Restoring Israeli Sovereignty over Eastern Jerusalem

November 20, 2017 | David M. Weinberg
About the author: David M. Weinberg is a writer and lobbyist on defense, diplomatic, and Jewish affairs, and a former senior advisor to the Tikvah Fund in Israel. He also is a widely published kosher wine enthusiast.

A group of municipal workers and officials recently entered the Arab neighborhood of al-Tur on the Mount of Olives—and, in the middle of the night, carried out a crackdown on the lawlessness that has become commonplace in many parts of eastern Jerusalem. David M. Weinberg explains:

Under police protection, [the officials] hauled away abandoned vehicles, piles of garbage, and rubble from ruined buildings. They took down dangerously placed signs and illegal sheds. They erased graffiti, fixed broken street lights, and painted road-safety markings. They enforced business codes by confiscating merchandise placed in public areas without permits, checked for violations of safety rules, issued fines for illegally commandeered parking spaces, and more.

The police also combed through the neighborhood with lists in hand to confirm that people under house arrest were really at home. They found an illegally held M1 rifle, and arrested twenty Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem suspected of throwing rocks and firebombs at civilians and police. . . .

The Jerusalem district police commander, Yoram Halevy, said these operations are . . . part of the implementation of a new strategy . . . to shift from only “chasing the bad guys” to also “nurturing the good guys,” so that the latter “can help the police help them.”

It is quite clear to me, [however], that there is more to this strategy than just “nurturing the good guys.” The enforcement operations are . . . part of a broader plan to insure effective and equitable Israeli rule over a united Jerusalem. They aim to push back against proposals for cutting Arab neighborhoods out of the Jerusalem municipality or for handing them over to the Palestinian Authority.

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