The UN Human Rights Council Reaches a New Height of Absurdity

Long a forum for despotic and ruthless regimes to criticize the Jewish state, the UN Human Rights Council has now commissioned an investigation into corporations doing business in Jewish areas of the West Bank and is set to release a list of such companies. The editors of the New York Post comment:

The Human Rights Council (HRC) believes companies doing business in the settlements are somehow [committing] a human-rights violation. Never mind that many of these firms provide jobs for Palestinians in the area and that the blacklist could cost many of them meaningful work. Or that the companies provide needed goods and services to anyone, no matter their background or where they live.

Ignore, too, the fact that the panel . . . has never voiced any human-rights concerns about firms in “occupied territory” elsewhere in the world, even where ethnic cleansing has taken place. And that numerous legal opinions and rulings [permit] such practices, with some citing language in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The World Bank itself has lent billions to companies in occupied territories around the world. Heck, even the United Nations’ own legal adviser, in a 2002 memo on Western Sahara, concluded that such a practice raised no human-rights concerns.

But then, the move by the HRC isn’t really about fighting human-rights abuses (or, for that matter, making rational and consistent policy of any kind). It’s about trying to hurt Israel in any way possible and gin up opposition toward it. . . . Meanwhile, the council and [its director’s] office get hundreds of millions of dollars every year, much of it from the United States. Surely there are better uses for that money.

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More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, UNHRC, United Nations, West Bank

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