Better the Devil You Know

Some Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are not overjoyed at the prospect of being part of the Palestinian Authority "I don't recommend going in there. Do you have a gun?" Wearing a flak jacket and clutching an M-16 rifle, the Israeli border policeman checks IDs of Palestinians coming through the gate at the entrance of the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Hamis. "This isn't Jerusalem. All sorts of people from the territories and Gaza are in there. Be careful," he cautions as I cross over - unarmed - to gauge the response of Arab residents to Israeli talk of handing over parts of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, and dividing the city into two parts - one the capital of Israel and the other the capital of the Palestinian state-to-be. For many Israelis, Ras Hamis and the adjacent Shuafat Refugee Camp are so menacing that they might as well be in the Palestinian West Bank and not part of the capital of Israel. Last week, in the most forthcoming statement of an Israeli Prime Minister on dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinians, in anticipation of the upcoming peace talks in Annapolis, Ehud Olmert wondered why the refugee camp had ever been annexed to Jerusalem after 1967. For full story please subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here to subscribe.