Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Daniel Seiderman has some important comments on Jerusalem:
"93 percent of Israel - including most of West Jerusalem and the 35 percent of privately-owned land in East Jerusalem expropriated by Israel since 1967 - is categorized by Israel as 'State Land.' Only Israeli citizens and those entitled to immigrate under the Law of Return may acquire properties on this land. Palestinians of East Jerusalem, with rare exception, are in neither of these categories. So while Wiesel may purchase a home in anywhere in East or West Jerusalem, a Palestinian cannot.

"Since 1967, Israel has built more than 50,000 dwellings for Israelis in East Jerusalem, but has built fewer than 600 for Palestinians (the last was built 35 years ago). And from 1967 until today, as East Jerusalem's Palestinian population increased from 70,000 to 280,000, Israel has issued only 4,000 permits for private Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem. Barred from building legally, the Palestinians built without permits - leaving them subject to Israeli demolition of their 'illegal' homes.

"Today extreme settler groups have launched a campaign to evict Palestinian families - refugees of Israel's War of Independence - from densely-populated Palestinian neighborhoods in the heart of East Jerusalem. They are doing so based on the "right" of Jews to recover properties lost in the 1948 war. But under Israeli law Palestinians have no such right. So while Israel insists that Palestinians renounce any 'right of return' - something understood as necessary for the two-state solution - it is implementing a Jewish right of return to Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and turning 1948 refugees into 2010 refugees."

This is a reminder that the default state of the Arab-Israeli conflict is Israeli expansion which creates "facts on the ground" designed to minimize what an Israeli government can easily withdraw from.

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