- The Middle East Monitor (MEM) covers significant regional
issues and events through its weekly newspaper and reports like Samira
Quraishy's September 2009 Briefing Paper titled, "The Judaization
of Jerusalem," discussing Israel's "escalating campaign of land
seizures, house demolitions and eviction(s) of Palestinians."
- Israeli scholars agree, including Ben-Gurion University
of the Negev Professor Oren Yiftachel, in a 1999 paper titled "Ethnocracy:
the Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine," saying Israel is an ethnocratic
regime "enhanc(ing) a rule by, and for, a specific ethnos, and a dominance
of ethnicity over citizenship (by) facilitat(ing) the expansion of one
ethnic group over contested territory or polity." It evolved around
"the central Zionist (uni-ethnic) project of Judaizing and de-Arabising
Israel/Palestine, (and as a consequence undermining) equal citizenship
and popular sovereignty," reserving it solely for Jews, exposing the
myth of a democratic nation.
- Hebrew University Professor Moshe Ma'oz, Ankara's Bilkent
University Professor Jeremy Salt, Professor Norman Finkelstein, Professor
James Petras, and many other scholars agree that Israel pursued this policy
since 1967, planning it decades earlier, based on the Zionist notion of
dispossessing Arabs to make greater Israel an exclusive Jewish state.
- Jerusalem is its epicenter, a religiously important city
for Christians, Muslims and Jews, today the scene of epic injustice and
discrimination of its Palestinian residents.
- For Zionists, the city is politically important, as its
historic capital, national and religious center, as well as the symbol
of Judaism's revival and prominence. For Christians, it's where Jesus lived
and died, and for Muslims it's their third holiest site (the Dome of the
Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca's Sacred Mosque
and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.
- After its 1967 annexation, East Jerusalem underwent legal
and bureaucratic changes to its physical, cultural and spiritual character
under Israel's Judaization plan. Settlements were established and expanded,
at the expense of land expropriations, dispossessions, home demolitions,
the Separation Wall, and other draconian measures to transform the city
to an entirely Jewish one. As a result, Palestinian culture and religious
heritage are threatened by the establishment of "facts on the ground,"
a process begun after the city's annexation that continues relentlessly
to this day.
- At the time, official annexation would have caused rupture
or confrontation with the international community, because of the city's
symbolic, religious and historic importance. In addition, international
laws would have been hard to get around besides ideological differences
among Israeli officials. Further, direct annexation would have forced the
government to make all city inhabitants citizens, contrary to the plan
to Judaize the entire city
- On the Six Day War's final day, Israeli leaders ordered
the demolition of the Old City's Moroccan Quarter, allowing for easier
access to the Western Wall. It left 650 residents homeless, many others
killed, two mosques destroyed along with other religious and cultural sites,
and set the tone for what continued.
- Under military occupation, Israel transformed Jerusalem
from a multi-cultural, multi-religious city into a predominantly Jewish
one under exclusive Israeli control toward the final goal of making the
entire city exclusively Jewish - meaning Arabs had to go, voluntarily,
by dispossessions, or other means.
- Thereafter, Israel manipulated city demographics in its
favor toward establishing a Greater Jerusalem by reinforced municipal boundaries
- separating Jerusalem from the West Bank by land seizures, dispossessions,
home demolitions, the Separation Wall, and a matrix of restrictions over
Palestinian residents in the Old City as well as 64 additional square kilometers
from surrounding West Bank areas, affecting 28 villages inside the new
municipal boundary. As a result, the demographic balance shifted markedly
to one predominantly Jewish.
- On July 30, 1980, the Knesset introduced the Jerusalem
Law, officially annexing the city as Israel's unified capital - a ceremonial
move as East Jerusalem residents were already under military occupation
- Yet on March 1, 1980, UN Security Council Resolution
465 declared that:
- "all measures taken by Israel to change the physical
character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of
the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including
Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel's
policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants
in those territories constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation....and
also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just
and lasting peace in the Middle East."
- On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
ruled that "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including
East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and
social development (and) have been established in breach of international
- Throughout its history, Israel routinely defied all UN
resolutions and court rulings against its interests, knowing it can get
away with it, always with Washington's backing. Instead, it's intensified
efforts to annex East Jerusalem through continued settlement expansions
on expropriated land. For the West Bank, E. Jerusalem and Golan combined,
they're home for a 500,000 Jewish population, growing at around 4 - 6%
- Extremist groups spearhead it, supported generously by
Washington, the Jewish diaspora, and others, contributing billions of dollars
annually for Israeli occupation, militarism, and settlement expansions.
- Through 2009, settlements covered over one-third of East
Jerusalem land, and another 30% is designated as "unplanned area"
where little or no development is allowed.
- In 2009, OCHA reported that Palestinian construction
is allowed only in 13% of East Jerusalem, provided required permits are
issued. Because of the bureaucratic nightmare getting them, a huge housing
shortage exists, exacerbated by regular home demolitions to provide more
space for Jews.
- Religious, cultural and archeological sites aren't spared
either to accommodate them, Silwan a notable example. Occupied in 1967,
Judaizing followed to change its religious and demographic character, an
initiative promoted by ELAD (the Hebrew acronym for the City of David),
a Jewish organization wanting full control of the area, using extremist
measures to achieve it, including excavations destroying priceless antiquities.
- Ones below the Al-Aqsa Mosque continue. Others also to
control the town through more land ownership, Palestinian dispossessions,
and destruction of Islamic and Christian heritage sites.
- In 2004, 88 Al Bustan neighborhood homes were demolished
to create King's Garden, an archeological park located where King David
established his kingdom.
- Islamic cemetery excavations also aroused anger, including
converting Bab al-Rahmad into recreational biblical gardens. So far, the
cemetery has lost 1,800 square meters on which new burials are prohibited,
a portion already converted into a park.
- Ma'man Allah Cemetery is Jerusalem's largest, reputed
to hold the remains of important Islamic figures, including Companions
of Prophet Muhammad and Muslim intellects and soldiers who fought the Crusaders.
- Yet Israel intends a Museum of Tolerance there, turning
it into a large excavation site, over 300 skeletons removed, contrary to
international law. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights,
they were desecrated - dumped into a single mass grave.
- Worse still may await the Al-Aqsa Mosque because of excavations
under and around it, weakening its foundation, threatening its existence.
In 2007, Israel began excavating a pathway from the Western Wall to the
compound, sparking Muslim outrage.
- The Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock Restoration Committee,
established in 1956 to restore it and other Jerusalem holy sites, warned
that further excavations would imperil the structural integrity, most seriously
by the western tunnel (one of 60) near the Mosque.
- Deputy Committee head, Ra'if Najm also said chemicals
used to break up rocks are causing more damage. As a result, the Security
Council and UNESCO demanded that Israel comply with international law,
halting further excavations and related operations. Israel didn't respond.
- Other excavations in the Old City and Silwan have also
been damaging, Adnan Al-Hussaini, special PA adviser on Jerusalem Affairs
warning that Israel is destroying Islamic antiquities, "replacing
them with other ones."
- PA legislator Hatem Abdul Qader threatened an International
Court of Justice (ICJ) lawsuit to stop the looting. In early 2009, an Umayyad-era
artifact was stolen, an ancient stone, transferred to the Knesset's courtyard,
Israel blocking demands to return it.
- The Separation Wall, checkpoints, and other restrictions
have also been devastating, impeding Palestinian access to, in and around
Jerusalem. Yet prohibiting them from worshipping at Al-Aqsa and nearby
mosques violates Fourth Geneva, Christians wanting access to the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre and other religious sites also affected.
- The extremist Netanyahu government exacerbates the problem,
Palestine's Chief Justice, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Al-Tamimi, expressing deep
concern about outlandish racist policies threatening "to cancel Arab
- On March 28, 2010, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported
that he urged Palestinians "to exert more efforts and unite in order
to protect the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque (by) defy(ing Jewish extremists) attempts
to storm the holy shrine," adding that Judaizing has been ongoing
since 1967, in calling for efforts to stop it.
- PA Authority under Fatah
- Shortly after assuming office, Abdul Qader, PA Minister
for Jerusalem, resigned in protest, saying inadequate funding defends Palestinian
interests in the city - for law suits, against land confiscations, home
demolitions, Israeli security force and settler violence, and the destruction
of the city's religious, historical, cultural and demographic character.
- Final Comments
- Throughout 43 years of colonization, displacement, land
seizures, and East Jerusalem annexation, Judaization continues relentlessly
to establish irreversible "facts on the ground (to) cancel Arab identity"
by making the entire city exclusively Jewish along with the West Bank's
most valued areas.
- MEM supports efforts to stop it and demands accountability.
"The Israeli authorities and settlers who impede the civil liberties
of the rightful Palestinian owners should be brought (before) an open and
fair court of law," to halt Israeli lawlessness, ensure holy, historic
Muslim sites are protected, preserved and restored, and to defend their
right to a sovereign state, East Jerusalem its capital, or a one-state
solution for all.
- Israel will react violently, viciously, and illegally
against it, its customary behavior as a rapacious occupier, defying the
rule of law in pursuit of a Greater Israel and regional dominance, partnered
with Washington in its global imperial agenda, threatening all humanity
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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