Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Please see this, this, and this. And then Juan Cole's "Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis."
The Israeli government has mastered the Realpolitik art of creating "facts on the ground:"
Nowhere is the nature of the Israeli project to assert territorial control of the external spaces in the West Bank more more evident than in and around Jerusalem. 'Jerusalem,' like 'Israel,' itself, is not a stable concept—it is not one place fixed in space and time. Where Jerusalem is, where it begins and ends, how much land it encompasses, who is counted as a resident, and who is excluded: these have all proved unstable and shifting variables. This is one reason why hardly any country, including the United States, recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital: almost all nations, again including the United States, maintain their Israeli embassies not in Jerusalem, but rather in Tel Aviv (though the U.S. Congress recently passed legislation urging the president to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem).
Jerusalem was divided during and after the war in 1948 during which Israel was created. When the fighting ended, the western part of the city had fallen under Israeli control. The eastern part, along with the rest of the West bank, had ended up under Jordanian control. At that time, what was called East Jerusalem amounted to the area of the Old City and a few outlying neighborhoods, totaling a little over 2 square miles. After the 1967 War, during which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank (as well as the Gaza Strip), the Israelis expanded the territorial dimensions of what they called Jerusalem by adding almost 27 square miles of West Bank land to the city's municipal borders. In 1980, they also claimed to annex this additional land to Israel.
In fact, over 90 percent of the eastern part of what the official Israeli slogan refers to as 'the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people' actually consists of land thus added to Jerusalem after 1967. According to international law, this land is—like the original 2 square miles of post-1948 East Jerusalem itself—part of the West Bank, or, in other words, militarily occupied territory, not subject to unilateral annexation. 'East Jerusalem is not part of Israel,' the U.N.'s John Dugard has repeatedly said. 'On the contrary, it is occupied territory, subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, Israel's illegal attempt at annexation of East Jerusalem has obscured this truth. As a consequence, world public opinion tends, incorrectly, to treat Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem as different from that of the West Bank and Gaza.' Having claimed to annex it, Israel not only refuses to acknowledge that East Jerusalem is occupied territory, it treats it as though it were sovereign territory, which legally it is not. (From Saree Makdisi's Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, 2008: 63-64)
In an attempt to affirm Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem's Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, Ariel Sharon strode into the Al-Aqsa compound on September 28, 2000, guarded by an armed entourage. Right after the provocative visit, Palestinian demonstrators hurled stones at Israeli police, who fired back tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets. Twenty-five policemen and three Palestinians were injured in the confrontations. The next day, demonstrations erupted at the Temple Mount following the Friday prayers; rapidly, they spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Within two days fifteen Palestinians had been killed. Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa compound had served as a trigger for the outbreak of the second, much bloodier, intifada. (From Neve Gordon's Israel's Occupation, 2008: 197)
Cross-posted at ReligiousLeftLaw.com.