PROTESTERS GATHER in Jerusalem’s Safra Square Sunday morning to protest the arrest of Arab children in east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF FREE JERUSALEM)
In the end, he might do the right thing. But when that happens, if it ever does, he won’t get any credit for doing it.
On the contrary, it will be described as caving, an act of cowardice, and immoral.
He won’t gain respect and he won’t be seen universally as a man who has taken significant action by divesting Jerusalem of the villages that have been annexed to the city, although the truth is that we will be disconnecting ourselves from of thousands of people who are drinking our blood as well as our money. Instead, everyone will say that it’s the same pattern of behavior he always displays. Even when he eventually does the right thing, it’s only after he’s exhausted every other possibility and been humiliated and condemned along the way.
Take, for instance, the appointment of the new governor of the Bank of Israel and a host of other appointments he bungled.
The main contention raised by those who oppose the move is that Jerusalem will be fired on from the villages that have been “de-annexed.”
Following this logic, we should dismantle the fences between Israeli towns in the center of the country and those just across the Green Line in the West Bank, like the barriers between Kfar Saba and Kalkilya or Kfar Yona and Tulkarm, and so on, ultimately tearing down the fence between Abu Dis and Jerusalem.(And by the way, a small part of Abu Dis is also incorporated into the Jerusalem municipal district, along with the Shuafat refugee camp.)
Will the state of our security improve if we re-merge it with Jerusalem? Does anyone really miss Abu Dis? There was a period when Palestinians from Bethlehem were firing on the neighborhood of Gilo. Was that problem solved by annexing Bethlehem to Jerusalem? The prime minister at the time (who happened to be Ariel Sharon) launched Operation Defensive Shield, and Gilo is no longer a target.
Redesignating the annexed villages as Area B means that they will be under the civil jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (as are over 90 percent of the Palestinians in the West Bank), with the Israeli army responsible for security. And just like Israeli troops enter Abu Dis when necessary, they will enter Beit Hanina if the need arises. What’s wrong with that? Is it so hard to understand that our situation will be better and there will be fewer terrorist attacks without thousands of people who hate us? Some claim that it is morally wrong to link the Palestinians in the annexed villages to their brothers in the West Bank. What do these self-righteous souls think the Geneva Accord, Clinton’s “parameters” and the proposals put forward by Barak and Olmert intended if not to revoke the Israeli residency status of these people? Admittedly, it was meant to happen within the framework of a comprehensive agreement, but the individuals in Beit Hanina would still lose their Social Security benefits. They would all prefer to be permanent residents of Israel than citizens of a Palestinian state. The inhabitants of Ramallah and Nablus would too.
Sorry, but that’s not what we want.
The Palestinians adjacent to Jerusalem have a double life, not to say a split personality. On the one hand, they all want an Israeli identity card (and lately there has been a sharp rise in requests for these cards), and on the other hand, you don’t see a lot of tears shed in their villages when a Jew is stabbed. Would it be too much to expect a little sympathy for the citizens of the country they are so eager to belong to? Is it all just a question of money? Yes, it is. When it comes to Israel, it’s all about money and conditions. We don’t have to accept this duality. In fact, we ought to put an end to it as soon as possible.
Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai, skitai@ kardis.co.il.