Kafr Aqab ... a Jerusalemite town suffering from Israel's deliberate neglect

Palestinian residents of Kafr Aqab, north of occupied Jerusalem, are complaining of deliberate Israeli neglect of the infrastructure and the most basic services and rights, in light of the occupation municipality's continuing to shirk its responsibilities towards the town and not work to develop it, despite the continuous appeals over the past years.

Kafr Aqab is located 11 kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem, about four kilometers from Ramallah, and administratively affiliated to the Israeli occupation municipality, but the Apartheid Wall isolated it from the city center and turned it into a kind of civil ghetto, like the rest of the Jerusalem neighborhoods separated by the wall.

Kafr Aqab does not receive the supposed services from the occupation municipality, and the Palestinian Authority and its institutions do not have any powers in it, as they are bound by the Oslo accord.

The occupation measures and the population density have pushed tens of thousands of citizens of Jerusalem identity holders to live in random homes and residential buildings without proper and viable organization or infrastructure and in the absence of planning, supervision, and control.

During the past week, the occupation forces escalated their attacks on the town and its residents, intensified their military presence in the town, demolished a warehouse, and bulldozed the land, and threatened to demolish shops, and declared it a military zone.

Tragic Situations

Kafr Aqab residents lack many basic services, which the occupation municipality refuses to provide, in return for paying all taxes, according to the head of the northern neighborhood committees in Jerusalem, Munir Zughair.

Zughair explained to Safa that "the town has been suffering for years from tragic conditions and crises, represented by the lack of proper infrastructure and qualified and organized sewage networks to drain water, which leads to the flooding of the streets with rainwater."

"The occupation municipality does not play its role in rehabilitating and paving some roads and streets, lighting them with electricity, opening new streets, and reducing the traffic crisis."

He added that "the town lacks sports clubs, playgrounds and parks, and even a hospital to treat patients," referring that it is limited to only some medical clinics, describing the situation in the town as "very difficult and catastrophic."

What exacerbates the suffering of the population is the waste in the streets, which threatens the spread of epidemics and diseases among citizens, especially in light of the continuing outbreak of COVID-19.

In addition, thousands of residents suffer from walking long distances in streets without sidewalks, crossing the Qalandia checkpoint, and using a bridge from north Jerusalem to its south with a distance of 800 square meters, which poses a threat to the lives of pedestrians, especially the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

Willful Negligence

Zughair confirmed to Safa that "the occupation municipality deliberately neglects the northern Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem and marginalizes them in order to expel the residents from the city, in addition to causing chaos and many social problems."

He pointed out that "58,000 of Kafr Aqab’s total population of 70,000 live in dangerous residential buildings built without a permit, and far from supervision and planning, which threatens great dangers for the population."

Meanwhile, Zughair held the occupation municipality full responsibility for everything that happens in the town, calling it to work quickly to meet the needs of the citizens and provide them with all necessary services.

Source : Safa