Tuesday, October 9

Jerusalem, Israel & Pals: splitsville?

Looking north towards central Jerusalem, from the capital's southernmost neighborhood, Gilo. I shot this photograph with a cellphone camera, and then tweaked it in Photoshop to get this somewhat dreamlike image. (Dave Bender)

Writer, columnist and blogger Judy Lash Balint weighs in with a well-crafted, detailed, and personal POV on the significance of reports about dividing Jerusalem:
When most tourists think of Jerusalem, they generally have in mind the Western Wall, the Israel Museum, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Ben Yehuda Mall and Yad Vashem. Sadly, tourists, like most Israeli Jews, don't spend much time in eastern Jerusalem--despite the fact that this part of the Holy City holds the most historical, spiritual and strategic significance for Jews and Christians.

But in the run-up to the Annapolis summit, as the Olmert and Bush administrations intone the old "two states for two peoples" mantra, and renewed declarations that a Palestinian state will have east Jerusalem as its capital go on, perhaps it's time to understand the dynamics of the eastern part of the city.

Until very recently, Israeli politicians both left and right cited "Jerusalem, the undivided capital of Israel" as the consensus mantra. Now, Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon, (the same Ramon who was convicted just six months ago on sexual harassment charges) is advancing the same unrealistic Camp David thinking on Jerusalem as that first raised by Ehud Barak in 2000. Let the Arabs have the Arab neighborhoods and the Jews will keep the Jewish areas, and the "Holy Basin" of Judaism and Christianity's holiest sites will be administered by joint international supervision, declares Ramon.

But, as anyone who has spent any time at all in Jerusalem's neighborhoods can attest, things on the ground are far more complex than that.
Read the rest and learn. Previous post featuring Balint.

(Full disclosure: Judy and I have worked together in the past on news coverage about Israel and PA areas)

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