‘Construction in Sheikh Jarrah may open pandora’s box’

J'lem Institute for Israel Studies says building in e. Jerusalem neighborhood may hurt peace talks, stand in contrast to strategic interests.

November 16, 2010 03:34
A house belonging to Jews in east Jerusalem's Shei

sheikh jarrah jewish house 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Jewish construction in Sheikh Jarrah and other Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem may hurt future Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and stand in direct contrast to Israel’s geo-political strategic interests, according to a report published recently by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS).

The research, conducted by Prof. Yitzhak Reiter and Lior Lehrs and presented to senior government officials last week, indicates that the government has the legal and administrative tools needed to prevent Jews from settling in Sheikh Jarrah, and to prevent mass evictions of Palestinians there.

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In the report, titled “The Sheikh Jarrah Affair: Strategic Implications of Jewish Settlement in an Arab Neighborhood in East Jerusalem,” the JIIS notes that Israel has a vital interest in maintaining a negotiating framework that addresses issues arising only after 1967. The reclaiming of Jewish ownership and possession rights in Sheikh Jarrah specifically, and east Jerusalem generally, could lead to the opening of the “1948 files,” encouraging claims for restitution of refugee properties within western Jerusalem neighborhoods.

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