Ramadan Dabash Wants to Be Jerusalem’s First Palestinian City Councilman

Aug. 13 2018

Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who make up about one-third of the city’s population, have had residency rights in the city since 1967, guaranteeing them access to Israel’s welfare and healthcare systems and the right to vote in municipal elections—a right rarely exercised. Ramadan Dabash wants to change that, writes Matti Friedman:

In the last election in 2013, . . . not even 2 percent of [Jerusalem Palestinians] cast a ballot. This has helped keep [them] in limbo and has contributed to a gap that’s clear to anyone who spends time in the city’s Arab neighborhoods, which are neglected, crowded, and unsafe. Eighty-three percent of children in eastern Jerusalem are poor, according to Israeli government statistics, twice the rate in the city’s west.

That reality, Ramadan Dabash says, is why he’s flouting his community’s political taboo to run. . . . The Palestinian Authority, based in nearby Ramallah, sees participation in Jerusalem elections as a form of collaboration. Last month a council of Islamic clerics banned any involvement. Dabash says he has faced backlash in the form of hostile phone calls and messages on Facebook and WhatsApp groups, where he’s tarred as a “traitor” or a “collaborator”—epithets that carry a threat of violence.

But he’s determined to forge ahead, armed, perhaps, with the striking results of a poll released this year, according to which 58 percent of Jerusalem Palestinians support voting. Just 14 percent said they were opposed. . . Because Jewish residents here are split acrimoniously between mainstream Israelis and the ultra-Orthodox, if Palestinians have even a few seats, they’ll control crucial swing votes. . . .

Over the past five years or so, watching from west Jerusalem, it’s been clear that remarkable changes are afoot in the city’s human landscape. Not long ago, it was unheard-of to see Palestinian salespeople in Israeli stores. Now it’s commonplace. Palestinian enrollment at Hebrew University is up dramatically, as are requests for Israeli citizenship. The number of east-Jerusalem wage earners employed in west Jerusalem is now estimated at close to 50 percent. The trend is driven not by good will but by economic interests: by demand for labor in Jewish Jerusalem; and by a lack of better options for Palestinians.

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Read more at New York Times

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

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy