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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Some more cracks on Jerusalem

I noted on Thursday night that Prime Minister has already agreed to a two-year building freeze in Ramat Shlomo. But that's not the only place in Jerusalem where the Netanyahu government is weakening on keeping the city unified. David Horovitz saw Netanyahu's interview on Channel 2 Thursday night (that's what it was and that's why I missed it - I don't do live TV) and reports that Netanyahu has already made another one-sided concession.
But there was one passage of the interview, nonetheless, that merits attention. In the course of his comments on Jerusalem, and his restating of his “red lines” against halting building, Netanyahu drew a distinction between the city’s post-1967 Jewish neighborhoods and its Arab neighborhoods, and he specified that the permanent fate of the Arab neighborhoods was indeed a subject for final-status discussion with the Palestinians – a position frequently espoused by Kadima and Labor, but not normally by the Likud.

“Why do I have to give in on Jerusalem?” he asked indignantly, referring to Jewish neighborhoods built over the Green Line such as French Hill. “Why? Where’s the logic in that?” But where Arab neighborhoods like Abu Dis and Shuafat, which lie within Israel’s self-declared sovereign city limits, were concerned, he said, “That’s a different question.” The question of the status of the Arab neighborhoods, he allowed, was “legitimate.”

“No one,” he elaborated, “wants to add a greater Arab populace to Jerusalem.” Still, he went on, there were some who worried that “if you get out of there,” Iran would fill the vacuum in one guise or another, as it had done in Lebanon and Gaza. “If we get out of [the Arab neighborhoods of east] Jerusalem, Iran might come in. That’s [a] legitimate [concern],” said Netanyahu.

The fate of such Arab neighborhoods, he said, was not the issue of concern right now. It was, rather, “a question that will arise in the final-status arrangements.”

Really? The hawks in his own party, and other parties to his right, won’t have been too pleased to hear that.
I had an email this morning from someone who knows me in real life who read what I wrote on Friday and asked whether I thought Netanyahu would divide Jerusalem. You have your answer.

What could go wrong?


At 11:37 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

in my humble opinion, the mistakes were made after 1967, giving Bituach Leumi and residence to a pricipally hostile Arab population, trying to appease them.

This has basically backfired as was predictable for a long time.

And by now the transfer solution isn´t feasable either......for now

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Eliana said...

Israel's press is endlessly trying to guess what will happen with Obama and Netanyahu (as we all are, I guess) so they pick up heavily on some clues while ignoring others. They also like to taunt Israel's right wing with words like "hawks" (as if Israel's population is all "Peace Now"-ish but held hostage by "hawks" who got into the government somehow against the will of the people). It's not true, of course.

Bibi spoke about Iran moving in if Israel gives up the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He's right about this. Fatah is hanging on by a thread. Hamas will roll over Fatah at will if Israel moves back from the Arab areas in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

When Bibi says that Iran would move in if the Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem are given up while he also says that Jerusalem is something that will be talked about at the very end of the negotiations (even if he says that the Arab neighborhoods will be discussed) -- the key part of what he is saying is that Iran would move in if Israel gives up the Arab neighborhoods.

When Bibi says that giving up the Arab neighborhoods will move Iran into Jerusalem, he's saying that it's impossible to give them up.

He's made it clear that Israel will say no if the plans all come down to a situation intolerable for Israel.

Iran in Jerusalem (God forbid) is very high on the list of intolerable situations.

So I don't think Bibi will divide Jerusalem. No one on Israel's side wants Iran in Jerusalem.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel's leftist media is seeking to spin all the talk in the government as a signal to divide Jerusalem. They have an agenda and its not one endorsed by the vast majority of the country's voters.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Eliana said...

RE: NormanF


At 11:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There are more details about a freeze in Jerusalem: Israel will be allowed to declare it is continuing construction in Jerusalem while instituting a defacto freeze in the city. In addition, Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised to cancel the 1,600 apartment units slated for Ramat Shlomo. This is supposedly part of a secret agreement between Obama and Netanyahu on Jerusalem.

More here: Secret Agreement On Jerusalem Freeze?

Just the overwrought imagination of Israel's leftist media? Or unofficial government policy? We'll have to see what happens to new construction requests filed with the Jerusalem Municipality in the future although there is an unofficial freeze in effect for now with regards to Ramat Shlomo.

You knew this was coming didn't you? We'll have to judge the Israeli government by what it actually does next, not by what it says to the public.


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