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Thread: Jerusalem grows more Arab, less Jewish

  1. #1
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Jerusalem grows more Arab, less Jewish

    JERUSALEM: Israel is facing a challenge it never expected when it captured East Jerusalem and reunited the city in the 1967 war: Each year, Jerusalem's population is becoming more Arab and less Jewish.

    For four decades, Israel has pushed to build and expand Jewish neighborhoods, while trying to restrict the growth in Arab parts of the city. Yet two trends are unchanged: Jews moving out of Jerusalem have outnumbered those moving in for 27 of the last 29 years. And the Palestinian growth rate has been high.

    In a 1967 census taken shortly after the war, the population of Jerusalem was 74 percent Jewish and 26 percent Arab. Today, the city is 66 percent Jewish and 34 percent Arab, with the gap narrowing by about one percentage point a year, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

    Jerusalem's profound religious and historical significance makes its status perhaps the single most explosive issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. And that status clearly would become even more contentious were the balance of the population to tip toward the Arabs. This is a specter that worries Israelis, even as the 40th anniversary of their victory in the June 1967 war approaches.

    "The Jewish people dreamed for centuries of getting back their ancient capital," said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and author of "The Fight for Jerusalem." Nineteenth-century immigration to Jerusalem, site of the biblical Jewish temples, gave the city a Jewish majority that has been in place since the 1860s, he said.

    Jerusalem is an economic hub, containing the third-holiest site in Islam - and the city many Palestinians yearn to make the capital of a future state. Yet Israeli security measures, imposed after the Palestinian uprising in 2000, have put the city, like the rest of Israel, off limits to the vast majority of Palestinians who live in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

    "People want to go to Jerusalem to pray, but they can't," said Rami Nasrallah, an Arab resident who advised the previous Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, on Jerusalem affairs. "This makes Jerusalem even more important in their imaginations."

    While Jerusalem's symbolic importance is paramount to both sides, Israelis and Palestinians differ on the city as a place to live. For Palestinians, it remains a magnet, offering more opportunities than any Palestinian city in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. But many Israelis see it as poor, rundown and riddled with religious and political tension.

    When it comes to job opportunities, affordable housing and a varied cultural life, Jerusalem is less appealing to secular Israelis than Tel Aviv or other cities.

    "Jerusalem just got to be too extreme, and we decided it was time to leave," said Alona Angel, 60, an Israeli who lived more than 30 years in Jerusalem before moving to Tel Aviv two years ago when her husband retired and the last of her children finished high school. "After so many years in Jerusalem, I thought it would be hard to leave, but it wasn't."

    Angel said she was increasingly turned off by religious and political intolerance. She recalled being casually but modestly dressed one day when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman began yelling at her that she was not properly clothed. "I just felt less and less welcome," said Angel, an interior designer.

    Last year, Jews leaving Jerusalem outnumbered those moving in by 6,000, in line with figures for the past decade, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

    A poll released last week captured the Israeli ambivalence over Jerusalem. More than 60 percent of Israelis said they would not want to give up Israeli control of the city's holy sites, even as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Yet 78 percent of Israelis said they would not consider living in Jerusalem or would prefer to live elsewhere in Israel.

    Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, but only a tiny minority of the Arabs who live there are citizens of Israel. The vast majority have legal residency, a status similar to that of green-card holders in the United States.

    When the Israelis and Palestinians held their last round of full-fledged peace talks, in January 2001, the two sides discussed a plan to make Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods part of Israel, and the city's Arab neighborhoods part of a future Palestinian state - a sharp break from Israel's insistence that all of Jerusalem remain part of Israel's "eternal, undivided capital."

    But the talks collapsed, and since then Israel has built a West Bank separation barrier that runs largely along the eastern border of Jerusalem. The one substantial exception is in northern Jerusalem, where more than 50,000 Palestinians have been left outside.

    Still, the thought of re-dividing the city provokes a strong reaction among some Jews, who recall when Jordan held East Jerusalem and the Old City, from 1948 to 1967, and Jews were not allowed to pray at the Western Wall.

    That is a central reason that the demographic trends stir fear among Israelis, since it would be difficult to reconcile the fact of an Arab majority in the city with its status as Israel's eternal capital. Over all, the city had 475,000 Jews and 245,000 Arabs as of 2005, the latest year for which figures are available.

    Jerusalem's Jewish population is still growing despite the out-migration, but only by a little more than 1 percent a year - not enough to match the annual 3 percent increase among Arabs. The small Jewish increase is a result of an extraordinarily high birthrate among the ultra-Orthodox, who make up about a quarter of the city's population; on average, each of these woman has more than seven children.

    Yet as the ratio of ultra-Orthodox Jews increases, so does the outflow of secular Jews.

    With the Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities expanding, the city's tax base has weakened, straining municipal services and contributing to the outflow of the middle class. Meanwhile, many Palestinian neighborhoods are becoming badly overcrowded.

    While it is virtually impossible for Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza to move to Jerusalem if they were not born there, natural population growth and restrictions on building in Arab parts of the city mean large families often share very small apartments.

    An estimated 18,000 apartments and homes, or a third of all the Arab residences in East Jerusalem, were built illegally because permits are so hard to obtain, Nasrallah said, adding that Israel has not approved the development of a new Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem since 1967.

    "Israel sees Jerusalem as a demographic problem," he said, "and sees the solution as getting rid of Palestinians."

    Jerusalem grows ever less Jewish - International Herald Tribune
    Well, this should help things in the Middle East, eh?
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  2. #2
    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    It's the middle east; isn't it supposed to be all jewish/araby/mennonity/caannanity/ all that other shit in the bible? The whole situation is becoming disgustingly hilarious to me in its never ending absurdity.

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    May 17 2007; 01:05PM
    Double Standard Watch: Day of catastrophe?
    Posted by Alan Dershowitz |

    I just returned from a visit from several university campuses during which I spoke about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. On these and other campuses anti-Israel students commemorate the Palestinian Naqba. They call this the Day of Catastrophe on which the Palestinians were deprived of their homeland and were made refugees from their birthplace. They compare their catastrophe to the Holocaust.

    Perhaps out of deference to the suffering of the Palestinian people, pro-Israel students generally say nothing in response to these Naqba commemorations. The impression is thus created that everyone agrees that this was indeed a catastrophe inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians. The time has come to reply to this canard and to place it in its historical context.
    The Naqba was indeed a catastrophe, but it was a self-inflicted wound. The Palestinian Naqba was a direct result of the refusal of the Palestinian and Arab leadership to accept the two state solution offered by the United Nations in 1947-48. The UN divided what remained of Palestine, after Trans-Jordan was carved out of it, into two states of roughly equal size (the Israelis got slightly more actual land, but the Palestinians got considerably more arable land).

    Israel would control territories in which Jews were a majority, while the Palestinians would control territories in which Arabs were a majority. Israel accepted the partition and declared statehood. Palestinians rejected statehood and attacked Israel with the help of all the surrounding Arab countries.

    In the process of defending their new state, Israel lost 1% of its population (1 out of every 100 Israelis were killed). In the ensuing war - a war declared to be genocidal by Israel’s enemies - 700,000 Palestinians left their homes, some voluntarily, some at the urging of Palestinian leaders and some forced out by the Israeli military.

    None of these people would have had to leave Israel had the Palestinians and other Arabs been willing to accept the two state solution
    . It was indeed a catastrophe for all sides, but the catastrophe was caused by the Palestinians and Arabs.

    In the aftermath of the war, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. There were no United Nations condemnations of these occupations though they were brutal and denied the Palestinians autonomy and sovereignty. Only when Israel occupied these lands, following a defensive war against Egypt and Jordan, did the occupation become a source of international concern.

    This is the reality. This is the historical truth. And the world should understand that this particular catastrophe, as distinguished from others like the Holocaust, could easily have been prevented had the Palestinians wanted their own state more than they wanted to see the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.

    The Germans don’t celebrate the catastrophe resulting from their invasion of Poland. Japanese do not celebrate their catastrophe resulting from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Why do Palestinians celebrate their catastrophe resulting from the Arab attack against Israel?

    JPost.com | BlogCentral
    Last edited by JamieElizabeth; May 21st, 2007 at 03:58 PM.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    didnt the expulsion happen BEFORE all that? You know, when Israel was created? I think the Brits had a hand in it..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    I think you people really need to check out this proposed map.

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    Gold Member piperdiva's Avatar
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    OMG that is so fucking hilarious
    Coffee is my happy drug

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