East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem

Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now did a great post on their blog recently showing how wildly inaccurate PM Netanyahu was when he claimed, Sunday, that Palestinians can buy homes and live in West Jerusalem.
Netanyahu made this mendacious claim to buttress his argument that “it should be quite okay” for Jewish Israelis to construct homes and live in occupied East Jerusalem.
But as Lara– and a number of others have pointed out– it is just about impossible for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to “move over” and live in West Jerusalem, since most of the housing there is on what is called “Israeli state land”, whose sale, or rather long-term lease, to people who are not either Israeli citizens or certifiedly Jewish people from elsewhere is forbidden under a covenant between the government and the Israel Lands Authority.
However, neither Lara nor her primary source, Israeli attorney Daniel Seidemann, mention two other highly relevant aspects of the situation regarding access to housing in West Jerusalem:

    1. Though the Israeli High Court has ruled (in the Qa’adan case) that real estate controlled by the ILA should be made available to Palestinian citizens of Israel, on an equal footing with Jewish Israelis, in practice Palestinian Israelis still find it just about impossible to buy or even rent ILA-controlled homes. Therefore it is not just Palestinians registered as residents of occupied East Jerusalem who can’t freely buy or move into the ILA-controlled homes in West Jerusalem– neither can Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship.
    2. The vast majority of homes controlled by the ILA and other Israeli government authorities in West Jerusalem are properties that rightfully belong to Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from that half of the city during the fighting of 1948. Many of those former residents of West Jerusalem ended up in East Jerusalem. (They include Um Kamel al-Kurd, evicted from her home in Sheikh Jarrah for the benefit of Israeli settlers, last November, and living in harsh circumstances in a tent since then.)
    These West Jerusalem / East Jerusalemites now have to suffer this triple indignity:

      a. They are forbidden to return to family homes that are often just a short walk away from where they now live in East Jerusalem, and have to watch as the homes’ current Jewish residents make free and full use of properties that the Palestinian owners’ forebears scrimped and saved hard to build, and designed and decorated with great loving care.
      b. Since 1948 these West Jerusalem / East Jerusalemites have done the best they can to build new– though always hopefully temporary– lives for themselves in the East Jerusalem areas where they sought refuge in in 1948. But now, even these neighborhoods are under intensive attack from Israeli settlers who receive considerable support from the Israeli authorities.
      c. And now, too, they hear the Israeli prime minister making the quite mendacious claim that they are just as “free” to move into West Jerusalem as the settlers are to move into East Jerusalem!

It simply isn’t so.
I note that Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Association has even weighed in on this issue, saying incredulously to Netanyahu:

    as a longtime Jerusalem resident, I can only say — huh? Arabs in West Jerusalem? Wen? Eyfo?

By the way, Lara Friedman also has an informative interview with Seidemann here about the settlers’ projects in Sheikh Jarrah. And if you go to to the Ir Amim webste (English here) you can find a lot more information about the planning/settling/demographic situation in Jerusalem. Including you can download a good description— with map– of the settlers’ plans for Sheikh Jarrah.

5 thoughts on “East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem”

  1. Palestinian sources reported Wednesday that a resident of the occupied West Bank village of Naalin was arrested upon returning from Geneva, where he testified before a UN committee charged with investigating the Israeli occupation army offensive in Gaza earlier this year, where over 1600 Palestinians killed, including 420 children and more than 5300 others injured.
    Mohammad Srur, who was injured during a protest in Naalin in which two other Palestinian residents of the village were killed, testified before the Goldstone committee along with Jonathan Pollack of the Activists Against the Wall organization.
    Upon returning from Switzerland two days ago, Srur was arrested by Israeli occupation security officials at the Allenby Bridge crossing and is currently being held at the Ofer Prison.

  2. Defiant Netanyahu Plays His Jerusalem Card
    At the end of last week the State Department summoned Ambassador Oren to tell him the U.S. wants plans by a controversial Jewish U.S. entrepreneur, Irving Moskowitz, to knock down an old hotel and instead build houses for Jewish settlers in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, to be frozen too. Moskowitz, who raises funds for contentious settlement projects through a “charity” bingo hall in California, received planning permission for the project earlier this month.
    Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Russia have all lodged similar protests over the Shepherd Hotel project, but Netanyahu is focused on the row with the U.S. It’s almost as if he is the one spoiling, if not for a fight, then at least for a squabble with Obama.
    And, as Israeli-U.S. relations head to their lowest ebb in two decades, it could well get worse: a settler front group called Elad (also backed by Moskowitz) has filed with the Jerusalem municipality for approval for four new building projects that are designed to settle more Jews in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods. City Hall sources say it’s unlikely the plans will be thrown out, adding more fuel to the flames of a growing rift between Israel and the international community.
    But, shifting the argument from the West Bank to Jerusalem was precisely what Netanyahu was looking for. There was a positive glint in his eye when, at Sunday’s weekly Israeli cabinet meeting, he tore apart the U.S. strictures: “We simply cannot accept that Jews aren’t entitled to live or to buy apartments anywhere in Jerusalem,” said the Prime Minister.
    When he went on, “I told the President that I could not accept any restrictions on our sovereignty in Jerusalem — Jerusalem is not a settlement, so there is nothing to discuss about a freeze there,” it was music to the ears of most Israelis.
    Israelis, who balk at Obama’s demand on concrete issues such as settlements, don’t much like what they consider the President’s moral hectoring either. More importantly, though, they begin to sense, like their Prime Minister, that the Obama approach may just not succeed and that his much-heralded Cairo speech to the Arab and Muslim world will soon be deflated.
    Israelis are also irritated by the President’s preaching tone. “His rapprochement plan towards Iran which openly threatens to destroy Israel and his bid to reassure its fanatic leadership is delusional,” writes veteran columnist Yoel Marcus in Ha’aretz.
    He goes on: “There is something naïve, not to say infuriating, about his rapprochement policy and the whistle stops he has chosen on his travels to deal with our conflict: he spoke in Turkey, he spoke in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Ghana, in Paris. The only place where he hasn’t been as President is Israel. He speaks about us, but not to us.”
    Reflecting on the Marcus complaint, one Palestinian cabinet minister, who preferred not to be named, told IPS, “It’s much worse with us. The settlements, after all, are on our land, and he’s talking not to us about our future, but to the Israelis about us.”
    Obama cut a deal with the devils to sit in the catbird’s seat. Now they’ve salted his tail and are sharpening their knives.

  3. Israeli Warships in the Red Sea
    Two Israeli missile class warships sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Red Sea this week, some days after one of their nuclear submarines. The news barely blipped the media surface of the United States.
    An Israel strike against Iran would be against the law. Any state’s use of force must be justified as self-defense; otherwise, it is a fundamental violation of the United Nations Charter. What’s more, International law expert Richard Falk says, even the threat to use force is unlawful.
    Israel’s “threat diplomacy” is “explicitly prohibited by the Charter,” the American Jewish law professor explains, because the threat to use force can be as disruptive as the use of force itself. It constitutes a crime against peace, as it was defined at the Nuremburg Tribunal after World War II, becoming a principle of international law. It promotes an arms race and escalates tension.
    It is blackmail. Israel is threatening to shoot out the lights and open up a free-for-all if it is not allowed ALL of Palestine as its “reward” for not starting WWIII.
    Anyone remember how well it worked when Europe gave Hitler Poland as his “reward” for not starting WWII?

  4. When you find yourself in the position of denying the actual facts, of denying what’s actually been said, then you know you’re a shill.
    Senator Hillary Clinton – AIPAC Policy Conference 2008 – June 4, 2008
    Being here today I am reminded of a passage in Isaiah, ‘upon your walls oh Jerusalem I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent’. Just like the sentinels of old, you are never silent; you never grow weary and you never stop standing up for and fighting for Israel.
    I am proud to support the $2.5 billion in security assistance for Israel in the Foreign Aid Bill and I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. Part of our commitment as real security is a commitment to the Israeli Palestinian peace process. I’m deeply moved by the legacies of so many leaders who have sacrificed so much in the quest for peace, like my friend Yitzhak Rabin and the warrior, Ariel Sharon, who is in our thoughts and prayers.
    Senator Barack Obama – AIPAC Policy Conference 2008 – June 4, 2008
    Now let me be clear; Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable; the Palestinians need a State–the Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper, but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders. And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.

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