}

Responding to the leftist who didn’t have the nerve chose not to debate here

We’ve had interesting comments from Noam on Jewlicious before, so it’s not as if he doesn’t know us or know that he’ll receive a serious debate. Thus, I was surprised to see that he decided to attack my post “East Jerusalem Shabbat” about the reconstruction of the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City without presenting his debate on our site. I guess if he won’t debate me here, I won’t debate him on his site and do it here instead.

His criticism of my post is predominantly along the line of “If you support the reconstruction of a Jewish synagogue in east Jerusalem on the basis of a ‘return’ to this place to which the Jews have a historic connection, then you essentially concede that the Palestinians also have a right to ‘return’ to any part of Israel where Palestinians used to live.” He equates my support of the Hurva reconstruction to the support of some Israelis for the repopulating of Sheikh Jarrah or the Jerusalem mayor’s aborted attempt to convert the Silwan neighborhood into a mixed (Jewish and Arab) neighborhood with homes and commercial sites.

It’s an interesting claim, but it’s false. Let’s analyze why.

1. The Old City of Jerusalem is not Jaffa, and it is not even equivalent to the parts of east Jerusalem outside what Olmert called the “Holy Basin.” In other words, areas in and around the Old City which carry religious and historical weight to Jews and others that goes far beyond normal.

For perspective, I would not argue that ancient Tiberias, a town that held a Jewish population for 2000 years, is as critical to the notion of what constitutes the emotional heart of a Jewish state as the Holy Basin with its ancient Jewish Quarter in the vicinity of the site of the Second Temple and its outside wall known today as the Western Wall.

As I pointed out in the original post, the notion of a return to Zion as we can see expressed in the Passover Seder which we’ve recently celebrated, meant a return to the historic and religious center of Jerusalem which happens to be in east Jerusalem, in the Holy Basin.

2. If the Palestinians could claim an equivalent within Israel, it would be in…the Old City of Jerusalem. Of course, they actually can’t, although they try, because they don’t have a 2000 or 3000 year old religious relationship with this city and the emotional heart of their faith is physically present in Saudi Arabia. There was never a desire for a Haj to Jerusalem.

That’s not a small matter, although Israeli governments have turned their heads away from this basic claim because the Haram esh Shereef dwells above the Temple Mount.

3. However, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Palestinians do have this type of bond with the Holy Basin, because of the Haram esh Shereef. This relationship in no way negates the Jewish connection to this area. In fact, separating the Jews from this area would be exactly the sort of profound injustice that the Jordanians perpetrated in 1948-1967 by excluding all Jews from this area. Because of its profound religious and historic importance, Jews must have access and rights within the Holy Basin, regardless of any future settlement.

4. Furthermore, because of Jordanian and before that Ottoman history, there are legitimate concerns on the part of Jewish Israelis and all Jews who care about Jerusalem, for that matter, that if this area is given to the Palestinians, Jewish access to Jewish holy sites will be eliminated. The Jordanians actually promised to permit Jewish access to holy sites and then reneged on their commitment. The Ottomans taxed and took bribes from the Jewish community to such an extent that it kept the community in poverty for centuries. The Palestinians deny a Jewish connection to the place.

5. Sheikh Jarrah is not on the same plane as the Old City with its Jewish Quarter and Jewish sites in the Holy Basin. Although it was a Jewish neighborhood pre-1948 and the Israeli High Court acknowledged that the property which the recently arrived Jewish Israelis did belong to Jews, I happen to agree that an Israeli return to this neighborhood opens the door to Palestinian ownership claims within Israel. In fact, I wrote so in a recent post:

Sheikh Jarrah is a serious tactical mistake by those Jews who want to reclaim parts of east Jerusalem, precisely because it opens up areas inside Israel to similar claims by Palestinians. Buying up land or houses today and then moving people in is one thing, and it is legitimate. However, if one wants to bring in pre-1948 real estate into the equation, must one be prepared for the Palestinians to do the same. For that reason, the Israeli government should pass a law challenging the Court’s ruling and removing these Jews from Sheikh Jarrah. If there was doubt before, let it be gone now, because if these people support Goldstein, they should be condemned, evicted and prevented from living anywhere where they could provoke Palestinians. They do not deserve the protection or support of any part of the Israeli government or population.

6. I point out in that post, as the quote shows, that I believe that

Buying up land or houses today and then moving people in…is legitimate.

It is also legitimate to rebuild ancient destroyed synagogues that carry serious emotional and historical weight.

This is not just my idea, this was the conclusion of the UN committee sent out to investigate and propose to the General Assembly how Mandatory Palestine should be divided among Arabs and Jews. The conclusion, as described in UNGAR 181, which Israel accepted and the Arabs rejected, was that after dividing the land into two, Jerusalem would not be divided but instead would be an international zone without sovereign.

7. To expand on that idea, east Jerusalem is not Palestinian. It is certainly not Jordanian. I will also argue that ultimately, it won’t be Israeli, although today it is. East Jerusalem is an amorphous term that describes the land to the east of a border between two parts of Jerusalem that were divided by Jordanian and Israeli control respectively in 1949. However, its heart is the Holy Basin and that can only be controlled by those who would grant access to all and be able to prevent the regular and constant flare-ups that take place here (read up on the infighting between churches and their denominations if you want to see how brutal this can get). That would be the Israelis or some sort of truly independent and theoretically neutral force, like, say, an American contingent of soldiers.

8. The Palestinians have entered it into their consciousness that Jerusalem must be their capital and most of the world agrees. Those of us who want peace and recognize that giving up land will be the only way to achieve this, recognize that part of any compromise will involve giving up large sections of east Jerusalem. It’s a practical decision. In fact, Barak offered two and a half quarters of the four quarters in the Old City to Arafat. The talks stalled when the Palestinians refused to consider anything but their own sovereignty over the Temple Mount, even as they denied any Jewish connection to this site which contains the Western Wall.

It should be added, by the way, that based on history, the only group that offers respectful control and access to the other two groups when in charge of the Holy Basin, are the Jews. The Palestinians deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and their construction of Solomon’s Stables has proven that. The Jordanians did not permit any Jews in there. Period. The Ottomans required bakshish (bribes) in the first place and then restricted access to Jews and Christians in the second place. The Christians haven’t been in charge for a few hundred years, but when they were, they did not treat either group respectfully and in the days of the British Mandate, permitted the Muslims to restrict Jewish access to the Western Wall.

9. The comparison of rebuilding an historic synagogue in the Old City versus Israeli Jews moving into the predominantly Arab, secular Shaikh Jarrah, even if the property legitimately belongs to them, simply doesn’t wash. This neighborhood differs greatly from the areas of religious importance in the city both to Jews and Arabs. It was also made into an Arab neighborhood during Jordanian rule, when the displacement of the Palestinians and need to re-house them did constitute a factor in how this area was populated. As a consequence, it should be treated differently. Having Jews live there should be permitted, but only if they are buying houses or land without displacing others. Building houses on purchased land does not displace others and does not open up the question of “return” since this area is not yet Palestinian. It remains disputed.

10. Silwan is an altogether different matter. This neighborhood was built after Israel took this area over in 1967, and the 90 or so houses there were built illegally by Palestinians. That Israel allowed this to happen is a shame, but it did happen. However, what the city wanted to do was improve the neighborhood for all citizens of the city, and especially the local residents. In the process, about one quarter of the residents would be displaced with compensation, but not replaced with Jewish residents.

In any city around the world, a decision like this might be controversial, but not on the conflict level the way it has been politicized by the Palestinians. This would have improved the quality of life of local and city residents while not replacing them with Jewish ones. It does not raise a question of “return” but rather one of governing for the betterment of the city’s population. This is normal city planning and design event and is not related to the conflict. Conflating it with the conflict is a mistake.

Conclusion: Ultimately, Israel cannot act like a bully in east Jerusalem. For the most part, I don’t think it does. The brouhaha over Silwan is a case in point. Even the Shaikh Jarrah situation is one where the Palestinian families refused to pay rent for years before they were evicted after years of hearings in the courts. However, displacing Arabs in favor of “returning” Israeli Jews anywhere outside the historically Jewish areas of the Holy Basin presents many complications that should be avoided, particularly the issue of equivalent “return.”

Of course, supporting the construction of an historically important synagogue in the Old City that had been destroyed in war by the enemy which evicted every last Jew from there and which does not displace any Palestinians today, in no way opens the door to any Palestinian claims of “return” to areas within Israel.

UPDATE: A rebuttal to criticism of this post is up on Jewlicious now.

21 Comments

  1. Kung Fu Jew 18

    4/9/2010 at 10:33 am

    CK, I don’t have time to debunk all ten statements, but I can tackle one:

    10. Silwan is an altogether different matter. This neighborhood was built after Israel took this area over in 1967, and the 90 or so houses there were built illegally by Palestinians.

    In the 42 years since Israel assumed administration over Jerusalem and the West Bank, they have built homes and zoning plans for 350,000+ settlers. Yet in the same time, Israel has approved not one new neighborhood for residents of the territories or East Jerusalem. This despite the Palestinians higher birth rate.

    I used to have a copy of the Jerusalem city council’s zoning map, which I wish I could scan for you here. All the spaces around Arab neighborhoods are zoned “open green spaces” and construction there is illegal. All the spaces around the Jewish neighborhoods are zoned as intended expansion, where construction is encouraged and tax-subsidized. All the settlements, with their swimming pools and libraries and parks, are built alongside a housing freeze effective on the Palestinians.

    So your implication that the Arabs rudely build without authorization is their own fault, in Silwan or otherwise. In all cases, the land is owned fully by the family but the municipality never — never — grants a building permit.

    I’m sure you’ve heard these claims before. It bugs me that you willfully misrepresent it in order to score some points.

    Good luck arguing with Noam Sheizaf. He’s the former editor of Maariv.

  2. themiddle

    4/9/2010 at 11:49 am

    KFJ18, with all due respect, the point is not that they “rudely” built and that it’s “their own fault” but rather that somehow in this topsy turvy world, all Palestinian construction IN JERUSALEM (I’m not talking about the West Bank, which is a different discussion) is kosher and widely defended while all Israeli construction is deemed unkosher – precisely as you depicted here or as the US administration has indicated. Silwan is an instance of how to take illegal Palestinian construction and do precisely what you’re complaining the Israelis won’t do for the Palestinians. First of all, they are grandfathering the illegal construction by the Palestinians, thereby giving it official sanction, and second, they were going to dramatically improve the neighborhood. But I guess scoring political points instead of integrating is more important, just like the Fatah Sixth Congress voted last year to keep refugee camps open because it was effective propaganda.

    And ck didn’t have anything to do with the previous or current post. I wrote them. And I frankly don’t care whether this writer is the former High Priest, he and I appear to have a fundamental disagreement about the importance of certain parts of east Jerusalem to Judaism and to Israel and whether a historic blip of 19 years should constitute a basis for excluding Jewish sovereignty or at a minimum equal status in this area while granting it to the Palestinians.

  3. Pingback: Promised Land » Blog Archive » Jerusalem: Arrests, eviction orders in Sheikh Jerrah

  4. themiddle

    4/9/2010 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for directing traffic here, Noam, but why the rudeness of not speaking directly to me?

  5. Kung Fu Jew 18

    4/9/2010 at 1:26 pm

    somehow in this topsy turvy world, all Palestinian construction IN JERUSALEM […] is kosher and widely defended while all Israeli construction is deemed unkosher

    Who is saying this? Stop inventing straw men. The issue is the double standard in construction, which you then complain the criticism reflects a double standard. Cart, meet horse.

    ck didn’t have anything to do with the previous or current post

    That I own, I checked the byline and thought I saw someone else.

    he and I appear to have a fundamental disagreement about the importance of certain parts of east Jerusalem to Judaism and to Israel

    No, I believe you’re arguing for ethnic preference, whereas he, I and others are pointing out that legally that is a bunch of bull.

    This is normal city planning and design event and is not related to the conflict. Conflating it with the conflict is a mistake.

    Everything that occurs in East Jerusalem is part of the conflict. It is the heart of the conflict, where claims to land ownership, historical continuity, holy sites access and national symbols collide over issues as mundane as who collects the garbage.

    Jerusalem’s planners know very well that the demographic balance of the city is one of the key issues of the conflict. And they’ve been enacting policies that swell Jewish presence and choke off Palestinian growth for their entire tenure. Study the info onBimkom-Planners for Planning Rights for more.

    whether a historic blip of 19 years should constitute a basis for excluding Jewish sovereignty or at a minimum equal status in this area while granting it to the Palestinians

    Talk about losing the forest for the trees. These dozen houses are about restoring Jewish sovereignty to East Jerusalem? You mean while 100,000 Jewish settlers surround Silwan on land confiscated from the Arab townships which are prevented from expanding themselves? If we are arguing for equal status, then we need a lot of Palestinian settlers to move into big, beautiful Palestinian settlements in Silwan ASAP.

    But perhaps I get ahead of myself.

    Personally, I don’t beleive that land owned by Jew A can be repossessed at the expense of Palestinian B by Jew C, the latter of whom has no familial or legal connection to Jew A. If any land once owned by a Jew can be repossesed years later by any other Jew, then I want the condo formerly owned by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on the Upper West Side. And I expect the U.S. government to handle the expulsion of the present occupants, please, I’ll be there by Friday to move in. And I love that this is a super power possessed only by Jews, since Palestinians can’t do the same thing in Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem.

    Point is, there is no way to argue Israeli settlement construction that doesn’t justify a Palestinian right of return. The only answer is not to build settlements.

  6. Kung Fu Jew

    4/9/2010 at 1:31 pm

    Also, to point #8 about trusting Jews with access to holy sites, but not Palestinians, I previously challenged this racist assertion here.

  7. themiddle

    4/9/2010 at 1:41 pm

    “I believe you’re arguing for ethnic preference”

    Bullshit.

    You’re arguing for ethnic preference. There were zero Jews permitted to live in “East” Jerusalem in 1948 and then the Jordanians even established a law denying any Jew the right to citizenship in their country or in the territory THEY called the “West Bank.” It is on this basis that you argue that Jews don’t have a right to live in east Jerusalem or build the Hurva synagogue there, equating its construction with Shaikh Jarrah.

    So, just so I understand your logic. If tomorrow I expel all the Arab non-Jews from Israel and create a law preventing the residence of any Arab non-Jews in any part of Jerusalem, then when there’s a war where they regain parts of their towns, you would deem it illegal for them to rebuild or repopulate the towns in any way? And if this includes, say, the Al Aqsa Mosque, then you would be opposed to that as well, right?

    Noam made a flagrant mistake, which you’re repeating, by conflating support for the reconstruction of the Hurvah Synagogue – and I’ll add to that the Jewish Quarter – with what I think about Shaikh Jarrah or Silwan. This is the same argument I once had with one of the Jewschool clan (I can’t remember who it was) about the Mughrabi neighborhood and the Kotel. There is a difference between parts of east Jerusalem. It’s not just me saying this, that was the logic behind the Clinton parameters.

  8. themiddle

    4/9/2010 at 1:47 pm

    Saying this: “The Palestinians deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and their construction of Solomon’s Stables has proven that” is racist?

    I expect an apology.

    By the way, are you familiar with any relatively recent events where a Jewish holy site was converted into an Islamic site by the Palestinians?

  9. Kung Fu Jew

    4/9/2010 at 1:49 pm

    It is on this basis that you argue that Jews don’t have a right to […] build the Hurva synagogue there, equating its construction with Shaikh Jarrah.

    I’m arguing about Silwan in point #10, middle. Focus.

    you would deem it illegal for them to rebuild or repopulate the towns in any way? […]

    International refugee law says that only the direct survivors themselves may return. There is no explicit right for children or grandchildren to return. But since the Jews have invented the right of return for 100th-generation descendants, we’ve opened up a whole new bag of worms, haven’t we?

  10. Kung Fu Jew

    4/9/2010 at 1:52 pm

    Saying this: “The Palestinians deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and their construction of Solomon’s Stables has proven that” is racist?

    Absolutely. But more so this one:

    It should be added, by the way, that based on history, the only group that offers respectful control and access to the other two groups when in charge of the Holy Basin, are the Jews.

    That’s standard fare for racism against Palestinians, I feel, relying on ignorance of Palestinian history and a Jewish superiority complex not supported by history.

  11. themiddle

    4/9/2010 at 11:28 pm

    Saying this: “The Palestinians deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and their construction of Solomon’s Stables has proven that” is racist?

    Absolutely.

    Well then, you have no idea what racism is. Those are both factual statements that do not touch on race, but rather on statements and actions taken by the Palestinians in the past decade. The statements have been made by their political and religious leaders including members of the Waqf. The actions taken to bulldoze under the Temple Mount in order to facilitate construction of the Solomon Stables mosque were done with no concern for the history and archaeology of the site, which may be in the vicinity of the Second Temple.

    If you’re looking for racism, it appears you’re looking for it in the wrong place. You should be looking at those who deny Jewish history in order to score political points and who take actions to eliminate evidence or prospective evidence of those links.

    It should be added, by the way, that based on history, the only group that offers respectful control and access to the other two groups when in charge of the Holy Basin, are the Jews.

    That’s standard fare for racism against Palestinians, I feel, relying on ignorance of Palestinian history and a Jewish superiority complex not supported by history.

    Dude, in the 1920s and 1930s, the local Arabs, those we now call Palestinians, had control over access to the Western Wall and made sure that only small numbers of Jews would congregate there. This was facilitated by the British who were, as you recall, in control at the time. The Jordanians simply prevented any Jews from entering any part of Jerusalem that was under their control although they controlled the holy sites. You could claim that it was because of military issues, but then why did they have a law preventing Jews from gaining citizenship? When they planted Palestinians in the Moughrabi neighborhood which abutted the Western Wall, they put the latrines near the Wall. Who are the “racists” here? Do I need to recount earlier history like the Crusades? Were the Christians hospitable to either Jews or Muslims? When the Muslims reconquered, were they hospitable to Christians or Jews? Were the Ottomans demanding unfair taxes from the Jewish community and excessive bribes over the course of centuries? Of course they were.

    The primary claim that can be made against Israel with respect to prohibiting access to either Christians or Muslim religious freedoms is that they prevent young men from attending services at the Al Aqsa Mosque on most Fridays. As you know, this is because there have been many occasions when the imams there would give sermons that were followed by violence (I know, more racism) directed at Jewish worshippers at the Kotel or against the police.

    It seems to me that the challenging process Israeli leaders went through regarding the new large mosque in Nazareth is emblematic of how Israel seeks to treat its minorities from a religion perspective. They bend over backwards in attempts to satisfy both sides.

  12. themiddle

    4/10/2010 at 12:26 am

    Actually, in thinking about the tack you’ve taken in debating this post and the previous one, I’m taken aback. I’m disgusted. Racism? “Jewish superiority complex?” Complete hogwash intended to distract from the points made.

    I won’t address any more of your “racism” accusations. They are pure drivel.

    You want to address the issue? Here it is: east Jerusalem contains the heart of Judaism, which are the parts in and around the Old City that represent core historical and religious places for Jews, particularly the Temple Mount. There has been a Jewish presence in this place for millenia (except when the Jews were evicted, of course) including a majority of Jews as recently as the early part of the last century. This presence was entirely destroyed, purposely, by the Jordanians and their partners. Arabs were permitted to remain inside Israel after 1948, not a single Jew was permitted to remain in any Arab conquered part of Mandatory Palestine. All contact for Jews with this core location was cut off entirely.

    This is not complicated to understand and even the most ardent, secular, Jewish advocate for the Palestinians has to acknowledge these facts. Just as you would not dare challenge the importance of the Al Aqsa Mosque for Muslims (right?), or deny their claim to it (right?), or their right to control their own worship there (right?), it is astounding to see the ease with which you would deny the same rights to Jews. Seems like your never-ending quest for justice and fairness doesn’t extend to the Jewish people. It might have had they lost the wars and were prevented access to these places (oh wait, that is exactly what happened here), but because they won in 1967, your advocacy for the Palestinians prefers to make claims that deny Jewish rights over this place.

    The Jordanian conquest of east Jerusalem in 1949 did not suddenly grant privileges to the Palestinians or anybody else over this place. You do understand that, right? Even if you use the “no acquisition of territory by force” argument, the Jordanian conquest of this place was no less an acquisition of territory by force than Israel’s in 1967, and this was a territory that even if you go by 181’s standards, was intended to be an international zone.

    The argument that these are “occupied Palestinian territories” doesn’t hold water here. It actually doesn’t hold water elsewhere either, but it appears that people like you and Noam have helped an international consensus form around that issue and for all intents and purposes it is a done deal.

    Israel will have to concede parts of east Jerusalem, and I have been a supporter of that since Barak offered this option at Taba on the basis of the Clinton parameters. However, it was clear to both Clinton and Barak that the holy sites and the Jewish Quarter were locations with a different provenance and necessary outcome. It is not only logical that this should be so, it is the ONLY just conclusion to any deal between Israel and the Arabs.

    It is the critical historical and religious importance of this area that differentiates it from any other, whether in east Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus or Jaffa. It does not compare to Shaikh Jarrah, certainly not to Silwan, and any claims that it does are not only spurious, but they are, in fact, outright denials of the core substance of the Jewish connection to Zion. It’s something to be expected from Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, but when it’s coming from you or from the former editor of Ma’ariv, it takes on a surreal tone.

  13. ck

    4/10/2010 at 12:05 pm

    Wow. Sorry I missed all this! I’m still not fully recovered from the most horrific case of food poisoning I have ever experienced. Ever!

    No time to get into the thick of it but first, a minor chastisement. Noam, the author of the Promised Land blog, is well within his rights to write a post on his blog critical of a post on ours. What with trackbacks and google alerts, it’s not like he was trying to pull a fast one or anything. We may disagree with him on some issues but he’s always been civil and decent both here and on his own blog. Secondly, I’d hate to think that TM used the term leftist in the title of this post disparagingly. I dare say the vast majority of us here are more comfortable on the left end of the ideological spectrum than on the right.

    I mean look at TM’s post itself! Jewish residence and reconstruction is permitted in the Jewish quarter but is ill advised in Sheikh Jarrah? Did I get that right? So if TM lived in Jerusalem, would he be joining the protesters every Friday afternoon calling for “East Jerusalem Judenrein?”

    Anyhow, we’ll see how this progresses I suppose. I have to go and keep hydrated. Shavuah tov Israel.

  14. themiddle

    4/10/2010 at 6:24 pm

    I didn’t mean “leftist” disparagingly. I would think most Israelis who would read what I believe to be a fair settlement would assume that I was a leftist. The position I’m espousing, which is essentially Barak’s Taba offer with the possible acceptance of Olmert’s internationalized Jerusalem, definitely puts me on the left in Israel. I suspect my logic regarding the justice of this, however, would place me in the Israeli center-right.

    I referred to Noam as a leftist because even a historical building of religious and historical significance to the Jewish people, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, was considered off-limits to him. He viewed it as the equivalent of a desire to undermine Arab aspiration. By equating the Hurva reconstruction with moving Jews into Shaikh Jarrah and in the process displacing Palestinians (even if it is legal since the property belonged to Jews pre-1948), I believe he places himself well to my left, and well to the left of most Israelis. Hence “leftist.”

    As for the question of pings and trackbacks, I will say that I used to rely on those in the past. Over time, I realized that when I did it to somebody with whom I disagreed, I either did it because I couldn’t get a fair shake on their site (Juan Cole, for example) or I didn’t feel they deserved to have additional traffic driven there because of my contribution. In other words, it’s a bit of a dig, which is precisely how I perceived it in this instance.

    As for your question,

    Jewish residence and reconstruction is permitted in the Jewish quarter but is ill advised in Sheikh Jarrah? Did I get that right? So if TM lived in Jerusalem, would he be joining the protesters every Friday afternoon calling for “East Jerusalem Judenrein?

    I would certainly not join the protesters, although I took great offense at the Baruch Goldstein song one of the Jewish families there appeared to have been playing (I still request that you check the original footage of that video) and reject the presence of those families there precisely because I believe it opens the issue of “return” to present day Palestinians, even when they are not refugees. Noam and I agree on this point.

    However, my position, I think, is more nuanced than this. I consider the “West Bank” disputed territory, not “occupied Palestinian territory.” I think UNSCR 242 is clear that there will be negotiations regarding final borders regarding both Gaza and Judea and Samaria/West Bank. Until then, nothing outside the Green Line is settled (Egypt and Jordan excluded, of course).

    Both sides have been jockeying to secure as much land as they can in strategic areas. That’s why, for example, two villages are coalescing around the area Israel calls E1. It is not happenstance and accidental Palestinian non-permit construction. It is tactical and intended to separate Ma’aleh Edumim from a direct link to Jerusalem. It is also not accidental that new olive groves or other fields are planted with regularity by Palestinians to the existing borders of new settlements. The High Court has ruled that this is a way of claiming land.

    The Israelis are doing the same as the Palestinians, although they have different resources at their disposal. However, they are behind the 8-ball because this area was indeed Judenrein thanks to the Jordanians. No matter what Israel does as a result, the word “settlement” is going to apply. However, since this territory remains disputed and will only be resolved when the parameters of 242 are met, I understand how and why Israel builds new communities. As I point out in both posts, if the new Jewish presence does not displace Palestinians or take on a dimension of “return” that ignores Palestinian presence in this new area, then it is legitimate.

    I believe Israel’s High Court espouses this view, which is why they have ruled that Israel may build communities (“settlements”) as long as they don’t stand on private or public Palestinian land. Violations of this regulation have been reported in a government report, and that is unconscionable both because it undermines the Court’s ruling but also because it impinges on Palestinian rights. When, however, these communities don’t interfere with Palestinian land ownership, then it is legitimate for Jews and Israelis to purchase land or buildings and move in.

    The Taba offer and Olmert’s 2008 offer attempt to address the requirements of 242. They take sections of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem (although Israel’s leaders cannot view Jerusalem as a territory since it was legally annexed) and offer land exchanges in return to the Palestinians. My position is that the ball is in the Palestinians’ court now. The parameters of a deal are on the table. They aren’t responding because they think they are already in their endgame and perceive (to some degree correctly) that they have distinct advantages over Israel at this time. Until the day they agree to a deal, the door remains open for Israel to build new communities…without displacing Palestinians.

  15. uncle joe mccarthy

    4/14/2010 at 3:56 am

    let us not forget what the jordanians did to the mount of olives and the gravestones

    it is absurd to believe that the arabs will treat jewish holy sites with respect

  16. S Toren

    4/14/2010 at 10:38 am

    Couple of distortions, if not right out lies.

    “Yet in the same time, Israel has approved not one new neighborhood for residents of the territories or East Jerusalem. This despite the Palestinians higher birth rate.”

    Just not true. Msterplans have been worked on for many villages in Judea and Shomron. Roads have been built for these villages and all this has been handled, even instigated by the Military Administration. No one claims that all new building in East Jerusalem and Judea and Shomron since 1967 is illegal. Most is legal and legit.

    One big diagreement with themiddle. If Jews relinquish their rights to move into Sheihk Jarrach it is as they accept that the brutality of the Moslem, Turkish, Christian, et al rulers was something either insignificant to consider or just our rightful due. It was neither and the dream of the Jewish people has been to return not only to Jerusalem, but also to the hills of Shomron and Judea. Not to twiddle with the facts, but those who call themselves “palestinians” are first and foremost Arabic speaking Moslems who can find a home from Morrocco to Iraq if they so need to. Jews only have a little sliver of land called Israel and we need every square meter of it (and no, I am not advocting expelling non Jews here).

    • themiddle

      4/14/2010 at 12:37 pm

      Mr/Ms Toren, your views about the Palestinians are not going to get you anywhere. It is not your perception of who they are that matters, it’s their own perception and that of the international community.

      As for the hills of Shomron and Judea, you and I agree that they are part of the Jewish dream to return to Zion. However, the fact is that you cannot have a never-ending presence of Israeli soldiers in the midst of a civilian population. It is bad for Israel and is tearing the country up from inside. More important, regarding your views, unless you want to annex Judea and Samaria and make all of the inhabitants citizens, you will have to relinquish these areas to the Arabs who live there. I know that’s not what you want to hear. I suggest reading my post, “Leaving the West Bank” and the discussion that follows it.

  17. Jason Park

    4/14/2010 at 9:04 pm

    The Israeli law permits the state of Israel from stripping citizenship from any Palestinian who left Israel for more than 7 years. Israeli law also permits the state of Israel to evict illegal residents from occupied territories.

    In addition, it is clear that Israeli law allows eviction on illegal residents. It is also clear that the state doesn’t have to allow someone to return to their home after voluntary leaving. However, Israel should be required to purchase land taken away from Palestinians. (Although it Israel should probably pass new laws allowing the confiscation of land aimed at Palestinian landowners who have supported enemy states).

    Therefore, your suggestion that the state of Israel should allow residents of Sheikh Jarrah to return to their original home in Jaffa is ridiculous.

  18. themiddle

    4/15/2010 at 2:25 am

    Um, where did I suggest that?

  19. Pingback: Promised Land » Blog Archive » Jerusalem: occupation, discrimination and colonization / an answer to Jewlicious.com

  20. Sylvia

    3/20/2014 at 12:05 am

    After I initially commented I seem to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

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