Another tactic in depopulating Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants is the imposition of economic pressures against Palestinian citizens, through burdensome fines and taxes. Proportionally high Arnona taxes (or property taxes) are charged to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem when compared to Jewish residence who are eligible for various tax exemptions, though Palestinian neighborhoods receive significantly fewer services. To illustrate this approach of the municipality, JLAC submitted in April of 2012 a request for information to the municipality regarding the distribution of the municipal budget in the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem (primarily Palestinian neighborhoods). According to the information received, less than 1% (0.61%) of the total budget allocated for the health sector is allotted to the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Moreover, Palestinian residents are subject to high fines when failing to meet stringent/discriminatory regulations (i.e. fines issued against buildings erected without building licenses).
In response to the difficult economic times facing Jerusalemites, JLAC has intensified its provision of legal services relevant to economic rights, with 47% more legal services provided in 2014 in this regard as compared with the year 2013. 213 legal services related to property taxes (Arnona) were provided in 2014. In this regard, JLAC’s attorneys submit sworn affidavits on behalf of those burdened by the tax (attesting to the reality of their living conditions) along with applications for tax reduction. Also in 2014, 1319 legal services were treated involving the National Insurance Institute of Israel, with cases ranging between applications for obtaining disability allowance to child and widow allowances (among others). In total, JLAC provided 43 legal services towards realizing Jerusalemites’ economic rights, attesting to the significant economic burdens facing this already marginalized community