Jerusalem -- on the Brink
Balint, Judy Lash, Leci, Colin L., Midstream
When Jews think of Jerusalem, they generally have in mind the Western Wall, the Israel Museum, Ben Yehuda Mall, and Yad Vashem. Jewish tourists, like most Israeli Jews, don't spend much time in eastern Jerusalem -- despite the fact that this part of the Holy City holds the most historical, spiritual and strategic significance for the Jewish people.
But in the wake of the impasse of the peace talks at Camp David (much of it over the status of Jerusalem, it is said), perhaps it is time to understand the dynamics of the eastern part of the city and the implications of Yasir Arafat's daily declarations that his Palestine state will have east Jerusalem as its capital.
In the face of Palestinian Authority rhetoric, Israeli politicians both Left and Right cite "Jerusalem, the undivided capital of Israel" as the consensus mantra. It's the definition of the phrase that's fraught with surprises.
Some ministers in Ehud Barak's cabinet, for example, publicly expressed their opposition to the project under construction at Maaleh HaZeitim (Ras el Amud). Yet this is a development with all permits intact, on undisputed Jewish-owned land. According to Haim Ramon, minister without portfolio for Jerusalem affairs, the project is a provocation and a threat to the peace process. Thus, the idea that Jews have the right to build and live wherever they wish in Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, is an unacceptable concept for people like Ramon, who nevertheless continue to proclaim their belief in a "united Jerusalem."
Without the strategic assets of Jewish development in eastern Jerusalem, the city would indeed be divided, de facto. Jews will continue to work and live in the western section, and Arabs will predominate in the eastern part of the city where so much of Jewish history …
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Publication information: Article title: Jerusalem -- on the Brink. Contributors: Balint, Judy Lash - Author, Leci, Colin L. - Author. Magazine title: Midstream. Volume: 46. Issue: 5 Publication date: July 2000. Page number: 22. © 2009 Theodor Herzl Foundation. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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