FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Jerusalem Under Attack

The last suicide bomber blew himself up no more than 300 yards from my Jerusalem apartment. The windows shuddered as the deafening sound filled the air. Then came a moment of silence followed by the loud echo of sirens.

A friend who had seen the attack was still traumatized a week later. The vivid images of dead bodies scattered on the road could not be erased. There were seven of them, she said, not counting the wounded.

Another suicide bomber detonated himself on a bus in a different part of town a day earlier. He killed 20 people and wounded many more. Immediately after the assault, I called friends who live close to where the bus exploded to make sure they were okay. These chilling phone calls have become routine in Israel. A busy line on the other end is considered good news.

Not surprisingly, the Jerusalem landscape has also changed. Police and military checkpoints have been erected not only on many of the roads leading into the metropolis, but also in the city itself. Every supermarket, bank, cafe, hotel and restaurant is now obliged to employ security guards who search customers as they enter.

Despite these and other measures, many Jerusalemites continue to feel insecure. The once bustling downtown is often empty, since residents prefer to stay home rather than risk a night out on the town. They know that no military operation can stop the suicide bombers.

While the media spends much time covering the attacks in West Jerusalem, most commentators have often blurred the difference between the personal and national dimension of the threat. The very real personal threat every Israeli feels when he or she enters a mall, takes a bus, or walks into a crowded pub, should not be mistaken for a national threat. The random killings of civilians in no way jeopardize Israel’s existence.

Moreover, the media has consistently failed to expose what is happening on the city’s occupied east side, where Palestinians live. Like West Jerusalem, the East is also under attack. Not by suicide bombers, of course, but rather by Israeli authorities.

The Jerusalem municipality — headed by Likud mayor Ehud Olmert — together with the military and police have been exploiting the ongoing conflict in order to accelerate Israel’s geographic and demographic conquest of East Jerusalem. The strategy is clear — to strangle and intimidate the Palestinian population.

Several methods are being employed to accomplish this goal, including house demolitions, expulsions, land confiscation, curfews, and the revocation of residency and social benefits.

Since the beginning of the year, the municipality has destroyed 25 Palestinian houses and filed demolition orders for hundreds more. About six weeks ago, several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were expelled from their homes, where they had been living since the 1950s.

Not much later, 115 dunams were confiscated from Palestinian residents of Jabal al-Mukaber in order to build four hundred “luxury apartments” for Jews. On the other side of town, in Issawiya, an additional 25 dunam have recently been expropriated. In this case, the land was taken from the resident in order to build a military base. All of these techniques have one aim: to systematically reduce the number of Palestinians in the city.

During this same period, the authorities have occasionally imposed curfews as a means of intimidating the Palestinian population. Imagine living in a city where a few hundred yards from your house thousands of people are shut in their homes for days on end simply because they are members of a different ethnic group; children cannot go to school, and adults cannot get to work. As if this collective punishment were not enough, soldiers often walk the streets during curfew throwing stun grenades and shooting at water tankers simply to frighten the population.

The attack on the East is, to be sure, different from the one on the West, particularly in terms of the methods employed. Yet, it too is ruthless. The political objective is to ensure Israel’s demographic dominance and to create an irreversible situation, whereby Jerusalem cannot be divided and no part of the city returned to the Palestinians.

This attack, unlike the one in the West, constitutes both a personal threat and a national one. And while it is currently less gory than the one perpetrated by suicide bombers, it is sowing dragon’s teeth for the future.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

 

More articles by:

Neve Gordon is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies and the co-author of The Human Right to Dominate.

March 20, 2019
T.J. Coles
Countdown to “Full Spectrum Dominance”
W. T. Whitney
Re-Targeting Cuba: Why Title III of U.S. Helms-Burton Act will be a Horror Show
Kenneth Surin
Ukania’s Great Privatization Heist
Howard Lisnoff
“Say It Ain’t So, Joe:” the Latest Neoliberal from the War and Wall Street Party
Walter Clemens
Jailed Birds of a Feather May Sing Together
George Ochenski
Failing Students on Climate Change
Cesar Chelala
The Sweet Smell of Madeleine
Binoy Kampmark
Global Kids Strike
Nicky Reid
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail