Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jerusalem Watch

« A bulldozer begins demolishing the Hotel Shepherd in East Jerusalem on January 9.
(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli demolition ignites international condemnation as Europe reinforces its pro-Palestinian stance.
Sunday’s demolition of a derelict hotel in East Jerusalem sparked a weeklong barrage of Israel bashing across the international community. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as well as the Palestinian leadership all expressed outrage over the move.
Constructed in the 1930s, the Shepherd Hotel formerly belonged to the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin Al Huseini, who, during World War ii, facilitated the extermination of Jews.
According to Daniel Lurie, executive director of the Eterate Cohanim Association, “This building is a symbol of genocide; Husseini was practically a full-fledged Nazi; the British arrested him for starting pogroms in the 1920s, and he established on his own a unit that murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews in Yugoslavia during World War ii.”
Looking at it logically, if any building was a legitimate candidate for demolition it was this one.
After undergoing several transfers of title, the building was legally purchased in 1985 by Jewish-American businessman Irving Moskowitz. While technically in East Jerusalem, the building is not surrounded by any Arab homes, but rather is closely neighbored by official Israeli government buildings. Also, to preserve its historical value, a whole facade of the building is going to remain, at a cost to the developer.
And yet, the international community still cried foul.
In response, an internal EU document was sent to 25 EU Consuls General in Jerusalem suggesting that EU observers be present during Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. The diplomats further advised that Brussels should “ensure EU intervention when Palestinians are arrested or intimidated by Israeli authorities for peaceful cultural, social or political activities in East Jerusalem.”
Other recommendations in the document include boycotting products manufactured in Israeli factories in East Jerusalem and banning entry of violent settlers to EU countries.
Haaretz reported, “The far-ranging sharply worded recommendations in the report … reflect a dramatic, negative change in the international community’s attitude toward Israel in general, and East Jerusalem in particular. The European Union report should be viewed in the context of the news that more and more countries are inclined to recognize a Palestinian state along the borders of June 4, 1967. … This is the context in which the report recommends that Europe should begin to treat the eastern part of the city as the capital of Palestine.”
In the months and years ahead, we fully expect Europe to intensify its efforts to establish a presence in Jerusalem—and for Israel to accommodate those intentions, resulting in a catastrophic double cross that ends up leaving the entire city of Jerusalem buried under a heap of ruin!
East Jerusalemites Prefer Israeli Rule
A new poll found that more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem would prefer to be Israeli citizens than citizens of a Palestinian state. The Washington Post writes, “The survey, which was designed and supervised by former State Department Middle East researcher David Pollock, found that only 30 percent said they would prefer to be citizens of Palestine in a two-state solution, while 35 percent said they would choose Israeli citizenship. (The rest said they didn’t know or refused to answer.) Forty percent said they would consider moving to another neighborhood in order to become a citizen of Israel rather than Palestine, and 54 percent said that if their neighborhood were assigned to Israel, they would not move to Palestine.”
Although many Palestinians may not love Israel, this poll suggests life under Israeli rule is not as bad as the media suggests. In fact, to many Arabs in East Jerusalem, living under Israeli sovereignty is more appealing than living in a future Palestinian state