15 May, 2021

Civic War Zone

A new Jewish colony in East Jerusalem angers Palestinians

Civic War Zone

THE talks between Israel and the Palestinians are hindered by a new deadlock, this time triggered by Israel's proposed housing programme for Jews in 460 acres of land atop a rolling, pastoral hill in Arab East Jerusalem. The hill forms part of a scenic, biblical landscape that Israelis call Har Homa. To Palestinians, it is Jabal Abu Ghunaim—a link between Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Bethlehem to the south.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Abu Mazen has resigned in protest, and although President Yasser Arafat has managed to keep the lid on violence so far, Palestinians are enraged. "It is a declaration of war against the Palestinian people," warned Faisal Husseini, the Palestinian Authority's representative in Jerusalem.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists he is not violating the Oslo accords. True, the accords do not prevent Israel from building in Jerusalem since the fate of the city is to be discussed only in the final negotiations. But Israel's decision violates both international...

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