Monday, 10 May 2010

Love of the Land: Forget your right hand

Forget your right hand

Soccer Dad
09 May '10

The Washington Post reports, "Israeli construction in East Jerusalem adds to difficulties facing negotiators":

When the Obama administration launches indirect peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as early as this weekend, it faces a much more complicated landscape than the Clinton or Bush administrations did, especially in Jerusalem.
In the decade since Israelis and Palestinians came close to a peace deal in 2000, the complexion of Jerusalem, perhaps the most sensitive of all the sticking points, has been altered. Israeli construction is blurring lines between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods, making any bid to share or divide the city even more difficult than in the past.

A battle for sovereignty and international legitimacy is playing out on every hilltop and valley here. And with tens of thousands of new apartments planned for Jews in East Jerusalem -- well beyond the 1,600 announced in March during Vice President Biden's visit here -- the potential for construction derailing the new peace negotiations is high.

I'm sorry but Israel and the Palestinian were not "close" to a peace deal in 2000. Yasser Arafat rejected the deal. But why should the Palestinians be rewarded for rejecting the deal? It the Palestinians can reject any deal as insufficient, why should Israel be obligatred to cede the same territories for "peace?"

For Israel, the issue of Jerusalem is about not just Jews' historical claims to the city but also demographic realities. Israelis fret about the Jewish majority of the city declining as the Arab birthrate outpaces that of Jews; by some estimates, the Arab population -- which today is about 300,000, or 35 percent of the city's total -- could equal the Jewish population by 2030.

The qualfication of "some estimates" indicate that this is as much as wild guess as anything.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Forget your right hand

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