Jerusalem: A City Divided, and Indivisible

Marking Jerusalem Day (celebrated on Sunday), Matti Friedman reflects on the current state of Israel’s capital, and the relations between its Jewish and Arab residents:

[T]he rise of extremist ideology and violent armed movements throughout the region has ended any hope that Israel can safely cede control of part of [Jerusalem], which leaves Arab residents in a limbo that will soon be 50 years old. The contradictions of Israeli policy are apparent, like the expectation that Palestinians will abide by the law and avoid violence while authorities go about solidifying Jewish control. It is hard to see what outcome the government expects, for example, from the pressure cooker created in a place like the Shuafat refugee camp.

The contradictions of the Palestinian position are also apparent, though they are pointed out less often. Arab Jerusalemites want to reject Israel’s sovereignty but also want Israeli authorities to treat them fairly. They want elected officials to take their desires into account, but they won’t vote in elections. They declare themselves disempowered but refuse to wield the power that is legally available to them. It is possible to sympathize with their situation without ignoring their own role in the impasse.

In the absence of any clear policy on the part of Israel or the Palestinian leadership as to what East Jerusalemites should be encouraged to do, they do what they must to get by. The trend is not toward integration, exactly, because neither side wants that, but toward what might more accurately be termed mixing. This is going on in places like the commercial area at Mamilla, outside Jaffa Gate, frequented and staffed by Jews and Arabs, or the Malha shopping center, which actively encourages Palestinian clientele, and where it is now more common to see Palestinian salespeople. When my wife went to buy jeans at an American Eagle outlet a few months ago, the three young staffers there were Palestinians—a change in the human landscape of West Jerusalem.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: East Jerusalem, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem, Palestinians

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror