When It Comes to Iran, There’s No Time for the U.S. to Stall

Jan. 10 2018

After making hundreds of arrests and killing at least two-dozen citizens, the Islamic Republic has managed to put a damper, at least for now, on the recent wave of demonstrations. If Washington doesn’t step in soon to help the protesters, argues William Kristol, it will “have failed to seize a golden opportunity to further [its] interests and the cause of freedom in the Middle East.”

It is true that there are complex decisions pending on certifying or decertifying the nuclear deal and on waiving or not waiving various nuclear sanctions. But uncertainty about what to do about those is no reason not, at least, to begin to move on other fronts. There are many non-nuclear sanctions that can be imposed on the Revolutionary Guard, the central bank, and other elements of the regime; there are ways to highlight the protesters’ complaints about widespread corruption and the appropriation of wealth by various leaders; there are other ways to help the protesters. The administration has shown no urgency about moving ahead in any of these areas.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently tried to assure us that action will be coming soon. But time is of the essence. The demonstrators could use some concrete gestures of support. We are fiddling while the regime cracks down. The time to act is now.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

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.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Times of Israel

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