Judaizing Jerusalem - by Stephen Lendman
The Middle East Monitor (MEM) covers significant regional issues and events through its weekly newspaper and reports like Samira Quraishy's September 2009 Briefing Paper titled, "The Judaization of Jerusalem," discussing Israel's "escalating campaign of land seizures, house demolitions and eviction(s) of Palestinians."
Israeli scholars agree, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Oren Yiftachel, in a 1999 paper titled "Ethnocracy: the Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine," saying Israel is an ethnocratic regime "enhanc(ing) a rule by, and for, a specific ethnos, and a dominance of ethnicity over citizenship (by) facilitat(ing) the expansion of one ethnic group over contested territory or polity." It evolved around "the central Zionist (uni-ethnic) project of Judaizing and de-Arabising Israel/Palestine, (and as a consequence undermining) equal citizenship and popular sovereignty," reserving it solely for Jews, exposing the myth of a democratic nation.
Hebrew University Professor Moshe Ma'oz, Ankara's Bilkent University Professor Jeremy Salt, Professor Norman Finkelstein, Professor James Petras, and many other scholars agree that Israel pursued this policy since 1967, planning it decades earlier, based on the Zionist notion of dispossessing Arabs to make greater Israel an exclusive Jewish state.
Jerusalem is its epicenter, a religiously important city for Christians, Muslims and Jews, today the scene of epic injustice and discrimination of its Palestinian residents.
For Zionists, the city is politically important, as its historic capital, national and religious center, as well as the symbol of Judaism's revival and prominence. For Christians, it's where Jesus lived and died, and for Muslims it's their third holiest site (the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca's Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.
After its 1967 annexation, East Jerusalem underwent legal and bureaucratic changes to its physical, cultural and spiritual character under Israel's Judaization plan. Settlements were established and expanded, at the expense of land expropriations, dispossessions, home demolitions, the Separation Wall, and other draconian measures to transform the city to an entirely Jewish one. As a result, Palestinian culture and religious heritage are threatened by the establishment of "facts on the ground," a process begun after the city's annexation that continues relentlessly to this day.
At the time, official annexation would have caused rupture or confrontation with the international community, because of the city's symbolic, religious and historic importance. In addition, international laws would have been hard to get around besides ideological differences among Israeli officials. Further, direct annexation would have forced the government to make all city inhabitants citizens, contrary to the plan to Judaize the entire city
On the Six Day War's final day, Israeli leaders ordered the demolition of the Old City's Moroccan Quarter, allowing for easier access to the Western Wall. It left 650 residents homeless, many others killed, two mosques destroyed along with other religious and cultural sites, and set the tone for what continued.
Under military occupation, Israel transformed Jerusalem from a multi-cultural, multi-religious city into a predominantly Jewish one under exclusive Israeli control toward the final goal of making the entire city exclusively Jewish - meaning Arabs had to go, voluntarily, by dispossessions, or other means.
Thereafter, Israel manipulated city demographics in its favor toward establishing a Greater Jerusalem by reinforced municipal boundaries - separating Jerusalem from the West Bank by land seizures, dispossessions, home demolitions, the Separation Wall, and a matrix of restrictions over Palestinian residents in the Old City as well as 64 additional square kilometers from surrounding West Bank areas, affecting 28 villages inside the new municipal boundary. As a result, the demographic balance shifted markedly to one predominantly Jewish.
On July 30, 1980, the Knesset introduced the Jerusalem Law, officially annexing the city as Israel's unified capital - a ceremonial move as East Jerusalem residents were already under military occupation rule.
Yet on March 1, 1980, UN Security Council Resolution 465 declared that:
"all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation....and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law."
Throughout its history, Israel routinely defied all UN resolutions and court rulings against its interests, knowing it can get away with it, always with Washington's backing. Instead, it's intensified efforts to annex East Jerusalem through continued settlement expansions on expropriated land. For the West Bank, E. Jerusalem and Golan combined, they're home for a 500,000 Jewish population, growing at around 4 - 6% yearly.