Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jerusalem land grab - Sheikh Jarrah

Join me on a short geography tour that may clear up some confusion among Americans about what is going on in Jerusalem these days.

Just below is a map of the Jerusalem area, my color-modified excerpt from the excellent B'Tselem map of the settlements. The light blue area, with the label West Jerusalem, is the extent of Israel prior to the 1967 war. Everything else - not blue - was under the control of Jordan and is part of what we call the West Bank, the homeland of the Palestinians that remained after Israel was created in 1948. Only the blue area shown here is recognized by the international community as part of Israel. Everything else is occupied territory. The line that defines Israel is called the green line. The map covers about 15 miles east to west

Now let's move to the present with the same map centered on Jerusalem seen below. This version is full color, but note the light blue area of Israel at left remains as before. Look at how the West Bank has turned blue! All of the dark and light blue areas there are Israeli settlements, either urban (darkest blue) or simply under settlement "jurisdiction" (very light blue), all in occupied territory. Red marks Israeli military areas.

This is a land grab, but only a fraction of it as you are viewing only a small part of the West Bank. You can see the squeeze on the Palestinians (brown areas) is on. The illegal settlements are closing in on east Jerusalem from the north, east and south, deliberately, to force out the Palestinians, disconnect Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and establish it as a Jewish city. It is already claimed by Israel as its capitol, another assertion that the world doesn't recognize. The United States has taken no action to impede this occupation/eviction. This process is known as establishing "facts on the ground".

Now let's move in closer to a Palestinian neighborhood known as Sheikh Jarrah (shake jar-AH), identified with the arrow to the white X on the map below. Notice that it is right on the green line in East Jerusalem - a prime location for evicting Israeli settlers to target. And they are doing so with full force, aided by the Israeli courts, the police and, unwitting Americans who don't know this is going on even as Congress obediently "stands by Israel" under the influence of the Israel lobby.

Palestinian residents, living in Sheikh Jarrah since 1948 after being evicted once from their original homes in what is now Israel, are being evicted again. Quite a few Israelis are justifiably outraged as they see a mockery made of the rule of law and the role of the police. I hope you are stimulated to find out more now that you see the geography of the situation. People are being beaten and taken to jail over this, attempting to defend the human rights that Jews have been known to uphold throughout history. Why do we in America not lift a finger to support them?

Go to Sheikh Jarrah to find out more, complete with videos of demonstrations and a full explanation in both Hebrew and English. It's an outrage that you can do something about.

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