Israel Step Closer to Making Jerusalem Jewish-Only City

The Israeli government is planning a series of measures aimed at fully denying Palestinians their legal rights in Jerusalem and precluding any future peace settlement based on sharing the city between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

One of the most aggressive measures to date is a bill that was approved by the Israeli Knesset on Tuesday, January 2.

The bill, which passed with the support of Israel’s ruling rightwing and far-right coalition has several dangerous stipulations.

According to the bill, two thirds of the Knesset majority is required for Israel to relinquish sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. International law insists that Israel has no sovereignty over East Jerusalem, illegally occupied and annexed in 1967 and 1980 respectively.

An equally disturbing stipulation in the bill is that it removes two Palestinian neighborhoods from the municipal jurisdiction of the city.

The two affected neighborhoods are Kufr Aqab and the Shufat refugee camp.

By doing so, the Israeli government would have achieved another milestone in its demographic war on Palestinians.

It is important to note that the two Palestinian areas are located on the other side of what Israel refers to as the ‘Separation Wall’.

This move confirms the assumption that the Wall was built around Palestinians areas that Israel plans to annex in the future.

Now, that the wall construction is at an advanced stage, the process of annexation seems to have begun.

But the latest bill – dubbed by Palestinians as the ‘race law’ for it aims at vacating Jerusalem from Palestinian Arabs and increasing the number of the city’s Jewish settlers – is a rewritten version of an earlier bill.

‘The Greater Jerusalem Law’, which was poised to win a majority vote at the Knesset was only shelved temporarily.

The delayed bill called for expanding the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including Ma’aleh Adumim and the Gush Etzion settlement cluster.

Moreover, it endeavored to bring 150,000 Jewish settlers into Jerusalem as eligible voters, who would naturally tip the political scene more to the right.

Concurrently, the law would further demote the status of 100,000 Palestinians, who would find themselves in a politically gray area.

That bill was cast aside only weeks before the United States government agreed to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

While many in the international community were focused on what the American move would mean for the future of the region and the so-called peace process, few paid heed to the fact that the US and Israel had something far more consequential in mind.

News agencies at the time reported that Israel agreed to shelf a popular bill “under US pressure.” But that ‘pressure’ only aimed at giving President Donald Trump the needed time to formulate his own strategy and make the troubling announcement.

Since then, many Palestinians were killed, hundreds wounded and more detained as Palestinians and their allies around the world displayed outrage by the US decision.

A symbolic but telling vote at the United Nations on December 21 showed that the US and Israel stood alone in their fight to deny Palestinians their rights in their unlawfully occupied city.

Wasting no time, Israeli lawmakers are now pushing forward with designs to further isolate Jerusalem and to empty it from its Palestinian inhabitants.

They understand that the unparalleled US support must be exploited to the maximum, and that any delay on these bills would certainly be missed opportunities.

The nature of the US-Israel coordination is indeed unprecedented. Just as the Knesset voted to approve the bill, the US moved quickly to cap any strong Palestinian reactions.

That job was entrusted to US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who has gone further than any other US official in her attempt to intimidate, and even bully Palestinians.

Haley declared that the US will cut off US funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and will only resume funding when the Palestinians agree to return to the negotiations.

UNRWA is the main channel for support for Palestinians refugees. That decision will further tighten the noose on a struggling Palestinian economy and the Palestinian Authority which relies mostly on international aid to survive.

Haley, of course, understands that no Palestinian leadership can engage politically with Israel and the US when the two countries refuse to accept international law as a frame of reference in the negotiations.

Now, the Palestinian leadership has to choose between its existing humiliation or further humiliation.

But Haley’s threat is also aimed at changing the conversation, and taking the focus away from the racist Israeli bill that will surely lead to further annexation in Jerusalem itself and throughout the West Bank.

The US and Israel are now actively invested in a system of political Apartheid in Palestine, and are twisting the arm of the PA to facilitate such a dreadful regime.

PA officials have made many threats so far, including the exclusion of the US from the peace process and changing their demand to a one state solution.

But there is nothing concrete so far regarding that coveted Palestinian strategy; one that is predicated on a united Palestinian leadership that truly explores new options, allies and future outlook.

It is that lack of vision that compromises the Palestinian position even further, emboldening Israel to push forward with its racist laws and apartheid walls.

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes