“They can’t be that crazy, ” says Aziz Oubid. Yes, Aziz, they can and they are!
Saying he wants “to save Jewish lives,” the leader of the Israeli opposition is proposing to divide Jerusalem with more high walls and checkpoints, effectively banishing 200,000 Palestinian residents from the city.
The proposal by Isaac Herzog, formally adopted last month by the Labor Party, imagines building miles of new concrete barriers and smart fences to separate 28 Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem from Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish settlements in the city.
Herzog, co-leader of the Israeli Zionist Union party and the Labor Party’s leader describes his plan as “we’re here and they’re there,”and says the walls must be built inside the city to stop Palestinians from killing Israeli Jews in knife, gun and car attacks.
The plan would transform vast stretches of Jerusalem from a demographically divided but physically contiguous metropolis into an archipelago of sectarian cantons served by roads and tunnels designed for either Israelis or Palestinians.
If the Herzog plan were to be implemented, Israel would reduce the Muslim population of Jerusalem from more than a third of the city to about 10 percent.
“They will put us behind a wall and say that 200,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem need a special permit to visit al-Aqsa Mosque? That is a religious war,” said Aziz Oubid, co-owner of an auto parts store in the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya just a few miles from the Old City.
“They can’t be that crazy,” he said.
Palestinians complain that the Herzog plan is impractical, radical and racist — that it amounts to “collective punishment” for hundreds of thousands of Arabs for the actions of a few dozen assailants, and would separate lifelong residents of Jerusalem, both Muslim and Christian, from their jobs, schools, hospitals and holy places. They do not seem to understand that this is precisely the intention of the plan.
“We are more than suspicious. Even talking like this increases the frustration, increases the anger,” said Darwish Darwish, the traditional leader, known as mukhtar, of the Issawiya neighborhood.
“Herzog is telling Palestinians of East Jerusalem that we don’t give a damn about them,” said Daniel Seidemann, founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem, a group that tracks development in the city.
“The threat to Jewish Jerusalem isn’t the Palestinians,” Seidemann said. “It’s the occupation.”
Jews and walls…
Read more here.