Ask the Arabs of East Jerusalem: Should Jerusalem Be Redivided?

(Hudson Institute-New York) Khaled Abu Toameh - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators need to take into account that it's completely unrealistic to talk about restoring the pre-1967 situation where Jerusalem was divided into two cities. Jerusalem is a very small city where Jews and Arabs live across the street from each other and on top of each other. Since 1967, Israel has built many new neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city, rendering it impossible to imagine a reality where Jerusalem would exist as a divided city. Redividing Jerusalem will turn the lives of both Jews and Arabs into a nightmare. Every day, tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs commute between the two parts of the city freely. In addition, the negotiators must ask the more than 200,000 Arab residents of the city about their preferences. This can be done through a referendum where the Arab residents would be asked if they would like to live in a divided city under the rule of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Most likely, a majority of the Arab residents would say that they prefer the status quo to the other options. The Arab residents of Jerusalem have seen what happened in the West Bank and Gaza over the past 16 years and are not keen to live under a corrupt authority or a radical Islamist entity. Instead of talking about tearing the city apart, it would be better if the negotiators started thinking of ways that enable Jews and Arabs to share, and not divide, the city.

2010-10-01 09:29:49

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