-by-2.0
Abu Dis’s work force is primarily divided between three economic sectors. 80% of the labor force work as government or private employees, 19% are in the service sector, and 1% work in or for the Israeli government or private Israeli employers. According to 2015 labor statistics of the Jerusalem governorate, 86.1% of Abu Dis’s population over the age of 15 are employed, with 87.7% of males and 86.1% of females being employed. In 2011 Abu Dis housed three factories, one producing brick, another concrete, and the third manufacturing cigarettes. Additionally, Abu Dis had 119 food/grocery stores and 40 trade/service shops. Around 48% of Abu Dis’s territory consists of arable land, and so the village has a significant agricultural sector. Olive trees comprise the vast majority of Abu Dis’s commercial agriculture as 530 of the existing 544 fruit trees are olive trees. Sheep are the most commonly available livestock, though Abu Dis’s farming community also has cows and goats.

During the Second Intifada, on January 13, 2004, Israel began constructing the Israeli West Bank Barrier, a 20-foot-high concrete wall running through the West Bank. The route of the barrier between Abu Dis and Jerusalem lies east of the Green Line, the armistice line established in 1949. Upon completion, the barrier will border Abu Dis from the north, west, and east. The northern segment of the barrier will fragment the northern and southern hemispheres of the West Bank. The eastern portion of the wall is set to separate Abu Dis’s core, urban environment from its rural territories, detaching over 6,000 dunums of arable land from the city’s total land area of 28,332 dunums. Currently, the western barrier divides Abu Dis and Jerusalem. The United Nations humanitarian affairs office charged that the barrier would severely disrupt access to schools, hospitals, and work throughout the West Bank. Israel says that the route of the barrier is determined a security measure, not a political tool. As a result of the western wall the Cliff Hotel owned by the Ayyad family of Abu Dis has been the focus of a legal dispute in the Israeli courts. The owners sued to halt expropriation of the hotel, built in the mid-1950s. The case involves the application of the Absentee Property Law, which allows the State of Israel to expropriate property within its territory when the owner lives in a country that Israel regards as an enemy. A High Court ruling in February 2010 was still unable to decide whether the law applies to property in East Jerusalem belonging to residents of the Palestinian territories. The government of Norway has supported the Ayyad family. A book about the struggle of the hotel-owner Ali Ayyad and his Norwegian-born wife was published in Norway in 2012.

Read more on Welcome to Palestine – Abu Dis, The Guardian, 29 January 2020: ‘We will never be Jerusalem’: Abu Dis pours scorn on Trump plan, Reuters, 29 January 2020: Abu Dis, an unlikely capital for a future Palestinian state and Wikipedia Abu Dis (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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