CMEP Bulletin: The Future of Jerusalem and the PA
The Urgency of Jerusalem
Just one week after U.S. Christian leaders called for renewed U.S. commitment to a shared Jerusalem, the Israeli government’s approval of 1,557 new housing units in East Jerusalem demonstrates how dire the circumstances are for a future shared capital.
The approval of new building in East Jerusalem was accompanied by approval of an additional 633 new units in the West Bank settlements of Ariel, Efrat and Ma’aleh Adumim.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi responded to the announcement in a statement saying, “Plans to continue construction of illegal settlements in and around Jerusalem send a clear message to both the Quartet and the international community that Israel is not committed to implementing the two-state solution and that it is not a genuine partner for peace…The escalation of illegal settlement activity poses the single-greatest threat to peace.”
New building is not the only flashpoint in Jerusalem these days. Evictions are also changing the makeup of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Writing for the Huffington Post Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran offers an example of one such case in the traditionally Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, near Al-Aqsa Mosque. She notes that two months ago an Israeli court ordered the eviction of the Sumarin family who has been living in their home for decades, at the order of a Jewish company. Reminiscent of the evictions that have taken place in Sheikh Jarrah, this eviction would be just one more provocation in a neighborhood that is located just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s old city.
Together, the new building plans and the evictions are evidence of a Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expectation that Jerusalem will be the undivided capital of Israel in any future negotiated agreement.
Daniel Seidemann, the founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem who was in Washington this week, told The Independent that if building continues at its current pace, “the geographic and demographic map of Jerusalem will be so Balkanised that the very possibility of the two-state solution will be in jeopardy.”
Click here to continue reading this CMEP Bulletin, including the following items:
- What future for the PA?
- The politics of money in Israel
- Palestinian Freedom Riders
- Israeli UN ambassador: Condemn rocket fire
- U.S. women bishops visit the Holy Land
- More coverage of CMEP’s White House meeting