Jerusalem: One evening in January 2021, Arafe Rajabi went downstairs to complain, outraged by the roaring of cars under the windows of his home in the Palestinian suburb of East Jerusalem. Fifteen minutes later he was shot dead. Another victim of the chaos in the Kuhl Aqab district.

Located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the center of Jerusalem, the town is one of the few places to occupy a unique position between the Zionist organization and the Palestinian conflict. The Zionist organization considers Kufr Akab part of Jerusalem and has full control after annexing the eastern part of the city in the 1967 war. But to get there, you have to pass through a Zionist military checkpoint and through the meter-high concrete wall that separates Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank.

Tens of thousands of people live in a five-square-kilometer (2-square-mile) area behind a security barrier that Zionist groups began building in 2002 to protect it from deadly Palestinian attacks. Neither the Jerusalem Municipality nor the Zionist organization’s Interior Ministry were able to provide updated numbers of residents in Kufr Aqab. Most residents are residents of Zionist organisations, can pay taxes to Zionist-controlled municipalities and work for Zionist organisations.

But another part of the neighborhood is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian authorities, and the Ramallah-based security forces are barred from operating on the annexed side of the Zionist organization. Residents say the lack of patrols creates ideal conditions for crime, arms trafficking and drug trafficking. Imane Rajabi, 37, who has raised four children alone since her husband Arafe was shot dead by armed residents with an M16, said there was “constant shooting, no authorities, no police, no law.” I sighed.

“It’s a jungle here and I don’t know who to complain to,” she continued, saying it took several days for Zionist police to take action after her husband’s death. “Several suspects have been arrested and an indictment has been filed with the court,” Zionist police said in an interview with AFP. “We are constantly taking action across Jerusalem, including in the eastern and northern parts of the city and in Kufr Aqab,” police said in a statement.

Lawless area

But about a dozen residents interviewed by AFP said there was a non-existent Zionist police presence and an almost complete lack of local government services. Moreover, there is no indication of the Zionist organization’s jurisdiction, and the ever-expanding Kufr Aqab appears to be increasingly separated from Jerusalem and incorporated into the sprawling metropolis of Ramallah.

In 2017, then-Jerusalem Minister Jeeve Elkin admitted that the route taken by the Zionist Entity Barrier was a “mistake” that turned Kufr Aqab into a “lawless” zone. Ammunition casings litter the corners of alleyways, and trash everywhere that no one wants to collect. It’s not uncommon to see cars going backwards and motorcycles doing wheelies and stunts on Main Street. Multicolored billboards bombard passers-by, and buildings appear regardless of the rules of the plan.

“This place is up in the air. It doesn’t really belong to any Zionist organization or the Palestinian Authority,” said Ziyad Shahadeh. “Despite the many challenges that have arisen,” he said, “we are doing our best to deliver.” [Kufr Aqab] Provide all services that residents need and are entitled to. “

In reality, “the further into the city center you move in the direction of Ramallah, the lower the level of service,” says Daniel Seidemann, a lawyer for the Zionist group and a Jerusalem expert. “When you reach the wall, the level of municipal services collapses,” he said. The Palestinian authorities said they were providing local government services, but they were unable to make up for the shortcomings of the Zionist organisation.

of the city border

According to Seidemann, when the Zionist organization occupied East Jerusalem, they decided to include Kuhl Aqab in the city limits because it was sparsely populated and close to the airport they wanted to use. However, the airport ceased operations in 2001 during the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, and according to Zionist founders, the construction of a barrier for Zionist entities “removed Khufr Aqab by leaving it on the Palestinian side.” It was a move for Entity anti-settlement NGO Ir Amim.

Zionist organization authorities are already considering removing Kufr Aqab from the borders of the city of Jerusalem. However, such a change of city limits would be seen as a potential transition to the partition of Jerusalem by politicians in the Zionist organization, who see the Holy City as the “eternal and indivisible capital” of the Jewish state. Imane Rajabi says this vague status quo has paid a heavy price. Until 20 years ago, Kufr Akab was a place of ‘no violence’ and ‘no gunshots all day long’. Now she is considering leaving the neighborhood with her children. – AFP

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