Below the Western media’s radar, tensions have been escalating in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem.
In the last week, a new confrontation has emerged over al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the context of intensifying efforts by Israeli authorities and settlers to change the status quo and take over Palestinian properties in and around the Old City. Read more
In comparison to the focus on opposition to the move and its possible ramifications, relatively little has been said about why Donald Trump’s administration has decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal its intent to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
For example, one widely-shared piece of analysis does not really answer the question in its title, namely, “Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?”
I believe there are three main reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive. Read more
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat likes to present himself to a Western audience as the head of an open, pluralistic city, a place at ease with its ethnic and religious diversity, despite complex “security” challenges. The reality is somewhat different.
As reported in Haaretz (with thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation), while speaking recently with Likud party members, Barkat boasted of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. Read more
Google was at the center of a storm recently, after a group of Palestinian journalists claimed that the tech giant had removed ‘Palestine’ from its map. As the statement was picked up and circulated, the hashtag #PalestineIsHere went viral on Twitter, and international media outlets covered the story.
Following the social media frenzy and press coverage, Google stated that ‘Palestine’ had not been removed because it had never been there in the first place. Instead, Google claimed, a “bug” had removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip,’ which would be restored shortly. Read more
Speaking at a media-friendly photo opportunity in occupied East Jerusalem this month, Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog declared the need for a “disengagement” between Israelis and the Palestinians, “not by withdrawing from the territories, but by separating us physically”.
Two months earlier, Herzog had announced a new plan “to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as fast as possible”, describing the two-state solution asimpossible under current conditions. The opposition leader’s proposal: to complete the separation wall around so-called “settlement blocs” in the West Bank, and to cut off major Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem from the rest of the city. The Labor Party has officially approved the plan. Read more
It was just after midday on Oct. 5, 13-year-old Abd Al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah was standing with friends in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Young Palestinians had been throwing stones at the Israeli occupation forces stationed nearby when, without warning, a soldier fired two live bullets. Abd Al-Rahman was struck in the chest. An hour later, he was pronounced dead at the local hospital. Read more
1. The ‘status quo’ is already changing
In 2014, almost 11,000 Jews entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. This represented a 28 percent increase from the previous year – and almost double the number of Jewish visitors in 2009. While in 2012, Jewish activists entered the compound on average once every 2 weeks, in 2013 this had become once every 4 days, and in 2014, closer to every 2-3 days.
The UN has described how this week’s confrontations were preceded by “three consecutive weeks of [Israeli forces] preventing all Palestinian women, as well as all men under 50, from entering Al Aqsa Mosque Compound during the morning hours, to secure the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups.” Last week, the Israeli government outlawed two Muslim groups, “informal movements of mostly Arab women and elderly men”, who protest Jewish activists’ visits to the compound. Read more
In the weeks and months after the Jerusalem Light Rail was inaugurated, city officials boasted of a practical achievement and powerful symbol of the city’s modernity and “unity”. Criticism that the line served illegal settlements was dismissed as ignorant. Pictures of Jewish and Palestinian passengers were proof positive, some suggested, of the deceit of the apartheid charge.
Yet in the fiery weeks of this year’s summer, the JLR became a different kind of symbol, as Palestinians focused their rage on its stations and trains as representative of Israel’s colonial domination. Read more
The Israeli government’s approval of an $86 million plan for tightening its grip over occupied East Jerusalem is the latest development in a process of colonisation that continues to proceed with impunity.
According to an article in Haaretz, the five-year investment plan will fund “a number of actions with the declared purpose of thwarting any possibility that the city would be divided as part of a future accord”. The newspaper described it as “similar in nature to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex Area C of the West Bank”. Read more