2017 Year-end Summary: From Deepening Control of the Heart of the City to Advancing Plans to Redraw its Boundaries

2017 Year-end Summary: From Deepening Control of the Heart of the City to Advancing Plans to Redraw its Boundaries
Over the course of 2017, the government of Israel intensified its two-pronged Jerusalem strategy to reinforce the city’s status as the capital of Israel while dismantling Palestinian Jerusalem. This dual approach is being carried out both on the periphery of the city and within the heart of East Jerusalem – the Old City and surrounding band of Palestinian neighborhoods. Israel is actively working to alter the boundaries of Jerusalem through legislation, through the creation of Palestinian enclaves on the outskirts of the city, and through unchecked building of Israeli neighborhoods/settlements and highway infrastructure to link the city to the three adjacent settlement blocs in service to the vision of a “Greater Jerusalem.” In parallel, Israel is acting within the core of East Jerusalem – the Old City and its environs – by promoting an unprecedented number of touristic settlement initiatives inside Palestinian neighborhoods, advancing evictions and uprooting Palestinian families, demolishing homes (throughout East Jerusalem), enabling the erosion of the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, stepping up policing activities under the guise of “governance,” and expunging the Palestinian narrative in Jerusalem. These measures constitute a significant deepening of Israel’s Jerusalem policy, at a time when large segments of the Israeli opposition not only fail to challenge the government’s policies but actually help to reinforce them. Take, for example, the Zionist Union’s proposal to separate Palestinian neighborhoods from Jerusalem – a plan that would only exacerbate the deterioration and fragmentation of East Jerusalem.
At the end of the year, Israel’s Jerusalem policy received an infusion of support from US President Donald Trump who, on December 6, 2017 declared US recognition of Jerusa...read more