Shuafat

Shuafat

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Shu'fat also Shuafat and Sha'fat, is a Palestinian Arab
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 neighborhood of East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, forming part of north-eastern Jerusalem. Located on the old Jerusalem-Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 road about three miles north of the Old City, Shuafat has a population of 35,000 residents. The Shuafat refugee camp, established in 1966, is located on the traditional lands of the town of Shuafat.

History


The place was known to the Canaanites and Crusaders as Dersophath;. Biblical identifications include Gebim, a village in north Jerusalem whose inhabitants fled the approaching Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n army, according to the Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

, Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah was a city of Benjamin.Tell en-Nasbeh is one of two sites often identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, and is located about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. The other suggested location is Neby Samwil, which is some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and situated on the loftiest hill in the...

, and Nob. Shuafat has been the site of intermittent habitation since at least 2000 BCE, and a number of ancient artifacts have been discovered there, including the remains of a Crusader
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 structure in the center of the village that was possibly a church.

During an archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 salvage dig conducted near the Shuafat refugee camp in preparation for the laying of the tracks for the Jerusalem Light Rail
Jerusalem Light Rail
The Jerusalem Light Rail is a light rail line, the first of several rapid transit lines planned by Israel for Jerusalem, Israel's capital city. Construction began in 2002 and ended in 2010, when the testing phase began. It was built by the CityPass consortium, which has a 30-year concession to...

 system, the remains of an ancient Roman settlement, dating back to the Roman Empire were discovered. The settlement was described as a 'sophisticated community impeccably planned by the Roman authorities, with orderly rows of houses and two fine public bathhouses to the north.' The findings are said be the first indication of an active Jewish settlement in the area of Jerusalem after the city fell in 70 CE. The main indication that the settlement was a Jewish one is the assemblage of stone vessels found there. Such vessels, for food storage and serving, were only used by Jews because they were believed not to transmit impurity. Archaeologists believe stone basins discovered at the site were used to hold ashes from the destroyed Temple
Jewish temple
Jewish temple:*Jewish temple or The Jewish Temple, may refer to the original two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.**The First Temple was destroyed by the ancient Babylonians in 586 BCE.**The Second Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE....

.

In 1596, the village contained 8 Muslim families and paid taxes on wheat, barley, vineyards and other agricultural produce. In 1883 it was described as follows: "A small village, standing on a flat spur immediately west of the watershed, surrounded with olive-trees. It has wells to the north. There is a sacred chapel of Sultan Ibrahim in the village." The census of 1931 recorded 539 Muslims living there.

The town of Shuafat was to be the most northernmost point of the corpus separatum proposed in 1947 for Jerusalem and its surrounding villages, which "in view of its association with three world religions" was to be "accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control".

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Shuafat was occupied by Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, which subsequently, in April 1950, unilaterally declared it had annexed the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

. Construction of the Shuafat refugee camp began in 1964 by the UN, to alleviate the crowded conditions in the Askar camp. Construction was completed in 1966. Upon completion, the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

, on orders of King Hussein, transferred the Arab refugees, originally from Ashkelon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

 and West Jerusalem, who had settled in the hovels of the burnt out Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, to the camp. According to David Bedein, the wholesale transfer was ordered because Jordan intended to undertake an Arab-style renovation of the Jewish Quarter, but the plan became obsolete when in the aftermath of the Six Day War, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Israel.
The town of Shuafat and the refugee camp were subsequently annexed by Israel into the municipal area of Jerusalem, though recently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 has questioned whether the annexation of areas like Shuafat into the Jerusalem area was necessary. Residents of Shuafat were offered Israeli citizenship, but most refused it, considering themselves to be illegally occupied, though many accepted permanent residency status instead.

Today



Shuafat borders Pisgat Ze'ev
Pisgat Ze'ev
Pisgat Ze'ev , is an Israeli settlement and a residential neighborhood with a population of 50,000 located in northern East Jerusalem. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, although the Israeli government disputes this...

 and Beit Hanina
Beit Hanina
Beit Hanina is a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem on the road to Ramallah. It is bordered by Hizma to the east, Shuafat to the south, Beit Iksa and Nabi Samwil to the west, and Bir Nabala, al-Jib, Kafr Aqab and ar-Ram to the north. The total area of Beit Hanina is 20 sq. kilometers...

 on the north, Shuafat refugee camp from the east, French Hill
French Hill
French Hill , also Giv'at Shapira is a neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem. It is located on territory occupied during the Six-Day War in 1967, later annexed to Israel under the Jerusalem Law in 1980...

 on the south, and Ramot
Ramot
Ramot , also known as Ramot Alon , is a large housing development in northwestern Jerusalem. Because part of Ramot lies north of the Green Line in East Jerusalem, the international community considers Ramot an Israeli settlement that is illegal under international law. Israel disputes this and...

 on the west.

Three stations of the First 'Red' Line of the Jerusalem Light Rail will be situated in Shuafat: Shuafat North, Shuafat Central and Shuafat South.

According to Isabel Kershner of the New York Times, Shuafat, like most of the other Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, suffers from an absence of municipal planning, overcrowding, and potholed roads. While the Shuafat refugee camp is located inside Jerusalem and its residents carry Jerusalem identity cards, the camp itself is largely serviced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, even though 40 - 50% of the camp's population are not registered refugees. Some health services are provided by Israeli clinics in the camp, but in general the Israeli presence in the refugee camp is limited to checkpoints controlling entry and exit and Border Police incursions. In addition, unlike other UN-run refugee camps, residents of Shuafat refugee camp pay taxes to the Israeli authorities.

In a survey conducted as part of the research for the book Negotiating Jerusalem (2000), it was reported that 59% of Israeli Jews supported redefining the borders of the city of Jerusalem so as to exclude Arab settlements such as Shuafat, in order to ensure a "Jewish majority" in Jerusalem.

In July 2001, the Israeli authorities destroyed 14 homes under construction in Shuafat on the orders of then mayor Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

, who said the structures were built without procuring permits. No one was yet living in them. The families acknowledged they do not own the land they built on, but believed they had permission to build there from Islamic Trust religious authorities. Olmert told Israeli radio that it been designated "green area" and public land - and that the Palestinian presence posed a security threat to a Jewish suburb nearby. It is claimed that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to get a permit and that these demolitions are part of a campaign to reduce the Arab population of Jerusalem.

Recently however the Sorbonne scholar Prof. Sylvaine Bulle has cited the Shuafat refugee camp for its urban renewal dynamic, seeing it as an example of a creative adaptation to the fragmented space of the camps towards creating what she calls a bricolage city, with businesses relocating from east Jerusalem there and new investment in commercial projects.

Transportation


The neighbourhood’s Main Street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

, Shuafat Road, was previously part of route 60
Highway 60 (Israel)
Highway 60 is a north-south intercity road in Israel and the West Bank that stretches from Beersheba to Nazareth.-Route:The route is also known as the "Route of the Patriarchs" since it follows the path of the ancient highway that runs along the length of the central watershed, and which...

. In the 1990s a new route was built to the east of the neighbourhood, a dual carriageway with 3 lines in each direction, relieving traffic congestion
Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...

 along the road. The Jerusalem Light Rail
Jerusalem Light Rail
The Jerusalem Light Rail is a light rail line, the first of several rapid transit lines planned by Israel for Jerusalem, Israel's capital city. Construction began in 2002 and ended in 2010, when the testing phase began. It was built by the CityPass consortium, which has a 30-year concession to...

 has several stops in Shuafat.

External links