Source: Huffington Post
Last week a group of Likud members and experts presented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a plan to carve up Arab Jerusalem in somewhat the same way that Hebron was dismembered. Some saw news of this effort as a positive sign that the Netanyahu government might be considering ideas that would end direct rule over almost 300,000 Palestinians. In fact, the intent was quite different.
The design behind the plan was both financial and racist. By shedding Israel of the responsibility of providing support for these Palestinians, “billions of shekels” would be saved. At the same time, by ridding itself of 300,000 Palestinians, Israel would insure Jewish demographic dominance in what remained of their part of Jerusalem.
What the plan does not consider is the fate of the Palestinians Israel would be casting off. Far from free, they would remain a captive people surrounded by a maze of settlements and a 28-foot Wall. And they would remain impoverished cut off from the rest of the West Bank and denied the ability to engage in meaningful commerce with the world beyond the Wall.
Whether or not this proposed plan is ever implemented, it is clear that Israel’s Jerusalem policy, since it first occupied the eastern part of the city, has been moving in this direction. They have sought to reconcile two imperatives: keeping control over the city, and “Judaizing” its character. This has had a devastating impact of the lives of Palestinians in the city and its environs.