The Security Implications of Dividing Jerusalem

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Nadav Shragai - In recent decades, after the Oslo, Cairo, Hebron, and Wye agreements, and the disengagement from Gaza, a considerable number of territories were transferred to the security and/or civil control of the Palestinian Authority. Each time, the PA failed to prevent terror attacks, and at times was an active partner in hostilities against Israel. Should Jerusalem be physically divided according to its Arab neighborhoods, the separation line would become the border between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or a future Palestinian state, as distinct from the current situation where the border is far away from most of the city's Jewish residents. Implementing separation would turn numerous Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem into border neighborhoods that will suddenly be within light-weapon and machinegun range. In September 2000, with the outbreak of the Second Intifada, sniper and mortar fire began from the Palestinian Authority town of Beit Jalla toward the homes of Jewish residents in Jerusalem's nearby Gilo neighborhood, and continued intermittently until 2005. Scores of residents were wounded in the shootings. An Israeli security body that was tasked in March 2000 with examining the possibility of transferring three Arab villages just outside of Jerusalem - Abu Dis, Al Azaria, and a-Ram - to Palestinian security control, assessed at the time that: "Terrorists will be able to exploit the short distances, sometimes involving no more than crossing a street, to cause damage to people or property. A terrorist will be able to stand on the other side of the road, shoot at an Israeli or throw a bomb, and it may be impossible to do anything about it. The road will constitute the border." From a security standpoint, separation in the foreseeable future endangers Israel and the Jewish residents of Jerusalem. On the basis of past experience, Israel cannot risk a separation from Arab neighborhoods unless responsibility for security remains solely under Israeli control. - from Jerusalem: The Dangers of Division.

2010-03-29 08:10:03

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