Infographic: The Encirclement of East Jerusalem

Prime Minister David Cameron recently told Parliament that he was “genuinely shocked” by the “effective encirclement” of East Jerusalem by Israel. This was prompted by a question from Imran Hussain MP, who recently witnessed the effects of the occupation on Palestinians in the West Bank on a delegation organised by Medical Aid for Palestinians and our partner, the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu).

But what does the ‘encirclement’ of East Jerusalem look like? As the infographic above shows, the city is surrounded by Israeli settlements and the separation barrier. Some 250,000 Palestinians living within what Israel defines as the municipality of Jerusalem are effectively cut off from the rest of the West Bank, both physically and administratively.

 Just one week ago, the Israeli government announced plans to complete the construction of the separation barrier in the East Jerusalem periphery.  The UN have noted that, for Palestinian residents, the policies of Israeli municipal authorities have negatively affected their ”residency status, their access to education and health services, and their ability to plan and develop their communities”.  

Even basic medical access is affected by the political geography of East Jerusalem, with ambulances often delayed at checkpoints on their way into the city. Many patients passing between East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank must undergo ‘back-to-back’ transfers, meaning being passed between a Palestinian-registered ambulance and one permitted to enter Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society recently calculated that in emergency medical cases forced to undergo the back-to-back process, the average transfer delay was 27 minutes. Such transfers can not only cause severe discomfort for patients as they are walked or wheeled between ambulances, but delays can potentially have deleterious effects on their health.

 You can see the full-size infographic here.

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