The Judaization of Jerusalem: an intro

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The Judaization of Jerusalem is a historic component of the greater occupation of Palestine which, even if examined at modest extents, reveals how deeply politicized the Zionist establishment has made every day life for non-Jewish citizens and inhabitants of occupied Palestine. The mobilized power of Israel’s colonial-settler society has created discriminatory policies which directly target Arabs – the reason behind these discriminatory policies is so that an atmosphere which favors Israel’s Jewish populace is created, making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to live.

In December of 1949 Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion delivered a speech before the Knesset where he referred to Jerusalem as “Jewish Jerusalem,” claiming it to be “an organic, inseparable part of the State of Israel,” a city that will “never accept foreign rule.” “Jews will sacrifice themselves for Jerusalem,” Ben-Gurion then boldly declared. Corpus separatum was proposed in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947, which suggested, in part, that Jerusalem would become an apportioned district under the supervision of an international regime under the administration of the United Nations. Resolution 181, along with settler activities and inequitable institutionalized policies executed by the colonial state, overwhelmingly in favor of Jewish settlers, has led to the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians who are faced with home demolitions, internal displacement and the denial of their right of return. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) there has been “a significant rise in demolitions and displacement in East Jerusalem (Area C) in 2013.” In 2014 there have already been at least 121 documented cases of persons displaced in East Jerusalem with 46 structures demolished, as listed by OCHA, and all of this is due solely to the institutionalized policies of the colonial-settler state:

“In Area C and East Jerusalem, each year hundreds of Palestinian homes and other structures are demolished due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The restrictive planning system makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits, while providing preferential treatment for Israeli settlements.”

Silwan, a Palestinian village of 45,000 in East Jerusalem, is one of many villages which continues to suffer ethnic cleansing at the hands of a colonial settler state. This well documented ethnic cleansing exposes the staggering measure of dehumanization heightened by Israel’s settlement strategy where residents are routinely attacked by Israeli forces, and who are forced to suffer at the hands of a municipality which restricts their ability to construct homes and which has allowed for an increase in settler outposts, according to Grassroots Jerusalem and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ). Settlements in Jerusalem, and elsewhere, have long accelerated the colonization process – the settlements are a politicized, weaponized element which assist in the physical elimination of the native, with armed settler hyper-nationalism quickly taking their place.

The Judaization of Jerusalem influences not only the city itself but those outside its grounds. Israeli politicians, including most recently Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, have called for illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be absorbed to make a ‘Greater Jerusalem’ so as to ‘preserve its Jewish identity.’ The call for a ‘Greater Jerusalem’ has always been a part of the Zionist project – in 1994 The New York Times published an article describing Israelis “rushing to build a greater Jerusalem,” and that same year the Christian Science Monitor wrote of the conceivably “explosive blueprint” that would destroy any possibility for Palestinian self-rule:

“Greater Jerusalem,'” as outlined in a still-secret report presented to Mr. Olmert last month, would incorporate all the Jewish housing projects that have been built around the city limits over the past 25 years, according to experts who drew the proposed metropolitan map.

In 2013 a city council campaign ran on the slogan ‘Judaize Jerusalem,’ the campaign was led by Aryeh King, a right-wing Israeli settler who, according to a report by David Sheen for the Electronic Intifada, made a “barely-veiled call to mutilate and murder Palestinians” hours before Palestinian child Muhammad Abu Khudair was burned to death and who has a penchant for making grossly anti-Arab statements.

The ethnic displacement and Judaization of Jerusalem, meant to alter the very ethnic composition of the city, continues to devastate and isolate entire communities who are struggling to survive in the shadows of an already destructive occupation, one which the Russell Tribunal on Palestine found “subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.” According to a report compiled by Mya Guarnieri and Sergio Yahni of the Alternative Information Center, Israel’s Judaization of Jerusalem means that 65 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line, that by 2007 the separation wall had “resulted in the confiscation of land belonging to 19.2 percent of Palestinian families in Jerusalem” and the report shows how calculated and thoroughly organized the settler expansion in Jerusalem has been. Sequestration is part and parcel of Israel’s settler-colonialism – the state of Israel relies on it so that it may fracture native communities who will then be faced with armed and organized settler campaigns whose modus operandi include mass mobilization so that they may usurp vast stretches of land, with help of the state, all of which is at the expense of native Palestinians.

Judaization of Jerusalem means not only a seemingly insatiably Israeli thirst for more Palestinian land but the erasure of Palestinian identity – in order for there to be no Palestinian character to Jerusalem there must be no more Palestinians, or at least none seen as native to the city, none categorized as an integral part of Jerusalem’s historical fabric. From the campaign to seize the Naqab and Galilee in 1949 to Jewish-only neighborhoods that are “fenced and guarded” in the Old City, the Judaization of Jerusalem has been been systematic and despite this the people of Palestine continue to struggle and resist the elimination of their property, the fragmentation of their communities and the erasure of their very identities from the history of the holy city.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Sydney based Lebanese-American journalist and commentator. She tweets @roqchams and writes 'Letters From the Underground.'

Comments

I think global organization should step forward and solve this issue. Both countries are doing struggling for their right.

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