Olmert's plan crowds Arabs, other foreigners into Jerusalem
Topic: Israeli Politicians
Column One: Olmert's plan for Jerusalem
Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 15, 2006
During his tour this week of European capitals, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
announced that in addition to Judea and Samaria, he plans to transfer a
number of neighborhoods in Jerusalem to Hamas. In his words, "Not all the
Arab neighborhoods will be part of the city in the future."
Olmert claims that taking these Arab neighborhoods out of Jerusalem's
municipal boundaries will strengthen the city. From a security perspective
this makes no sense since transferring Tzur Baher, Jebl Mukaber and Isawiya
to the Hamas-Fatah-Islamic Jihad-al-Qaida-Hizbullah-led Palestinian
Authority will place all the remaining neighborhoods in the city within
enemy rocket, mortar and even rifle range.
Olmert apparently thinks that partitioning the city will secure the Jewish
majority of the city. Yet, taking these neighborhoods out of the city will
actually endanger that majority.
Over the past few months, a team of American and Israeli researchers
conducted a demographic study of Jerusalem and its environs. Last year the
same researchers - Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, Michael Weiss and Yoram
Ettinger - conducted the first independent study of the Palestinian
population data published by the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics in 1997.
Their study exposed that the PA had inflated the number of Palestinians in
Judea, Samaria and Gaza by some 1.5 million or 50 percent. Olmert and his
colleagues in Kadima and the Labor Party have justified their plan to
surrender Judea and Samaria to Hamas on the basis of these inflated numbers
which falsely project that by 2015 there will be more Arabs than Jews
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The team's research methods and their findings were reviewed by the leading
American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt from the American Enterprise
Institute in Washington, DC. At the Herzliya Conference in January,
Eberstadt praised the team's research methods and stated that their
conclusions were "not only plausible but quite persuasive."
Their study showed that today Jews comprise 59 percent of the overall
population of the areas that include sovereign Israel, Judea and Samaria and
Gaza and 67 percent of the population of Judea, Samaria and sovereign
Israel. Far from becoming the minority by 2015, the group's projections show
that in 2025, Jews will comprise between 56-71 percent of the overall
population of Judea, Samaria and sovereign Israel. In other words, the team
showed that there is no demographic threat to Israel's Jewish majority.
The team began examining the demographic situation in Jerusalem and its
environs after Olmert first expressed his plan to partition the city as part
of his unilateral retreat policy. The team noted at the outset that Olmert's
claim - that by placing Arab neighborhoods outside the municipal boundaries
he would be reducing the Arab population of the capital by tens of
thousands - ignores the fact that Arabs can move. As legal residents of
Jerusalem these Arabs are under no obligation to remain in the neighborhoods
slotted for transfer to Hamas.
Indeed, since the government's intention to partition the city was made
clear by the route of the security fence, thousands of Arabs with Jerusalem
ID cards who had previously lived in Judea and in neighborhoods set to be
placed outside the city's boundaries started converging on the city.
Residents of Pisgat Ze'ev and Neveh Ya'acov relate that Arabs are moving
into their neighborhoods in droves. This is also the case in the city's Arab
neighborhoods not set for transfer to Hamas such as Beit Tzafafa, Wadi Joz
and Abu Tor. Rather than reduce the number of Arabs in the city, Olmert's
plan is just crowding the city's population into shrunken boundaries. At the
same time, by giving up all the reserve open lands around the city, he is
blocking all chance of municipal growth.
As Zimmerman and his team members note, in Jerusalem's current municipal
boundaries, 487,000 Jews make up 68% of the population and 231,000 Arabs
make up 32%. Fertility rates of the two populations are nearly identical,
with a Jewish fertility rate of 3.8 and an Arab fertility rate of 4.1 per
The team checked what would happen if, rather than partitioning the city,
Israel were to expand the boundaries of the city. They found that if Israel
were to extend the borders of the capital to include the Adumim bloc, the
Etzion bloc, the Adam bloc, the Givon bloc, Mevasseret Zion and its
satellite neighborhoods, the Tekoa area, Abu Dis and Bir Naballah and
incorporate all these communities' Jewish and Arab residents into the city,
Jerusalem's demographic balance would remain the same. The enlarged city
would have 704,000 or 68% Jewish residents and 335,000 or 32% Arab
The enlarged capital would have plenty of land reserves on which to build
new housing for both its Jewish and Arab residents. Retaining Israeli
control over the areas around Jerusalem's current boundaries would also
protect Bethlehem's status as a Christian city while Olmert's plan, which
places these areas under terrorist control, guarantees that Jesus's birth
city will become a Muslim majority city with all the religious and political
consequences that such a religious transformation would involve for the
Christian world. The study shows that the number of Arabs that would be
incorporated into the city if it were to expand its borders is smaller than
the number of Arabs incorporated into the city with its unification in 1967.
And it goes without saying that an enlarged Jerusalem would be safer than a
partitioned city with its removed sections under terrorist control.
In light of the study's findings, and given the deterioration of Israel's
national security situation in the wake of its retreat from Gaza last summer
and the recent reports of al-Qaida cells operating in Jerusalem, it is
impossible to avoid the conclusion that in configuring his retreat and
partition plan for the country's capital city, Olmert did not consider its
devastating repercussions on Jerusalem itself.
SO IF Olmert's planned retreat harms Jerusalem, what purpose does it serve?
The sole goal that Olmert's partition plan advances is that of attempting to
appease racist, anti-Jewish radical Islamic forces that claim that Jews have
no rights in Jerusalem. Indeed, at its core, Olmert's plan internalizes this
jihadist view by completely ignoring the security, municipal and demographic
concerns of the city's Jews and non-jihadist Arabs.
This Israeli internalization of the jihadist view of Jews in Jerusalem also
pervades the government's treatment of Jewish land purchases in eastern
Jerusalem. Last week Ha'aretz reported that a month ago the State's
Attorney, Eran Shendar, asked Police Inspector Yohanan Danino to undertake a
covert investigation of Ateret Cohanim - a non-profit organization that
works to bypass the Palestinian Authority's policy of defining land sales to
Jews as a capital offense for which dozens of Arabs have been murdered since
Shendar's instructions came after an Arab Jerusalemite named Muhammad
Marageh, who in the past worked for Ateret Cohanim, offered to attempt to
criminally implicate the organization in exchange for receiving state's
witness protection and, perhaps, money from the state. The Ha'aretz report
makes clear that Israel's chief prosecutor is so convinced that there is
something wrong with willing Arab sellers selling land to willing Jewish
buyers that apparently, without being presented with any evidence of
wrongdoing, he ordered the police to begin a secret criminal investigation
of the Jews.
This anti-Jewish view is similarly manifested in the police's indifference
to the fates of Arab land sellers. On April 12, the eve of Passover,
Jerusalem resident Muhammad Abu Al Hawa was tortured and murdered in Jericho
for the "crime" of selling a building in Abu Tor to Jews. The week before
his murder Israel's Channel 10 led prime time news broadcasts, on two
consecutive nights, with hysterical reports about the land sale. The reports
were precipitated by a court order for the police to evict illegal squatters
from the building to enable the legal owners to take possession of their
property - an eviction which Channel 10 filmed.
As I reported at the time, sources in Abu Tor stated that after the Channel
10 expose, it was only a question of time before Hawa was murdered. Those
sources also said that far from protecting Hawa, the police were suspected
of tipping off Channel 10's reporter on the scheduled eviction. This week,
the spokesman for the police's Samaria and Judea District responsible for
investigating Hawa's murder did not respond to repeated requests for
information on the status of the investigation.
THE GOVERNMENT'S treatment of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate similarly
exposes its internalization of the anti-Semitic view that Jews have no
rights in eastern Jerusalem. Today there are two Patriarchs of the Greek
Orthodox Church: the legal Patriarch Irineos and the illegal de facto
Patriarch Theophilos. Last summer Ma'ariv reported that Irineos leased two
hotels near the Old City's Jaffa Gate to Jews. The story caused an uproar in
the Church, the PA and among Israeli Arabs. In its wake, Irineos was
illegally ejected from his position and his life has been under constant
The Church, together with Jordan's King Abdullah and PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas, selected Theophilos to replace him. Ahead of his appointment,
Theophilos promised Abdullah that he would operate in accordance with
Jordanian rather than Israeli law, meaning that he would uphold the
Jordanian legal prohibition of conducting land deals with Jews. Attorneys
and others involved in this issue claim that Theophilis also pledged to
Abbas that he would cancel the lease agreement for the hotels at the Jaffa
In an interview with Al Quds newspaper on May 18, Theophilos said that he
was unable today to fulfill his pledges because the Israeli government has
yet to approve his appointment.
To force Israel's hand, Theophilos filed a petition with the Supreme Court
demanding that the government approve his appointment. The Supreme Court is
scheduled to hear the petition on July 19. The Jews involved in the Jaffa
Gate lease agreement and in other land agreements with the Greek Orthodox
Church, which owns vast landholdings in Jerusalem and throughout the
country, are deeply concerned about the government's likely response to the
petition. The government did nothing when Irineos was sacked although it is
legally bound to protect him and his position. Indeed, Israel has allowed
Theophilos to act as the de facto Patriarch.
The government's acceptance of the jihadist view that denies all Jewish
rights to Jerusalem is nowhere more evident than on the Temple Mount, which
since 1995 Israel has abandoned to the control of the PA's Mufti Ikrameh
Sabri. Sabri preaches the "rights" of Arabs to eradicate the Jews whom he
refers to as "pigs and monkeys." And with the backing of the Israeli
government, he ensures that the police enforces his ban on Jewish and
Christian worship on the Temple Mount.
Moreover, under the impotent eye of the government, for the past decade
Sabri has overseen the commission of one of the most heinous archaeological
crimes in human history. While denying the Judeo-Christian sanctity of the
site, since the mid-1990s the Islamic Wakf on the Temple Mount has been
systematically destroying Jewish and Christian relics hidden inside the
mountain that date back to the time of Solomon's Temple, in an attempt to
erase the historical record. Sabri and his colleagues further exploit their
control of the Temple Mount to incite Muslims to attack Jews for imagined
crimes relating to the so-called "Judaization" of Jerusalem.
In answer to reporters' queries, this week Olmert repeatedly stated that he
would never give up the Temple Mount. But his statements are meaningless.
You cannot give up what you already surrendered. No, Olmert is not giving up
the Temple Mount. Olmert is giving up all of Jerusalem.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
at 12:04 PM