Israel redefines, divides East Jerusalem

Slicing and dicing up Palestine and Palestinians into digestable bits is a central element in Israel's strategy, and lends new and malignant meaning to the policy of “divide and conquer.”

Israel redefines, divides East Jerusalem

World Bulletin/News Desk

Israel has just announced a new policy regarding the rights of Palestinians with Jerusalem ID cards who find themselves living in homes outside the municipal borders of the city, but on the Israeli side of the separation barrier, Geoffrey Aronson from Al Monitor reported.

Noting that, "slicing and dicing up Palestine and Palestinians into digestable bits", Aronson describes the continuing Israeli policy of "divide and conquer" as follows:  

"Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has ordered an end to the revocation of social welfare rights of these “Jerusalem Palestinians.” The decision affects about 5,000 people, who will once again the enjoy the health and welfare advantages of the coveted “blue identity card” granted to Palestinians living in “east” Jerusalem, an “inseparable” part of Israel’s “eternal capital.”

The Palestinians who fit Israel’s definition of east Jerusalem residency have long enjoyed advantages most other Palestinians living under occupation can only dream about. Since 1990, these elementary, vital pleasures of movement and access have been progressively denied to Palestinians living anywhere but east Jerusalem. Their ability to travel and work, farm their lands or market their produce, is tied inextricably to an Israel’s arbitrary reflection of its own interests.

The separation barrier built to include the settlements of “greater Jerusalem” (not to be confused with the “eternal capital”) during the last decade is the most recent case in point. In many respects, Israel considers the old east Jerusalem border it announced in the heady days after its 1967 victory as passé, and in many legal and administrative decisions is affirming the power of a new border based on the separation barrier.

The 50,000 Palestinians living between Jerusalem’s old border and the separation barrier never moved, but Israel’s own vision of its interests has — the latest in an ongoing Israeli effort to redefine and reclassify and divide Palestinians and thereby reduce their control over their personal and national destiny. Palestinians living in Kufr Aqab for example, are residents of Jerusalem according to the June 1967 law, but they live outside what Israel increasingly considers a more significant reality — the separation barrier. They still carry the blue ID card, but in many other ways Israel’s interest in such places and the power of Israel’s municipal bureaucracy over them — by controlling unlicensed construction, for example — is receding.

Israel’s creation of the category of “Palestinians of east Jerusalem,” indeed, Israel’s creation of an imaginary place called east Jerusalem itself, was the first expression of this policy in the occupied territories. The consequences of such moves however, were not imaginary. The international community may consider all of the territories Israel occupied in June 1967 to be indistinguishable and all of its settlements uniformly illegal, but the day-to-day lives of those who must live according to the rules set by Israel argue otherwise.

In the last 50 years, east Jerusalem has become a different place from the West Bank. The latter is itself divided and subdivided into a confusing hierarchy of bits and pieces — authorized settlements, illegal outposts, settlement blocs, Greater Jerusalem, regional settlement authorities and firing zones, all of which are in Area C — the 60% of the West Bank set aside in the Oslo Accords for Israeli use and control. Settlements can only be constructed on “state lands” except when they are built on private Palestinian land. Each claim is decided by an Israeli legal system with self-interest in promoting the national settlement project."

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Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2013, 13:39
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