NGO declares ‘commercial disaster’ in Jerusalem’s Old City 28May11 May 29, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  28 May 2011

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights has declared a “disaster” in the Old City’s commercial and tourism sectors after Israel used hefty taxes and other pressures to shut down 250 shops in the past few years.

JCSER director Ziyad al-Hammouri expected the situation to worsen as the campaign to Judaize the Old City thrives.“What is taking place is designed to promote the presence of Jewish settlements inside the city walls and the entire area surrounding the Old City, especially in Silwan, Ras al-Amud, and Sheikh Jarrah, which are neighborhoods geographically connected to the Old City. There is also a plan to erect shopping centers and hotels in the area similar to those built near the Gate of Al-Khalil,” Hammouri said.

He added that checkpoints spread across Jerusalem’s entrances have become traps for Palestinians and traders, as municipality units and tax collectors and forces responsible for carrying out court orders have seized possessions and arrested their owners.

A report released by the JCSER research and documentation unit concluded that the situation is “very serious”.

It warned of a “complete economic collapse” due to the Israeli siege imposed on the city of Jerusalem since 1993 and the erecting of the apartheid wall around the holy city.

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