Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | ePaper

Israel, Palestinians jockey over Jerusalem in Trump era

  • Print


Israeli authorities destroy shops in the refugee camp of Shuafat in Jerusalem. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem has set off an increasingly visible battle in the city's eastern sector _ with an emboldened

AP, Jerusalem  :
President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has set off an increasingly visible battle in the city's eastern sector - with an emboldened Israel seeking to cement its control over the contested area and Palestinians pushing back to maintain their limited foothold.
In recent weeks, Israel has arrested dozens of Palestinian activists for alleged illegal political activity. It demolished Palestinian shops for failing to have permits, a court has cleared the way for settlers to move in to an Arab neighborhood and the city's outgoing mayor is trying to close the east Jerusalem operations of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, in turn, has boosted efforts to protect its claim on Jerusalem, attempting to block east Jerusalem Palestinians from selling properties to Jews - a major taboo that it is largely powerless to prevent.
"The change in the U.S. position on Jerusalem under Trump's administration has unleashed the Israeli hands to increase and escalate its measures that aim to change the features of the city from a Palestinian city to an Israeli one," said Walid Salem, a Palestinian analyst in Jerusalem. "The Palestinian Authority feels the heat and is stepping up measures to resist this Israeli policy."
The conflicting claims to east Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel captured the area, home to the city's most sensitive religious sites, in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it, claiming the entire city as its capital. But the annexation is not internationally recognized, and the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
A year ago, Trump upended decades of American policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"We finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel's capital," Trump said at the time. Several months later, he moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thrilling Israel and enraging the Palestinians. Speaking at the embassy dedication ceremony in May, Netanyahu said: "We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay."
Although Trump has said his decision would not determine the city's final borders, it has been seen by both Israel and the Palestinians as taking sides.
Israel's hawkish government has been energized by the backing of its American ally in its quest to keep Jerusalem what it considers to be its eternal, undivided capital.
The Palestinians have for years accused Israel of taking steps to fortify its hold on the city, primarily by encircling Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem with Jewish settlements. These settlements, considered by Israel to be neighborhoods of its capital, are now home to over 200,000 Israelis.
Criticism from previous U.S. administrations has often held Israel back in the past. With the reins removed, Israel has carried out a flurry of moves, often jostling with Palestinians along the way.
"Around 300, 000 Palestinian live in east Jerusalem," said Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs. "They have always resisted the Israeli occupation measures in the city and they always will."
In an unusual step, Israel arrested the top Palestinian official in Jerusalem this week along with over 30 Palestinian Jerusalemites, accusing them of the rarely enforced offense of serving in the Palestinian security forces in violation of previous agreements with Israel. Most were released on bail, but the governor, Adnan Ghaith, remains in custody.

More News For this Category

Egypt's options dwindle as Nile talks break down

Egypt's options dwindle as Nile talks break down

AP, Cairo :The latest breakdown in talks with Ethiopia over its construction of a massive upstream Nile dam has left Egypt with dwindling options as it seeks to protect the

Lebanon cabinet fast-tracks reforms as protests rage on

Lebanon cabinet fast-tracks reforms as protests rage on

AFP, Beirut :Lebanon's teetering government approved an economic rescue plan Monday but the last-ditch move was met with deep distrust from a swelling protest movement seeking the removal of the

All-female spacewalk duo set sights on Moon

All-female spacewalk duo set sights on Moon

What's even better than venturing out into the vacuum of space? Landing on the Moon, according to US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, the first all-female duo to conduct

Trump says ‘small’ number of US troops remain in Syria

Trump says ‘small’ number of US troops remain in Syria

AFP, Washington :President Donald Trump said Monday that a "small" number of U.S. troops will remain in Syria amid blistering criticism from lawmakers in both parties who have denounced his

Netanyahu fails to form govt before deadline, opportunity for rival

Netanyahu fails to form govt before deadline, opportunity for rival

AP, Jerusalem :Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed Israel's president Monday he could not form a new government following deadlocked September elections, making way for his opponent Benny Gantz to try.The

News In Brief

Erdogan warns Syria offensive will resume unless Kurds complete pull outAFP, Ankara President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday threatened to resume Turkey's military offensive in Syria "with greater determination" unless

Beijing says no one can stop Taiwan ‘reunification’

Beijing says no one can stop Taiwan ‘reunification’

AFP, Beijing :China's defence minister made an uncompromising call Monday for the "reunification" of Taiwan with the mainland, telling a high level defence forum that the process was something "no

US troops in Syria heading to Iraq, not home as Trump claims

US troops in Syria heading to Iraq, not home as Trump claims

AP, Kabul :While President Donald Trump insists he's bringing home Americans from "endless wars" in the Mideast, his Pentagon chief says all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western

Trial set to open in massive US opioid lawsuit

Trial set to open in massive US opioid lawsuit

AFP, Cleveland :Leading US pharmaceutical companies go on trial Monday charged with stoking the opioid epidemic that has ravaged communities and left hundreds of thousands dead or overdosed across the

Australian papers black out front pages in protest against media restrictions

Australian papers black out front pages in protest against media restrictions

Newspapers across Australia ran heavily redacted front pages on Monday in protest against government secrecy and a crackdown on press freedom, a rare show of unity in a fractious media