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Most of you have heard of the "heartless" eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem by the "evil Zionist" "right wing" "ultranationalist" Israeli government. It was probably described to you in about that way, and pictured as another step in the "expansionist Zionist ethnic cleansing" of "Arab" East Jerusalem.

Ir-Amim has taken up the cause of the "unfortunate" Palestinian "victims" of "Zionist oppression." Ir-Amim and other organizations like it, were probably pictured to you as defenders of democracy and coexistence, fighting the evil Zionist plan to dispossess the Arabs, and foiling the plot of the Zionists to Judaize Jerusalem.I

What if you were to find out, as I did, that everything in the above description, everything you were led believe about the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and the organizations that support them is false? I didn't believe it either, but it seems that it is so:

The Arab tenants, and not the settlers or the Israeli government, triggered the eviction process when they stopped paying rent, probably on the advice of a "rights" NGO that wanted to create a problem where there was none, and throw another monkey wrench in the wheels of peace and reconciliation.

Far from being dispossessed of their rightful property, the Arabs evicted from Sheikh Jarrah were illegally transferred to illegally occupied territory in the 1948 by a belligerent state, Jordan, and by the UN, in violation of the Fourth Geneva convention, article 49. Everyone agrees that the land and the houses are Jewish property.

Rather than trying to dispossess the "unfortunate" Arabs, the Israeli government concluded an agreement that would allow them to live in the apartments, acquired by the aggressor Jordanian government after ethnically cleansing the Jews who were the rightful tenants in 1948. Under the agreement, the Arabs would pay a nominal rent and would be "protected" key money tenants under the Ottoman law for protected tenants: they could not be evicted unless they stopped paying the rent. The Arabs, for reasons of their own, however, broke the agreement and stopped paying rent. Somehow, this is made out to be the fault of the Israeli government.

While you may be picturing an exodus of thousands of unfortunate homeless Arabs, only three families were evicted thus far. In total, the evictions could affect 27 families.

Rather than believing in coexistence in Jerusalem, Ir-Amim and other organizations who are defending the Arab tenants, believe in the innocent-sounding slogan of "shared Jerusalem," which actually amounts to apartheid racism and division of Jerusalem.



It all sounds like impossible right wing ultranationalist Zionist propaganda, but it seems that all of the above is absolutely true, and you can verify it.

Ir-Amim is one of those "rights" and "peace" and "democracy" groups funded by the Ford foundation and the New Israel Fund and several European governments as well as the EU (see New Israel Fund Supports anti-Israel propaganda).

I thought democracy was a system of government in which citizens choose the representatives who decide policy, and citizens form and fund groups to influence policy. Silly me! "Democracy," according to those who claim to know, is a system in which foreign governments and rich people decide policy for us. With their unblemished historical record, Europeans can clearly be trusted to have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart, and to do what is best for the Jews. American Jews and the Ford Foundation are more familiar with the problems of the Middle East than us ignorant Israelis.

Two sets of my great grandparents lived in "Arab" East Jerusalem and are buried there, on Mt. Olives in "Arab" east Jerusalem,. One of my grandfathers taught in the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus in and my mother studied there, likewise in "Arab" East Jerusalem. But I do not claim exclusive rights for Jews in Jerusalem. I had hoped, like many Israelis, that Jerusalem could be a "shared city," a solution that would be appropriate to its symbolism as a city of peace. That hope was dented badly on May 15, 2000, when Palestinian Arab "police" opened fire on IDF soldiers. It was shattered forever in September 2000, when Palestinian Arabs, "inspired" by Marwan Barghouti, rioted and threw rocks at Jews praying at the Wailing Wall. Both the praying Jews and the rock throwing Arabs are venerable of Jerusalem customs.

"Shared Jerusalem" is a slogan common to many peace groups and personages, including former President Carter (see mondoweiss.net/2009/06/carter-echoing-obama-a-new-palestine-will-see-a-shared-jerusalem.html) the Evangelical Lutheran Church (elcjhl.org/palestine/jerusalem/jerusalem.asp) Churches for Middle East Peace (cmep.org/SharedJER/Resource.htm) the Jewish Peace Lobby (peacelobby.org/ASharedJerusalem.htm) and other such worthy organizations and personages. Ir Amim itself is described as:

Ir Amim, an Israeli civil society organisation that advocates a shared Jerusalem. (Source: globalgeopolitics.net/wordpress/2009/05/14/mideast-israel-expanding-beautifully-in-jerusalem/)

There is even a group of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs who want to set up a mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood in Tantur, in "Arab" East Jerusalem.

I thought that "shared Jerusalem" means that the city, in all its neighborhoods would be open to both Jews and Arabs, as it was in the days when I was a student there, and lived for a time in Wadi Joz, in East Jerusalem, in rooms sublet by an Arab landlord. The kaleidoscope of different cultures, admittedly not always living in harmony, is what created the exotic charm of Jerusalem in those days. Silly me! It seems that shared Jerusalem, according to Ir Amim, means that East Jerusalem must be ethnically cleansed of Jews. For Ir-Amim has cynically turned slogans like "human rights," "democracy" and "justice" on their heads.

Orly Nir of Ir-Amim explained to me that shared Jerusalem means this:

Ir-Amim's idea of shared Jerusalem is for the city to acknowledge both national identities and serve as both the Israeli and the Palestinian capital. Any development which aims to prevent this model is dangerous to our understanding, including ideological settlements in Palestinian neighborhoods.

Of course, if there are two capitals in Jerusalem, there will be a divided city. Sheikh Jarrah will be there to prevent access to outlying Jewish neighborhoods from the center. The old city will be ethnically cleansed of Jews once again, and Jews will have no access to their holy places or any national presence in their ancient capital. The Arabs stopped paying rent for ideological reasons, not because they do not have money. It is impossible to understand why one ideological act by Jews is wrong, while another by Arabs is deemed to be right.

The proponents of "peace" and "democracy" and "rights," Ir Amim included, want to ignore the entire history of Jewish habitation in Jerusalem prior to 1948, as well as the 43 years of Israeli rule in "Arab" East Jerusalem following 1967. The ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Jerusalem, and the 19 year illegal occupation of Jerusalem by Jordan, are to define rights of sovereignty and the rights of habitation in Jerusalem, in the name of "human rights." Ir-Amim seems to believe that when Jews are ethnically cleansed, they should know their place and remain ethnically cleansed, and not try to recover their rights.

Jerusalem in ancient times was of course the capital of the state of the Jewish people, a fact attested by the arch of Titus, the writings of Roman historians, and the 2,700 year old inscription in Hezekiah's Tunnel, as well as the traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but denied by the Palestinian Authority and its spokespersons.

In modern times, Arab and Jewish neighborhoods outside the old city of Jerusalem began to be formed only in the late 19th century, when the city began expanding, and were populated mostly during the British mandate period and after 1967. Arabs and Jews alike in these new neighborhoods were "settlers." In both periods, Arabs and Jews alike were attracted to Jerusalem by the commercial opportunities and employment made possible by Zionist investment. Jerusalem had a majority Jewish population since the end of the nineteenth century. Sheikh Jarrah consisted, in the late 19th century, of two Jewish neighborhoods, Shimon Hatzadik and Nahlat Shimon, settled by Jerusalemite Jews, of villas of a few rich Arab families, and of a foreign settlement. The "settlers" were not Jews, but Presbyterian missionaries from the USA and Sweden, the so-called American Colony founded by Horatio and Anna Spafford. Arabs do not have an "ancient" claim to Sheikh Jarrah that is older than that of the Jews or any other settlers.

The old city of Jerusalem had a Jewish quarter that was several hundred years old, with a population of over 5,000. These Jewish "settlers" were for the most part not Zionists. They were gradually forced to flee by a succession of pogroms in the 1920s and 1930s, and then finally ethnically cleansed by the British officered Jordan Legion in 1948 (see The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem). Other Jewish neighborhoods, such as Shimon Hatzadik in Sheikh Jarrah, suffered a similar fate: their inhabitants were forced to flee. Thus, "Arab" East Jerusalem was relieved of its Jewish problem and Sheikh Jarrah came to be an "Arab" neighborhood.

Propaganda of "rights organizations" claims that Israel is "ethnically cleansing" the Arabs of Jerusalem. The Zionist plot to Judaize Jerusalem is proceeding at a frenetic pace. At the rate of three Arab families evicted every 35 years, in no time at all Sheikh Jarrah will be emptied of all its squatter families. Despite this vicious Zionist plot, the Arab population of Jerusalem has more than kept pace with the Jewish population, and experts predict that it may become a city with an Arab majority.

As Ir-Amim explains (see ir-amim.org.il/eng/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/sheikhjarrahrevieweng.pdf) in 1953, these families were placed in properties that belonged to Jewish owners by the Jordanian government and the UN. Beginning in the 1970s, the rightful owners and the Israeli government began a process to recover their rights. The tenants signed a document agreeing to pay rent, but then they reneged on their agreement. The law is clear: everywhere in the world: a tenant who does not pay rent gets evicted. A person who reneges on a signed agreement must fulfill the agreement or face the legal consquences. Nobody disputes that the property belongs to Jews.

Ir-Amim wants to return the apartments to the delinquent tenants, because otherwise they will be "settled" by "Jewish settlers" who would be coming as lawful tenants in place of the illegal Arab settlers. Ir Amim warns us that the "Historical basin" (a phrase they invented to lend verisimilitude to Palestinian Arab claims of prior sovereignty) of Jerusalem is being surrounded:

The settlersí activity in Sheikh Jarrah constitutes an additional link in the chain of settlements Ė existing or planned Ė that aim to surround the historical basin of the Old City with an Israeli-Jewish ring...

Another sinister Jew-Zionist conspiracy! But the eviction of the Palestinian Arabs in Sheikh Jarrah is the fruit of a legal process that began more than 35 years ago. Those sinister Jew-Zionist Israelis must have had incredible foresight, to plan ahead to 2010.

The Ir-Amim summary makes it seem as though the Arab tenants never paid rent and never acknowledged that the houses belonged to the Jewish owners. But according to an Haaretz story, "The Palestinian families residing there were allowed to stay on as protected tenants, until they stopped paying rent." Akiva Eldar, who wrote the article, assures me that it is so, and Orly Nir does not deny it. It is the Palestinians themselves who created the entire incident of their own volition. The timing of the events is not due to a sinister Israeli plot to surround the "Historical basin," as Ir-Amim would have us believe, but to the desire of certain people to stir up trouble in Jerusalem.

Of the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Jews of the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, which is now occupied by those Arab families facing eviction, Ir-Amim euphemizes:

A small Jewish community that settled in the late 19th century around the tomb was dispersed gradually beginning in the 1920s and 1930s and through 1948.

Ir-Amim claims that granting Jews rights to their property would create a dangerous precedent:

The legal recognition of the rights of Jews to sue for ownership over properties that were theirs before 1948, and in their name to evict Palestinian families living there for decades, constitutes a precedence that is liable to have serious political consequences. Indeed the Israeli law does not recognize the right of Palestinians to sue in a similar manner for the return of their properties within the Green Line from before 1948.

This is an extraordinary claim. The precedent of recovering Jewish property captured after ethnic cleansing was established first with the Federal Republic of Germany. Regarding property confiscated by Arab aggressors in 1948, it was already established in Gush Etzion, Atarot (Kalandia) and other places. The phrase "properties that were theirs before 1948" has no meaning, since there was no legal act recognized by the Israeli government that caused the properties to stop belonging to the Jewish owners after 1948. Ownership could only be adjusted in a peace agreement, which the Arab states refused to sign.

The Palestinian Arabs cannot sue in Israel for return of their properties for the same reason that the Zionist organizations cannot sue in Syria for the return of lands purchased in the Hurran, and the Jews of Iraq and Egypt cannot sue for their properties. Such claims are adjudicated and settled only when there is a peace settlement. The Jordanian government got possession of lands belonging to the Jewish National Fund, on which Pinhas Ruttenberg had built his electric generation plant, when Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty. But the Palestinians never signed any peace settlement with Israel and refuse to do so. Ir-Amim knows all this.

The Arabs are not being evicted because they are Arabs, or because it is Jewish property, but because they refuse to pay rent. Allowing Arab tenants to remain without paying rent would in fact create several dangerous precedents that do not seem to concern Ir-Amim. The Arab tenants claim that the property is theirs and therefore they don't need to pay rent. If they are allowed to stay, w all the Arab tenants inside "green line Israel" can claim that all of the land is theirs, and therefore they are not obligated to pay rent or obey other Israeli laws, and can break any legal contract.

Refusing to allow eviction of the illegal Arab settlers would create yet another precedent, since the same logic would necessarily apply to Jewish settlers in Tapuah or Yizhar who had lived there for decades. They to claim that all of the land is theirs, regardless of property rights. Even if a peace agreement is reached, it would be impossible to implement any evacuation of Jewish settlers from any settlements, under any conditions.

An additional reason, perhaps the actual reason for objecting to Jewish settlement, is given in Ir-Amim's document:

[the settlers] exist in the midst of ongoing confrontation with their environment and with the rule of law.

The rule of law however, clearly favors the settlers, and it is the Palestinian Arabs who have lived in those apartments for upwards of 35 years in the midst of an ongoing confrontation with the rule of law. Since any Jews living in Arab neighborhoods would "exist in the midst of ongoing confrontation with their environment," the "shared Jerusalem" slogan is revealed as a fraud. The "historical basin" - historical mostly because it was the capital of the ancient Jewish commonwealth, is to be "shared" only by Muslims and Christians. No Jews need apply. That is the democratic solution proposed by Ir-Amim and others.

Black Africans who wanted to live in white neighborhoods in apartheid South Africa would "exist in the midst of ongoing confrontation with their environment." Would Ir Amim be in favor whites-only neighborhoods? African American children who attended newly desegregated schools in Alabama or Arkansas existed " in the midst of ongoing confrontation with their environment," as did those who integrated lunch counters and buses. This argument was used by southern American white racist bigots, who insisted that the "nigras" should "stay where they belong." When my great grandparents and their neighbors lived in the Jewish quarter of the old city, they existed in the midst of an ongoing confrontation with their environment. The "environment" threw rocks at them, stated pogroms and screamed "itbach al yahud" (slaughter the Jews) and similar democratic slogans conducive to coexistence.

All of Jewish existence in Israel and most of Jewish existence in the rest of the world for the last 2,000 years has been "in the midst of ongoing confrontation with their environment." Here in Israel, the "environment" invaded us in 1948, shelled us in 1967, blows itself up in public places and continues to rain down Qassam rockets as part of the hostile confrontation. However, that is a relatively mild "environment" for us. The "environment" in Europe and Muslim countries carried out pogroms and put Jews in ghettos, and later, the European "environment" sent Jews to death camps. Preventing Jews from settling in Jerusalem because they are in an "ongoing confrontation with their environment" would set a dangerous precedent In order not to exist in the midst of a confrontation with our environment, Jews would have to settle an uninhabited planet.

Hat tip to Tom Carew of Safra veSaifa who pointed out Ir-Amim's protest.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2010. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000729.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 7 Comments

ive been to isreal and enjoyed it there only solution is a one state with equal rites for all with no prefrince to any group work on a south african constatution it works

john aref, Tuesday, April 13th


zionism is blatant racism, which is narcissism,nepotism, jingoism,elitism,phony exceptionalims,the master race syndrome, and it violates what we all know; we are children of the maker which makes us all brothers and sisters;act accordinly,act like an adult!

hanthala, Monday, March 8th


The only fair solution for the holy land yesterday, today and tomorrow:
ONE Person
ONE Vote
ONE Nation
Secular
Democratic
In complete Egalaitarianism
From the south of Lebanon
To the Negev
From water to water

Please help to make Palestine free for one and all

It is inevitable

Free Palestine!!

hanthala adal, Monday, March 8th


Would Israel kick out indigenous people out of their own homes just so they could steal it? Just ask the 7 million 'real jews' who've had it done to them by white-skined phony jews

hanthala, Monday, March 8th


Demography, Geopolitics and the Future of Israelís Capital: Jerusalemís Proposed Plan
By Nadav Shragai
The Jewish majority in Jerusalem is declining due to mass migration of the Jewish population from Jerusalem, together with the migration of an additional Arab population into Jerusalem. According to the proposed master plan of the city, the planned inventory of Jewish housing does not meet expected needs for 2020, while the planned inventory for Arab housing will suffice until at least 2030. In addition the proposed master plan will create urban contiguity between eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and Palestinian neighborhoods outside the city, reinforcing the Palestinian demand to recognize the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as a single political entity.
For the entire article please see: http://jcpa.org/text/Jerusalem-Master-Plan.pdf

debka, Sunday, March 7th


its just wondering-israel is so small but palestinian people act so differently in different parts of it. for example arabs from merkaz supports israeli people and they even dressed like people in avatar movie in oder to show solidarity on purim, but conflicts in jerusalim or haifa are just disgasting...

edna@israel, Monday, February 15th


Let's point out that Jerusalem's Attorney, a leftist, has ordered the city to evict Jews from an illegally constructed dwelling. We're not seeing Ir Amim rushing to defend those would be dispossessed Jews. Some Zionist plot there!

NormanF, Tuesday, February 9th


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Home » Archives » February 2010 » Ir-Amim on Sheikh Jarrah - Language, Logic, Politics and Propaganda

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