East Jerusalem (Arabic: القدس الشرقية al-quds ash-sharqīyah) is the seat of government of the Republic of Palestine. It is sometimes known as the Jerusalem Capital District or just the Capital District (منطقة العاصمة munṭaqat al-‘āṣimah). The nation's proclaimed capital is the city of Jerusalem as a whole, as is the case with Israel, with West Jerusalem serving as its seat of government; neither nation's claim to Jerusalem is widely recognised internationally. The Old City of Jerusalem has been part of the demilitarised zone dividing East and West Jerusalem along the Green Line since 1996, administered by UN peacekeeping forces. East Jerusalem as a municipality is under the direct administration of the national government, led by a local council appointed by the Cabinet of Palestine, with subordinate municipal councils elected by each borough. The municipality, which consists of Palestinian-controlled Jerusalem and incorporated suburbs not part of any surrounding county, is officially known as the Jerusalem Special Administrative Municipality (بلدية القدس الإدارية الخاصة baladiyat al-quds al-idārīyah al-khāṣah).

The only other such special administrative municipality not part of any county is the city of Port Said, which unlike East Jerusalem is governed by an elected mayor. In the 2016 census, East Jerusalem had a population of 748,330, making it the second-most populous municipality in Palestine, after Port Said. Together with adjacent commuter cities and suburbs outside of the Jerusalem Special Administrative Municipality, like Ramallah, El-Bireh and Bethlehem, the metropolitan area has a population approaching 2 million, almost as many people as the rest of the West Bank.

The Palestine Arab Congress and Presidential Palace are located in East Jerusalem, as well as most government ministries and the Mount of Olives Citadel, headquarters of the Republican Guard. Most countries who recognise the status of Jerusalem as Palestine's capital have their embassy in the American Colony or Bab el-Zahara boroughs of central East Jerusalem; such nations include Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cuba, Mexico, Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Venezuela. Nations who do not recognise the city as Palestine's capital, such as the United States, United Kingdom, etc., have their embassies in Ramallah, about 10 kilometres north of the capital, which is also the location of the headquarters of the State Secretariat of Defence, the government department in charge of the Palestinian Armed Forces. Many corporations are headquartered in the capital city, but not as many as Ramallah which is the commercial capital of Palestine.

Administration[edit | edit source]

The capital is divided into 19 boroughs (قصبات qaṣbāt, singular: قصبة qaṣbah), each of which has its own local government similar to the municipalities within the 44 counties. The difference, however, is that the council-manager municipal government of East Jerusalem is elected, while the borough councils are appointed by the elected municipal government and have only devolved power.

When addressing post, the borough name appears on the second line with "Jerusalem" or "Capital District" on the third line, while the second and third line would be occupied by the municipality name and county name, respectively, for any address within one of the 44 counties' municipalities. Addresses in Port Said, which also consists of multiple boroughs, are also written in this way.

The Capital District Municipal Department of the Gendarmerie's Domestic Policing Division has a dedicated detachment for each borough of East Jerusalem, with the department headquarters in the American Colony also serving as that borough's local detachment.

While the Old City is under UN administration and within the demilitarised zone, it is technically part of the municipality of East Jerusalem, which counts it as its 20th borough and from which it receives electricity, natural gas, plumbing and sanitation services. In addition, both Palestinian and Israeli residents of the Old City pay property taxes to the East Jerusalem municipal government.

Boroughs[edit | edit source]

The 20 boroughs of East Jerusalem with labelled post numbers; green border represents DMZ/Green Line

Post # Borough Arabic Area
(dunams)
46-01xx American Colony المستعمرة الأمريكية 290
46-02xx Bab el-Zahara باب الساهرة 440
46-03xx Sheikh Jarrah الشيخ جراح 499
46-04xx Wadi el-Jouz وادي الجوز 611
46-05xx El-Tor الطور 825
46-06xx El-Sawaneh الصوانة 2355
46-07xx Mount Scopus جبل المشهد 1170
46-08xx Kiryat Selah قرية السلاح 880
46-09xx Kasbat Sheikhoun قصبة شيخون 1089
46-10xx Wadi Qadoum وادي قادوم 1331
46-11xx Silwan سلوان 1230
46-12xx Abu Dis أبو ديس 2830
46-13xx Abu Tor أبو طور 2008
46-14xx Sur Baher صور باهر 3162
46-15xx Umm Touba أم طوبا 4757
46-16xx Arab el-Sawahera عرب السواحرة 3303
46-17xx Eizariya العيزرية 2824
46-18xx Arab el-Jahalin عرب الجهالين 4156
46-19xx Mahjarat Atma محجرة عطما 1100
46-20xx Old City of Jerusalem
(under UN admin)
البلدة القديمة 830

Transportation[edit | edit source]

East Jerusalem is served by Rifaf Khan International Airport, located next to Atarot Airbase south of Ramallah, about 10 kilometres north of Jerusalem. There is also a municipal airport south of the city near Bethlehem.

Damascus Gate Station, located on Sultan Suleiman St in the borough of Bab el-Zahara just outside the walls of the Old City, is the central railway station for three intercity lines operated by Palrail connecting the capital to other major urban areas throughout the country. The station also serves as the central hub for the metropolitan bus system operated by All-Palestine Transit Authority (APTA). Plans are currently underway for the development of a rapid transit subway/elevated rail line linking Damascus Gate Station with the international airport, as a joint endeavour of APTA and Palrail; construction is set to begin in late 2019.

Education[edit | edit source]

East Jerusalem is home to the main campus of al-Quds University, the largest and most prestigious university in Palestine, located in the borough of Mount Scopus occupying the summit of the namesake hill. The al-Quds University Faculty of Medicine runs al-Quds University Hospital, which is the largest and most advanced hospital in the nation. The capital is also home to Palestine Polytechnic University, a major vocational school and technological institute with its main campus in Abu Dis and smaller campuses in the American Colony and El-Tor.

There are multiple other smaller colleges and university-colleges throughout the city and the surrounding area, as well as a varied lineup of vocational schools teaching everything from nursing to early childhood development. Two such renowned institutions are Youssef Abu Ahmed People's College in Eizariya and Silwan Career College.

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