The First Palestinian in Jerusalem's City Hall?

(New York Times) Matti Friedman - Ramadan Dabash, a civil engineer who helped found the community center in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher, is running for a seat on Jerusalem's City Council. More than a third of the city's residents are Palestinian, but in the last election in 2013, not even 2% cast a ballot. The Palestinian Authority sees participation in Jerusalem elections as a form of collaboration. The way Dabash sees it, the chances of a peace deal are nil. With Hizbullah, Hamas, the Islamic State and the Syrian war all within a three-hour drive, an Israeli pullout isn't happening anytime soon. To get things done, he has been willing to play ball with Israelis. He points to the community center, which is funded by Israel, as proof he can work the system and get results. Over the past five years, remarkable changes are afoot in Jerusalem's human landscape. Worlds that have long been distinct are moving closer together. Seeing Palestinian salespeople in Israeli stores is now common. Palestinian enrollment at Hebrew University is up dramatically, as are requests for Israeli citizenship. Close to 50% of east Jerusalem wage earners are employed in west Jerusalem. In May, the Israeli government allocated $560 million to projects in east Jerusalem. Dabash showed me a site where a 140-classroom school complex is under construction. The project was approved with the cooperation of the local Palestinian PTA, which is associated with Hamas. No one was signing a peace agreement. Everyone just wanted the kids to have a school.

2018-08-17 00:00:00

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