A few days ago Adam Horowitz filed an important piece for this site on the idea that settlers are now trying to "Juda-ize" Arab sections of Israel proper (whatever the border is). Today the Times caught up with him with a piece on the efforts to settle Silwan, a neighborhood of Arab East Jerusalem that uses that word "Judaize" in the lede . Horowitz again:
The Times should really be complimented for its article on Silwan, which is ground zero of the E-1, the track of land Israel wants to settle to complete its ring of settlements around Jerusalem. If is able to settle Silwan, and E-1, then any hope for as the capital of Palestine is over (assuming it isn't already), and the West Bank will be completely separated into North and South cantons. Silwan is also an interesting case of Israel using archaeology as a weapon in its effort to establish the "City of David" and claim more and more Palestinian land. Although the Times's Kershner doesn't go into that in depth (as that link does), she does allude to this being part of a broad plan.project. Silwan is strategically located: between the Old City of Jerusalem and
Unfortunately, the Times quotes a Jerusalem city spokesman at face value: "A spokesman for Jerusalem City Hall, Gidi Schmerling, rejected the accusations [of expansionism], saying that municipal enforcement is carried out equally and according to the law in the eastern part of the city and the predominantly Jewish western part. He added that the demolition of the houses, which were built on public land, was carried out after the residents lost their appeals in the district and supreme courts."
This claim has been disproven many times. One of the most telling statements has come from Amir Chesen, an adviser to Jerusalem mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert: "In Jerusalem, Israel turned into a tool of the government, to be used to help prevent the expansion of the city's non-Jewish population. It was a ruthless policy, if only for the fact that the needs (to say nothing of the rights) of Palestinian residents were ignored."
Within Jerusalem, building permits have been awarded on a disproportionate basis to Arabs and Jews and demolitions have been carried out in a discriminatory manner. Approximately 55% of the building violations detected each year in Jerusalem are in Jewish neighborhoods, 72% of the home demolitions in Jerusalem are of Palestinian homes. Rabbis for Human Rights paints a sobering picture:
The [Jerusalem] Municipality grants an average of 150 - 200 permits a year for Arab housing and demolishes 25-50 units a year. Between 1967-2001, 80,800 units were built in Jerusalem for Jews, most of them with government subsidies and 44,000 of them on land expropriated in Municipality.. Some 19,900 homes were built for Palestinians. Only 500 were subsidized. Some 7,000 are deemed illegal by the
The discriminatory nature of home demolitions was summed up
in 1998 by Jerusalem's
Deputy Mayor Haim Miller, "I don't sign demolition orders for Jewish homes,
only for Arabs."
This article is a great step for the Times, but there is still so much of the story to tell.