Friday, May 31, 2013

Jerusalem's Parts

One of the arguments the territorial concessionist camp sounds out about Jerusalem, united or divided, is that Israel unnaturally extended the municipal boundaries after 1967, incorporating neighborhoods which never were part of Jerusalem.  That, they claim, is even illegal.

Ehud Olmert once stated in a June 13 speech to the British Parliament, to illustrate this approach, that since

We don’t pray facing Beit Naballah or Issawiya, or any of the other Palestinian neighborhoods that have been added to Jerusalem by someone who drew a map one day...

these areas can be yielded.

Here he is being more, er, explicit:

“It was never unified in the way that people talked about it. We have to sacrifice the slogan because we have to face the reality of life. If someone wants to say that Issawiya is Jerusalem, I can’t stop him. When was Issawiya part of historical Jerusalem? When was Abu Dis part of historical Jerusalem? When was Jabal Mukkabir part of historical Jerusalem? What memories do the people of Israel have, of the names I have mentioned? When did we ever pray for Abu Dis, that suddenly it is being sanctified as if there’s no life in Jerusalem without it and without all kinds of other neighborhoods populated by Arabs? We cannot unite them and connect them to the real [social] fabric of Jerusalem. These places have only caused us heartache, nothing else.

Of course, since Jerusalem was only the walled "Old City" for two thousand years of history and more until Mishkenot Shaananim was established, over 150 years ago,  perhaps maybe almost all of Jerusalem is problematic for these people.

To be fair to Olmert, at a June 14, 2006 press conference in France, declared

“I, as prime minister of Israel, will never, ever, ever agree to a compromise on the complete control over the Temple Mount. And not only the Temple Mount, but also the Old City, Mount of Olives, and every place that is an inseparable part of the Jewish history,”

But he also said in 2012:

“Regarding the Old City, we will have to reach a settlement — and that includes the Temple Mount — that will allow us to maintain a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians. That is a very difficult, complex task mandating extraordinary sensitivity, understanding and even a sense of restraint.”

And also we read then that he was reported saying

Israel will "never agree to pull out of all of the territories, because the borders of 1967 are indefensible,"
As it was, the Guardian noted at the time that

Mr Olmert's plan, which Israeli officials expect to begin late next year, would see Israel retaining three large settler blocs - Ariel, Maale Adumin and Gush Etzion. Under the plan, about 60,000-70,000 settlers in the West Bank would lose their homes but about 130,000 others would remain. Israel would also retain the Jordan Valley and settlements that effectively encircle Jerusalem, making it difficult for Palestinians to realise their dream of a capital in east Jerusalem.

In any case, consider this bit of information:

Nineteenth century records refer to a small village ''with a few houses, A-Tur is an undeveloped settlement''. The middle of the nineteenth century saw the start of church building. The village has no agricultural land which has limited its development. In 1953 the Jordanian authorities incorporated A-Tur into the municipal area of Jerusalem.

So, is A-Tur (it is on Mount of Olives, not the A-Tur near Hebron Road) part of East Jerusalem, "Arab East Jerusalem" or what?  

At least, from that source we know it's a "settlement".

But is it defensible?


I blogged too soon:

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today stressed once again in a statement that Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem are illegal and called on the Israeli government to immediately end all settlement activities.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter what Olmert said or when. He is a disgrace and everything he offered to the Palestinians, including the Old City of Jerusalem, was roundly rejected. Time for Israel to move on, openly malign Abbas and just call "enough."