Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Security implications of a divided Jerusalem

What are the security implications (pdf link) of a divided Jerusalem for those of us who live along what would become the city's dividing lines? At the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nadav Shragai has a look.
The Palestinians currently possess light weaponry – the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all have Kalashnikov, M-16, and Galil rifles. The Palestinians also have machineguns (mostly of Russian manufacture) with a range of up to 1.5 km. Military circles estimate that Palestinians in the West Bank currently possess 15,000- 20,000 firearms, mostly rifles and a few machineguns.

In the event of division of the city and the transfer to PA control of the West Bank up to the new municipal line, there would be no difficulty in bringing such weapons from deep inside the West Bank to the Jerusalem Envelope areas, and from there to eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and villages. The territory is only partially built up and would have no obstacles or roadblocks up to the municipal boundary.

The distances between many Jewish neighborhoods in the city and Arab neighborhoods slated for “separation” are within light-weapon range, from tens to hundreds of meters, and certainly within machinegun range. The existing reality in Jerusalem is one of dense, unbroken urban continuity, with Jewish and Arab areas mixed together.

The possible extensive use of light weapons against Jewish neighborhoods must be
taken into account in any separation plan, especially in light of the precedent of the Gilo neighborhood coming under intense and continuing fire from Beit Jalla, which, though very close by, is outside Jerusalem’s jurisdiction. Shots from Beit Jalla came from both light weapons and PPK-model machineguns. On more than one occasion longer-range machinegun fire reached Gilo from Bethlehem.

One way to reduce the possibility of rifle fire on Jewish neighborhoods is to erect a
bullet-proof wall that would entirely separate the two populations. Even the majority of supporters of division are not in favor of such a measure. And even if such a wall were to be built, in many cases it would be ineffective since the Palestinian houses are built on higher ground topographically. Naturally, such a wall would be useless against any high-trajectory weapon, such as mortar shells or Kassam rockets, which the Palestinians have been trying to manufacture in the West Bank. They have so far been unsuccessful because of the constant presence of the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the IDF in the area. The IDF’s departure from the Jerusalem Envelope and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods would, of course, change that scenario.

In the past, terrorist organizations and the Palestinian Authority have interpreted Israeli withdrawals, whether in the framework of an agreement or unilaterally, as a strategic victory for their terror tactics. Hence, they concluded that it was worth their while to continue that strategy and add to their success. In the 15 years that preceded the Oslo Accords (September 13, 1993), 254 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists. The number of victims in the seven years from the Oslo Accords to September 2000 (the start of the Second Intifada) was 256 [mostly concentrated in the period of 1994-1996], and in the period from September 2000 to September 2005 – 1,097.

The motivation to cause damage to Jewish neighborhoods after a separation arrangement, or even a voluntary separation, could likely arise among both Islamic
extremists and opponents of such an arrangement, and among nationalist elements,
who will likely use light weaponry to pressure Israel into further concessions on other issues, such as refugees, “Arab-owned western Jerusalem property,” and holy sites.
There's much more here.

The picture is the Mandelbaum Gate that divided 'east' and 'west' Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.


At 8:43 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

No divided city has ever been shared effectively. There is no way to unscramble Jerusalem and divide it along demographic lines without inflicting tremendous pain, suffering and insecurity on its inhabitants. The logic behind a United Jerusalem has always been obvious. Its inhabitants are opposed to a re-division of the city. Israel's government needs to institute policies to encourage Jews to settle in and develop the city. And the principle must be maintained that it is the eternal capital of Israel forever.


Post a Comment

<< Home