“This is a greater blurring of the distinctions between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods than anything we’ve seen since 1967,” he said. “Palestinians cannot allow themselves to be trapped on the Palestinian side of the wall lest they be plummeted into poverty. They are culturally, politically and religiously tied to the West Bank, but economically connected to Israel.”
Many of the 250,000 Palestinians who are residents of East Jerusalem, but who are not Israeli citizens, are equally concerned about losing access to Israeli services such as medical care and social security if their neighborhoods became part of a Palestinian state. A growing number are moving into predominantly Jewish neighborhoods such as French Hill or Pisgat Zeev — areas that Palestinian officials consider to be illegal Israeli settlements.
Jamal Natshe, a Palestinian real estate agent, said thousands of families from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and even Jordan have moved into mostly Jewish areas in the past two years. He said their main concern is the 25-foot-high concrete wall that Israeli authorities have built to separate the parts of the city under their control from Palestinian areas. Outside of urban areas, the barrier generally consists of fencing, barbed wire and roads used by Israeli security forces. Israel says the barrier is a security measure designed to prevent attacks; Palestinians say its construction amounts to a unilateral seizure of about 8 percent of the West Bank.