Trump’s shift on Jerusalem may pave way for further human rights violations

Published: 8th December 2017

Without a peace deal based on international law, the US announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to the city is a provocative and dangerous move for both Palestinians and Israelis, Oxfam said today.

In advance of the UN Security Council meeting today, Oxfam expressed concern that the announcement gives Israel the green light to escalate already grave violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). This includes the expansion of settlements, forcible transfers and evictions, illegal demolitions of homes and the denial of rights, freedoms and access to some of the most basic of services to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across East Jerusalem.

According to international law, East Jerusalem is part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and any decision that in any way seeks to legitimize Israel’s unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem erodes the prospects for the true and lasting peace that is so desperately needed.

“We must now brace for increased violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians and the consequences this will have on the prospects for peace and development in the whole of the Territory,” said Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel.

Oxfam provides basic services and opportunities for communities in occupied East Jerusalem isolated by the wall and living in poverty because of occupation. The need for aid organisations to provide basic services in many of the most vulnerable communities in the Jerusalem municipality, not supplied by either the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli government, will increase alongside these violations. 

“Many of the communities we serve rely on international aid to survive for no reason other than the ongoing occupation. For the sake of all our partners, all our staff, and more than 4.5 million Palestinians in the OPT, we call on this injustice to end, now,” Eijkemans added.

As outrage sparked waves of clashes across Gaza, the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, Oxfam today launches the documentary Gaza at Work, telling the stories of ordinary - and extraordinary - Palestinians blockaded behind the Gaza wall. It is the people behind these voices, and millions more like them, who are desperate for peace. 

“People in Gaza the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem live through injustice every single day under this occupation. Yet the world's attention only turns to them when political leaders make statements or when violence erupts. Oxfam is determined to continue telling their stories, and supporting them to achieve the justice, peace and prosperity they deserve,” said Eijkemans.

Notes to editors

To view Gaza At Work go to

Facts & figures in East Jerusalem:

Population count: 330,000 Palestinians, around 37% of the total population in Jerusalem
Residency revocations since 1967 till 2016: 14,595 Palestinians
Palestinians living under poverty line: 76% of adults and 83.4% of children
Houses lacking building permits: over 20,00 houses
Building permits issued to Palestinians: Only 7% of all building permits in Jerusalem
Municipal budget spent on East Jerusalem neighborhoods: 10% of the city budget


Contact information

Roslyn Boatman / +972 54 639 5002 

For updates, please follow @Oxfam