Using International Law to Condemn Israel’s Existence

A group of 45 academics—all but two of whom obsessively hate the Jewish state—are scheduled to assemble in Ireland this spring to debate Israel’s right to exist. In the words of the conference’s organizers, it will be “unique because it concerns the legitimacy in international law of the Jewish state of Israel. Rather than focusing on Israeli actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories [sic], the conference will focus on exploring themes of legitimacy, responsibility, and exceptionalism, all of which are posed by Israel’s very nature.” According to Denis MacEoin, the conference is part of a larger delegitimization strategy greatly abetted by the recent UN Security Council resolution on the settlements:

[T]he resolution has handed the Palestinians a weapon as powerful as any they have used against the Jewish state in their many physical attacks upon it for more than a century. Lawfare has for many years now replaced warfare (although not terror) as the Palestinian method of choice for the long-term [goal] of eliminating Israel; this new resolution, even if only advisory, is a major step along the way to declaring not just the settlements but the entirety of Israel itself as illegal. . . .

A major impetus for [further directing international law against Israel] will be given early in 2017 over three days at a conference at University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland—a country already well known for the strength of its anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment. This upcoming conference . . . is [an] international gathering of, for the most part, academics who are also anti-Israel activists. . . . [It] will not be an academic conference in any real sense of the word. It is, from the outset, a hate-fest of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic rhetoric and distortion. . . . [A] significant majority of the participants have made no secret of their support for the boycott of Israeli academics—a boycott that in itself strips from the conference any semblance of academic neutrality.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lawfare, United Nations

Jerusalem’s Economic Crisis, Its Arabs, and Its Future

Oct. 18 2018

The population of Israel’s capital city is 38-percent Arab, making Arab eastern Jerusalem the largest Arab community in the country. Connected to this fact is Jerusalem’s 46-percent poverty rate—the highest of any Israeli municipality. The city’s economic condition stems in part from its large ultra-Orthodox population, but there is also rampant poverty among its Arab residents, whose legal status is different from that of both Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Haviv Rettig Gur explains:

Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants are not Israeli citizens—in part because Palestinian society views acceptance of Israeli citizenship, [available to any Arab Jerusalemite who desires it], as acceptance of Israeli claims of sovereignty over the city, and in part because Israel is not eager to accept them, even as it formally views itself as having annexed the area. Nevertheless, they have a form of permanent residency that, unlike West Bank Palestinians, allows them unimpeded access to the rest of Israel. . . .

There are good reasons for this poverty among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, rooted in the political trap that has ensnared the Arab half of the city and with it the rest of the city as well. Right-wing Israeli political leaders have avoided investing in Arab eastern Jerusalem, fearing that such investments would increase the flow of Palestinians into the city. Left-wing leaders have done the same on the grounds that the Arab half would be given away in a future peace deal.

Meanwhile, eastern Jerusalem’s complicated situation, suspended between the Israeli and Palestinian worlds, means residents cannot take full advantage of their access to the Israeli economy. For example, while most Arab women elsewhere in Israel learn usable Hebrew in school, most Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem teach from the Palestinian curriculum, which does not offer students the Hebrew they will need to find work in the western half of the city. . . .

It is not unreasonable to argue that Jerusalem cannot really be divided, not for political reasons but for economic ones. If Jerusalem remains a solely Israeli capital, it will have to integrate better its disparate parts and massively develop its weaker communities if it hopes ever to become solvent and prosperous. Arabs must be able to find more and better work in Jewish Jerusalem—and in Arab Jerusalem, too. Conversely, if the city is divided into two capitals, that of a Jewish state and that of a Palestinian one, that won’t change the underlying economic reality that its prosperity, its capacity to accommodate tourism and develop efficient infrastructure, and its ability to ensure access for all religions to their many holy sites, will still require a unified urban space.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli economy, Jerusalem