A new generation of Palestinians has been born in the occupied West Bank.
For the first time in decades, the number of Palestinians in the city has surpassed Israelis as well.
But there is still much work to do to reach the children of the city.
A survey by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Research found that while the Palestinian-Israeli population has grown by around 60% in the past decade, it has barely budged since 2002.
“The growth of Palestinian refugees in recent years has been largely a result of the Israeli occupation and the displacement of Palestinian families, who were forced to move out of their homes due to the violence,” said Eilat Alony, the center’s director of programs.
“With the new generation born in 1948, many are looking for opportunities outside of Israel, and they are living in the cities of occupied East Jerusalem, where they have never seen a single Palestinian before.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the survey is that most of the Palestinian children in the West Bank are of the age group of 15 to 18 years old, and one in four is under the age of 15.
“It is not surprising that the number is increasing, given the fact that the Palestinian population in Jerusalem is around 70,000,” said Alony.
“For the first generation, it is very difficult to get a job, because of the occupation.
But then, for the second generation, the job prospects are much better.”
Alony said the Israeli government has also done a great deal of work to promote their young people.
In 2005, Israel granted residency to thousands of Palestinians and their children, and many of them moved to Israel.
“They are in a very good position,” said the center director.
“Their economic status in Israel is very good, and there is a good public education system.
In fact, they have many opportunities.”
But it is still difficult to find work for Palestinians in Jerusalem, because the Israeli military controls the entire city.
This means that many Palestinians have no work, and the government is not providing salaries for them.
In the past few years, a lot of young Palestinians have moved to the city, but many of those who do not have jobs have to take the government job.
“In order to earn money for the next generation, Palestinians have to work in the public services,” Alony added.
“This is why, especially in the summer, many people leave Jerusalem to visit their parents in the neighboring Palestinian towns of Nablus and Bethlehem.
Many young Palestinians are also finding jobs in the private sector, like construction and tourism.
“But I am not optimistic, because I do not know if there will be any positive changes in the Palestinian community in Jerusalem. “
I think there is hope for the future for Palestinians,” said Shadi al-Qadhi, an activist who lives in the Old City.
“But I am not optimistic, because I do not know if there will be any positive changes in the Palestinian community in Jerusalem.
I am worried about the future of my generation, and I want to see it succeed in a better way.”
Qadhi lives in Bethlehem, the Westbank city that has been the site of several major protests against Israeli settlements.
“My generation is here, and it is a beautiful place, and we have good relations with our neighbors,” he said.
“There is also hope for Palestinians, but it will be very difficult for them to achieve that.”
A lot of the people who live in Jerusalem are young people who are looking to do something different.
“Many young Palestinians do not want to leave their homeland and go to Europe or other countries,” Alaly said.
As long as the situation is not improving, “they will remain in Jerusalem,” he added.
Alony has also been documenting the Palestinian refugees living in East Jerusalem for the past 10 years.
“Jerusalem is a unique place.
It has no borders, so the Palestinian refugee camps are completely different from the ones in Israel,” he explained.
“Some refugees who are refugees here are in the camp in the south of Jerusalem, in the Jordan Valley, and in the northern part of the Old city.
Some of them are in Gaza.
And a lot are in East Jenin, which is on the Palestinian side of the border.
The camp in East Ramallah, for example, is the largest refugee camp in Israel.”
Alaly’s research found that in addition to the refugees from Gaza and East Jenintown, there are also people who have returned to the Palestinian communities of East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, as well as in the villages of Ein Hashlosha and Shijaiyah.
Many of the families have not seen their families in decades.
“All these villages have been demolished,” Aly said.
Alaly added that the families of these refugees are being forced to leave the camps in the north, because they do not feel safe.
Aly is currently working on a book about the refugees, which will be released later