By Rima Najjar*
The Judaization of Jerusalem. It used to work under cover of darkness, at least in the mainstream media, but now it’s out in the open with official recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem from the United States.
Israel implements its Judaization of Jerusalem by directly undermining the sanctity of both Muslim (the Haram al-Sharif) and Christian (the Via Dolorosa) holy sites in al-Quds and by continuing to establish irreversible and exclusive control over the holy city as an Israeli-Jewish city.
Israel implements strategies that ensure its physical domination of the city. Since it illegally annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 war, it has devised numerous policies to create geographic integrity and demographic superiority in favor of a Jewish Jerusalem.
But this strategy did not begin in 1967. In the wake of the 1948 war, the newly-minted Israeli government quickly rejected all calls for internationalizing the city and declared that “Arab aggression” invalidated Israel’s obligation to implement the partition plan, and specifically the UN-sanctioned corpus separatum of Jerusalem — Resolution 181 recommended the creation of independent Palestinian and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem.
Today Israel’s hasbara machine falsely declares that Palestinian “terrorism” invalidated Israel’s obligation to implement final status negotiations for an independent Palestinian state in the Oslo process, when, in fact, it has been busy leaving nothing for the negotiators to decide upon.
Ironically, on 2 Feb 1949, Ben Gurion magnanimously expressed willingness to establish corpus separatum over the Old City, primarily in order to delegitimize Jordan’s hold over the Old City while removing Israel’s own territorial gains from the equation.
Today, unsurprisingly, we hear that Israel’s exclusive control of the Old City is part of the “New Palestine” Deal. At the same time, on June 01, 2019 the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) released a report that documented 130 violations by Israel against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem during April.
It was the Labor government of Levi Eshkol which set the precedents for complete Israeli sovereignty over a “united” Jerusalem in 1967, with a flurry of Israeli legislative maneuvering that echoed the 1949 frenzy, immediately according Jerusalem a status different than that of the rest of the occupied territories.
Jewish colonization efforts were to emphasize security in the Jordan Valley and in “Greater Jerusalem” as well as the high ground along the western portion of the West Bank. In other words, preserve the Jewish demographic majority won as a result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 in the Palestinian lands already grabbed.
Likud’s obsession, an obsession which today has the political upper hand, was/is on creating a Jewish demographic majority in the occupied Palestinian territories with the purpose of acquiring more Palestinian territory for the Jewish state.
Israel’s strategies re Jerusalem implemented at the municipal level (with full backing of the Israeli government) have been the most devastating for Palestinian Jerusalemites. The architect of the Israeli master plan for Jerusalem, as many know, was former mayor Teddy Kollek, who pursued plans to cut “Greater Jerusalem” from the rest of the West Bank and facilitated its annexation with the stated objective of ensuring Jewish demographic superiority as well as geographic integrity.
Here are a few of his words from 1984 regarding what he considered to be the premature establishment of the now vast Jewish colony of Ma’aleh Adumim ringing the city:
“I think it is a mistake to establish it before we have filled Jerusalem. In another five years, we will fill Jerusalem and then we will go there [Ma’aleh Adumim]. In Jerusalem, we took upon ourselves, as Jews, a very difficult urban task, in that we received distant neighborhoods, and we had to connect them …”
Note: Jerusalem was not empty and did not need to be “filled”!
The Jewish colonization of Jerusalem is in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 465 Concerning the Application of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Prohibition to Establish Settlements in the Territories, including Jerusalem, 1 March 1980.
Israel has forced a Jewish majority in all parts of Jerusalem and in the process brutally suffocated the legitimate rights and aspirations of Palestinian Jerusalemites, who, nevertheless, cling to their rights and identity in the holy city as Muslims, as Christians and as Palestinians.
Since 1967, successive Israeli governments have systematically eradicated all other visions of the holy city of Jerusalem except for the vision of Jerusalem as the “eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish State.”
Without question, Israel has always viewed the final status of Jerusalem as already settled. With Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, Israel believes it will finally secure unquestionable legitimacy for its exclusive rule over the holy city.
It’s up to the international community to stop it. In its report mentioned above, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) “urged the United Nations and its concerned bodies as well as the European Union to closely monitor the situation in Jerusalem and to condemn the harsh acts to which Palestinians are subjected and to shoulder their responsibilities towards the Palestinians under occupation.”
* Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.