Posts tagged East Jerusalem

Netanyahu, E-1 and the problem with democracy

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One big problem with democracy — in most of its forms — is that leaders can be tempted to put their own re-election above the state’s civic and diplomatic interests. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision-making in recent days may be one of the finest examples of the phenomenon.

Every Israeli government for the past decade has deferred to international diplomatic pressure not to advance construction in the “E-1” zone outside Jerusalem. Every Israeli prime minister since Ariel Sharon knew that such a move would cause a diplomatic uproar, and for good reason.

One of the foundations of the Oslo Peace Process, the Clinton Parameters and the Road Map for Peace, all of which have long passed their expiry date, is that East Jerusalem will in some form or another become the capital of Palestine. But that becomes all-the-more impossible if Israel builds new settlements in E-1, further sealing Palestinian East Jerusalem and cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank. Construction in E-1 would (more…)

East Jerusalem: Contradiction, goodwill and neglect

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Israel has always taken confusing and contradictory positions when it comes to east Jerusalem. Although it annexed the once Jordanian-held half of the city in 1967, it never annexed (gave citizenship to or integrated) the people living there. Consecutive Israeli governments have all declared the city to be “reunified,” yet systematically neglected its neighborhoods’ infrastructure, housing development (“natural growth”), education system, social services and basic municipal services such as trash collection, sewage and policing. East Jerusalem is a territory that Israel doesn’t appear to actually want but vehemently refuses to relinquish.

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze throughout the West Bank, the prime minister refused to include east Jerusalem. When Defense Minister Ehud Barak said,“the Arab neighborhoods [of Jerusalem] in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs,” late last year, Netanyahu immediately clarified that Barak’s statements “do not represent the views (more…)

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