advocating the right of return?

Posted: April 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Right, The Settlements, the US and us | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments »

I just ran across this post on site, which demonstrates so much of what is so absurd about the Israeli policy in East Jerusalem. It also teaches something about the people defending these policies.

The article deals with a Synagogue in occupied old Jerusalem and how Jews finally managed to reconstruct it in spite of Palestinian protest. The anonymous author praises the synagogue as “a symbol of return for the Jewish people to Jerusalem”.

Read the core of his argument:

The Hurva Synagogue has been rebuilt in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City is part of what is meant by “east Jerusalem” when people claim it belongs to the Palestinians. The Old City was all of Jerusalem until the mid-1800s and it had a Jewish majority at the time. As the population grew and Zionists from Europe funded growth of other neighborhoods, Jerusalem expanded beyond the Old City. However, a Jewish population remained there until 1948, when, in Israel’s War of Independence all of the Jews were evicted by the Jordanians and their allies, the local Arab forces (nee, Palestinians). In that war, Jordan, with its British trained forces, conquered east Jerusalem as well as the area west of the Jordan River which they promptly renamed “West Bank.”

When signing a cease fire agreement with Israel, the Jordanians refused to consider the cease fire lines as borders. Indeed, those borders have never been drawn and in a complex dance, when peace was signed with Jordan, the question of the “West Bank” was still incomplete because in 1988 the Jordanians renounced all rights to the territory. When people demand that Israel go back to 1967 lines, what they mean is that Israel should return to 1949 armistice lines. The problem with those lines, however, is that the Old City, with its Jewish Quarter and the Temple Mount and its Western Wall are on the non-Israel side because they fell into Jordanian hands.


Rebuilding the Hurva Synagogue is a symbol of return for the Jewish people to Jerusalem.

Now, this is the same logic that the supporters of the Jewish settlements in Sheikh Jerrah and Silwan follow: that this land belonged to Jews before 1948, and that by building there unilaterally and ignoring all Palestinian claims, Jews are not colonizing the land, but rather returning to it.

But this is actually the worst arguments Israelis can raise! If it’s in someone’s interest to recognize ownership of land according to the situation prior to 1948, it’s obviously the Palestinians. Palestinians have legitimate claims to houses and land inside Israel, most of them well documented by the British and the Ottomanians. Some families even hold the keys to the houses they abandoned (and in many cases, expelled from) in 1948. And If Israel was to return to the 1947 partition lines rather than the armistice lines, it would actually lose much more land that it would gain.  This is the reason Israel’s first condition is to base all negotiations on the situation in 1949, not 1947.

In their typical rush to defend everything Israel is doing, the Jewish hipsters of Jewlicious are actually backing the most radical Palestinian claim – the one for a full right of return. Read the rest of this entry »

Fighting Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem

Posted: March 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Left, The Settlements, the US and us, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »


JERUSALEM – Around 300 people gathered in an unusually cold and rainy afternoon today for the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah, the Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem which is the recent target of Jewish colonization. Four Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah have been already evicted to the street with settlers moving to their homes. This week it was announced that 20 more housing unites for Jews are about to be built at the site of the old Shepherds Hotel in the neighborhood.

The attempts to colonize the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem are backed by the city mayor, Nir Barkat, and by the Israeli government. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused president Obama’s demand to halt construction in East Jerusalem until the city’s final statues is decided.

It is important to note that while Israelis are claiming that both Jews and Arabs can live anywhere they like in the so-called unified city, Jerusalem’s Arabs are in fact forbidden from buying houses in most Jewish neighborhoods of the city, due to legal matters concerning their statues is residents, rather than citizens of Israel. You can read a full explanation for this here, and see an extremely well-prepared Sky interviewer pushing Mayor Barkat on this issue in this video:

Among the protesters today were MK Dov Khenin of left wing party Hadash, former Knesset speaker Avrum Burg, and author David Grossman. “[Political] reality has changed dramatically after Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama,” Grossman told Ynet today. “Obama has done at last what he and the US should have done a long time ago.” Read the rest of this entry »