Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Does not compute …

A lot of blogs have been talking about the recent 60 Minutes piece that aired about the situation in Jerusalem and specifically about the City of David archeological project and the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in which it is located.

If you haven't seen the 60 Minutes clip, I highly recommend that you check it out. It does an ok job of laying out some of the tension in the city and doesn't completely gloss over the complexity of the situation.

One of the themes from the piece is that Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, and many other Israeli leaders, believe that Jerusalem cannot be divided. They believe this for many reasons, most of them practical and logistical.

As Barkat claims in the video, "show me one example of a divided city that works, it doesn't exists."

This echoes some of the work done by Israeli blogger and historian Yaacov Lozowick. I pointed it out before, but you should read up on his posts about why Jerusalem can't and shouldn't be divided.

I used to be very much in favor of the Clinton parameters as the solution here, including the division of Jerusalem. Now I'm not so sure. Why I still believe firmly in a two-state solution, I'm coming around to the position that Jerusalem simply cannot be divided.

While I was influenced by Lozowick's position and his postings, I think the time I have spent in Jerusalem has been more persuasive. What that time has convinced is that Israel cannot divide Jerusalem because it doesn't belong to Israel. It doesn't belong to the Arabs either, nor does it belong to the Jewish people as we might wish to believe.

Jerusalem, more than any other group, belongs to the Haredim. You see it when you walk down the street in that city. The Haredim are the one community that has shown a complete and total commitment to the city. I'm not trying to place a value judgment on this fact; I'm simply describing the situation as I see it. The Haredim will never let Jerusalem, and by that I mean more or less the old city and the holy basin, slip out of Jewish control.

On the other hand, the reaction of the anti-Israel community to the 60 Minutes piece has been predictably nonsensical. Exhibit A, not surprisingly, is the headline from this post over at Mondoweiss.
‘60 Minutes’ marks the end of the two-state solution
This is a common staple of anti-Israel propaganda; that the failure to divide Jerusalem would render the two-state solution unworkable. To this I ask: why? Certainly the Palestinians would not agree to a peace treaty that didn't include Jerusalem. However, the lack of an agreement does not in any way render two-states an impossible outcome of the problem here.

I have recently been of the thinking that a Palestinian state will be created long before it reaches a peace agreement with Israel. Certainly a happy and peaceful division of Jerusalem would be preferable to the Palestinians. But I fail to see, and no one has made a logical (or truthful) argument as to why a Palestinian state would be unviable if it didn't include Jerusalem.

This argument necessitates the same logic that said that the inclusion of Ma'ale Adumim in Israel would somehow prevent a contiguous Palestinian state. It takes only a split second glance at a map to disprove that argument, and it takes only the most cursory examination of the situation here to know that a Palestinian state that didn't include Jerusalem would still be a completely viable basis for a state.

But hey, the anti-Israel crowd hasn't been making any sense for the last 60 years, why should they start now?

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