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Israel's Jerusalem Master Plan 2020


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 16 December 2010

Israel's Jerusalem Master Plan 2020 - by Stephen Lendman

A November 10 Qatar News Agency article headlined, "Israel Plans to Rebuild Old Jerusalem - Palestinian Official," saying:

Attorney Ahmed Al-Ruwaidi, "responsible for the Jerusalem unit in the Palestinian Authority (PA), said Israel plan(s) to build new settlement homes in old Jerusalem where the ancient walls of the city will be overshadowed by modern bridges, synagogues and gardens spreading from the Arab neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah to Wdi Al Joze and Suwaneh."

The scheme involves home demolitions, dispossessions, and new settlement construction to solidify "the capital and spiritual center of Israel and the Jewish people (by creating) a world city which attracts the souls of millions of believers across the globe."

Projects completed so far are part of the plan, to completely transform Jerusalem's Old City, Al-Ruwaidi adding:

"All the settlement projects in Jerusalem during the past three years, some of which have been practically implemented, fall under the (plan's) framework, including a decision to erect a thousand new settlement units in Jebel Abu Ghunaim aimed at completing the isolation of the city with a wall of settlements."

"Israel announced previously it will build 50,000 new units in the city. The implementation of 20,000 of (them) has been initiated practically under projects that have been approved from time to time for political objectives linked to political and international action."

So far, 20,000 Palestinian housing units face demolition, to accommodate new settlements, Old City excavation projects, and other Jews only development. As a result, Palestinians will be dispossessed and excluded.

East Jerusalem Home Demolitions

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) tracks them as they happen, its East Jerusalem data showing that:

"Since 1967, around 2,000 homes have been demolished," 670 from 2000 - 2008 with about 20,000 outstanding demolition orders.

Currently, Palestinians comprise about one-third of the city's population, confined to 7% of its land "in mostly inadequate housing." Prior Israeli master plans aimed at maintaining a 70 - 30% split favoring Jews, a policy to widen going forward.

Already, discriminatory measures exist, including encircling densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods by "green space" or "unzoned land" where building is prohibited. Applications to rezone, increase density, or build in small areas designated for residential construction are denied. As a result, new housing can't accommodate Palestinian population increases.

Moreover, their public services are restricted, including for education, healthcare, and vital infrastructure needs for roads, sewage and water connections. East Jerusalem Palestinians contribute around 40% of city taxes, yet get 8% of Municipal spending in return.

Since 1967, Jewish settlements have proliferated in East Jerusalem, to expand its Jewish character, and one day Judaize the entire city as Israel's exclusive capital. "Settlements built on the (city's) outskirts....also dissect the continuity between the northern and southern West Bank, jeopardizing the feasibility of a future Palestinian State."

East Jerusalem Palestinians hold city IDs, revokable for anyone residing outside its boundaries or assuming another citizenship, even temporarily. As second class residents, their rights keep eroding, including to their own homes.

From 1967 - 2003, 90,000 Jewish housing units were completed, most with government subsidies. "None were built for Palestinians with public funding." Israel's Master Plan 2020, discussed below, "purports to plan for the long term fate of East Jerusalem, yet it has been prepared with no consultation of any kind with the Palestinian community." Why? Because exclusion is eventually planned, though not explicitly stated in 2020's language.

Under international law, however, settlement construction is illegal. So are home demolitions, Fourth Geneva prohibiting "any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons," except when "absolutely necessary by military operations." Forced displacement is also banned, yet Israel continues it relentlessly, a discriminatory policy to delegitimize the Palestinian presence in the city as well as claim it as their rightful capital.

Israel's Jerusalem Master Plan 2020

Titled, "Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel's Capital: Jerusalem's Proposed Master Plan," it stresses assuring a Jewish majority, continuing Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's judicial writ that:

"We must bring Jews to eastern Jerusalem at any cost. We must settle tens of thousands of Jews in a brief time. Jews will agree to settle in eastern Jerusalem even in shacks. We cannot await the construction of orderly neighborhoods. The essential thing is that Jews will be there."

As a result, after the 1967 Six Day War, 70,000 dunams were annexed to the north, south, and east of the old municipal boundaries. The plan was to control large areas "with a minimal Arab population and to prevent the possibility of the city's partition in the future." Thus, Jewish settlements proliferated and keep growing, Palestinians displaced to accommodate them.

Previous master plans called for accelerated Jewish population growth. It's still current policy, new settlement construction continuing to accommodate it. The latest plan calls for expanding Jewish neighborhoods, saying expropriating Arab land isn't "plausible" as in the past, when, in fact, that's precisely what's happening through tens of thousands of new housing units, ones for Jews only on Palestinian land.

According to Khalil Tofakji, head of the Arab Studies Society in Occupied East Jerusalem's Mapping Department: between now and 2020, Israel will complete its "Judaism plan."

Mustafa Barghouti, an MP and Palestinian National Initiative's Secretary General, said plans are underway to "impose a new reality on the ground," around $1.5 billion allocated this year alone to Judaize the city. Besides settlement expansions and new ones, projects include a $500 million light rail line, luxury hotels, synagogues, commercial and other development - on expropriated Palestinian land.

Barghouti said Israel is doing to East Jerusalem "what they did in Jaffa, Haifa and Acre, (incrementally) taking (it) over (to) then declare their demands" - total Judaization.

Despite softer Master Plan 2020 language, at issue is increasing Jewish presence in the city, dispossessing Palestinians to accommodate them. Jamal Juma, head of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, says that:

Israelis "are occupying the Palestinian houses inside the old town, which was historically divided to four quarters, Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish. (They're) slowly infiltrating the other quarters (as well by) taking over Palestinian properties."

A Final Comment

A previous article explained that Jerusalem is politically important for Jews as its historic capital, national and religious center, and symbol of Judaism's revival and prominence. For Christians, it's where Jesus lived and died, and for Muslims it's their third holiest site (the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca's Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.

Israel, however, transformed Jerusalem from a multi-cultural, multi-religious city into a predominantly Jewish one toward eventually Judaizing it entirely. For decades, incremental progress continued. The goal remained constant, to establish irreversible "facts on the ground," making Jerusalem Israel's capital with an exclusive Jewish presence, despite Palestinians rightfully claiming it for their own.

Therein lies the heart of the conflict, along with ending the occupation, achieving peace and self-determination, as well as granting Palestinian refugees their right to return. Justice will be denied until those issues are equitably resolved, what so far is nowhere in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Tags

"Video: Tears of Gaza (Trailer)" (2:24 and 7:06)
by Vibeke Løkkeberg, Dec. 14, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72898

There are two video clips in this.

(snip)

In a rough style, by way of unique footage, the brutal consequences of modern wars are exposed. The film also depicts the ability of women and children to handle their everyday life after a dramatic war experience. Many of them live in tents or in ruins without walls or roofs. They are all in need of money, food, water and electricity. Others have lost family members, or are left with seriously injured children. Can war solve conflicts or create peace? The film follows three children through the war and the period after the ceasefire.

(snip)

The director, Vibeke Løkkeberg, about the film

Witnessing the maiming and killing of children in a war, without being able to do anything about it, is a great challenge.
The short glimpses of children's faces displayed on my TV set, after they had lived through the war, was my motivation for making Tears of Gaza. A protest against all wars grew inside me. ...

Vibeke Løkkeberg (b. 1945) has become one of Norway's most well-known personalities and leading feminist artists; as actor, director, screenwriter and author. She ahs directed five featues and written five novels. She has starred in her own films as well as films by Pål Løkkeberg.

(snip)

The shorter clip's contents are shown in the longer clip and based on the clips, this clearly is an excellent and very important documentary film that is to be put at or near the very top of "purchase next" lists.

"Apartheid Israel-style
Law to keep Jews and Arabs apart
"

by Jonathan Cook, Dec. 15, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72910

He's a British journalist who's been living in Nazareth for over a decade, I believe that long anyway, and his Web site is www.jkcook.net, btw.

The pretty two-storey home with a red-tiled roof built by Adel and Iman Kaadan looks no different from the rows of other houses in Katzir, a small hilltop community in northern Israel close to the West Bank.

But, unlike the other residents of Katzir, the Kaadans moved into their dream home this month only after a 12-year battle through the Israeli courts.

The small victory for the Kaadans, who belong to Israel's Palestinian Arab minority, dealt a big blow to a state policy that for decades has reserved most of the country's land for Jews.

Katzir is one of 695 so-called "co-operative associations", communities mostly established since Israel's creation in 1948, whose chief purpose is to bar non-Jews from residency.

In October, the Israeli parliament moved to enshrine in law the right of these associations, comprising nearly 70 per cent of all communities in Israel, to accept only Jews.

The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a private members' bill that will uphold the right of the communities' admissions committees to continue excluding Arab citizens, who make up one-fifth of the population. The bill is expected to pass its final reading in the coming weeks.

(snip)

"Church leaders from Palestine tell the Irish…
No such thing as justice in the Holy Land
"

by Stuart Littlewood, Dec. 14, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72889

This is good news in terms of illustrating good activism and the testimony of the three Palestinian Christian church leaders' testimony about the [very] good relations between Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Palestine, and the solidarity they have together.

"We need only one thing, to be protected by the world against the crimes of Israel"

We are not here as politicians, they said. We come as representatives of the various churches in Jerusalem.

But the trio from the Holy Land showed they were more than a match for western politicians who fancy they know all about the Middle East.

Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Greek Orthodox Church), Monsignor Manuel Musallam (Latin Catholic) and Mr Constantine Dabbagh (Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches) are courageous human rights defenders and spiritual leaders from Palestine. They have just completed a tour of Ireland to raise awareness of the situation in their homeland under Israeli military occupation and the plight of the dwindling Christian community there.

"We need only one thing, to be protected by the world against the crimes of Israel," was their central message.

The week-long visit was arranged by SADAKA, the Ireland Palestine Alliance http://www.sadaka.ie/, and part funded by Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and Christian Aid.

After delivering a special Christmas greeting from the Holy Land to the President and the people of Ireland, the Palestinian church leaders were able to establish a mutual understanding with President Mary McAleese that peace is more than an absence of violence – "the only lasting peace is a just peace".

During their visit the churchmen described the Israeli occupation as the "crucifixion of the nation of Palestine," and made a plea to all of Ireland’s leaders to "act and intervene, or nothing will change".

(snip)

I've never read or heard of the organization called Christian Aid being really good, but it seems to have done something good in helping to arrange for the trip of these three Palestinian church leaders to and around Ireland.

Here's one of their messages that Zionist "Christians" in the US should heed.

The document declares that the military occupation of Palestine "is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings".

"Israel constructing giant refugee camp in Negev desert"
by Jean Shaoul, wsws.org, Dec. 14, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72899

Israel’s government is to build a detention centre to hold up to 10,000 refugees who arrive every year, until their asylum requests have been rejected and they can be expelled.

The vast majority of the migrants have fled from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries in the Horn of Africa such as Darfur in the Sudan, and Eritrea, via Egypt. Many have been persecuted, abused or tortured.

The detention centre is to be built at or near the site of a former prison camp for Palestinians in the southern Negev desert, near Israel’s border with Egypt. It will be run by the prison service, and detainees will not be allowed to work. People could languish in the refugee camp for an extended period, even years, without work or education. It is in violation of the 1951 United Nations convention on refugees, to which Israel is a signatory and which states that the country the refugee arrives in is responsible for his or her welfare, health and rights. These rights include freedom of movement, access to documents and the right to work.

Israel has not introduced asylum legislation, because it would mean absorbing tens of thousands of non-Jewish refugees — threatening "the Jewish character of the state" on which Zionist policy is based. It would lead to renewed demands for the right to return of Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were forced from their homes in the wars of 1948 and 1967. Thus, all regulations regarding migrant workers and refugees are at the discretion of the minister of the interior, Eli Yishai, head of the ultra-orthodox Shas party.

(snip)

Israel views only a few of the 35,000 Africans who have entered Israel over the past few years as refugees, while the vast majority are considered to be illegal economic migrants. More than 10,000 are said by the government to have entered this year in the search for work, and the monthly rate has increased threefold since the start of 2010.

(snip)

The announcement raised a storm of protest from aid groups. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel and the Hotline for Migrant Workers issued a statement saying, "In light of the harsh conditions under which asylum-seekers are being held in Ketziot Prison, with small children being held in crowded tents with their mothers without proper conditions, it is unclear how Israel can establish a much larger facility without it immediately becoming a humanitarian disaster."

(snip)

The cabinet’s decision to build the detention centre follows just one week after work started on a barrier along 140 kilometres of Israel’s 250-kilometre border with Egypt, equipped with advanced surveillance devices to stop people crossing from the Sinai desert in Egypt into Israel. One part will run south from Gaza for about 30 miles, while a second part will run north from Taba near the Red Sea. The barrier is expected to take over a year to complete at a cost of about US$370 million. The government is also proposing to fine employers who hire illegal migrants.

The declared purpose of the barrier is to prevent African migrant workers and asylum-seekers from entering Israel from Egypt. But Netanyahu made clear that, like other security measures, it is intended to tighten the noose on the Gazan masses and deny them access to essential supplies. The barrier would prevent Islamic militants and smugglers from crossing the border, he declared. Military forces will patrol the barrier, and eventually the full length of the border will be sealed.

(snip)

Nearly 10 percent Israel’s workforce is made up of 250,000 migrant workers, mostly from the Philippines, Thailand and China. They typically work in agriculture, nursing and construction, for low wages, and are subject to horrific exploitation. The government views more than half of them as illegal.

Israel’s dependency on foreign and low-paid labour began after the 1993 Oslo Accords opened up regional trade and investment, and its corporations moved factories abroad. Liberalisation, free-market policies and declining agricultural subsidies spelt the end of Israel’s policy of working the land and its kibbutzim. The turn to migrant labour enabled it to compete in unprotected markets. Since then, more than 1 million have come to work in Israel, ending its dependency on cheap Palestinian workers and causing a drastic decline in living conditions in the Occupied Territories.

(snip)

"Hypocrisy Gone Nuclear
Israel, Obama and the Bomb
"

by Conn Hallinan, Counterpunch, Dec. 15, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72913

This past July, a nuclear-armed nation, in violation of an international treaty, clandestinely agreed to supply uranium to a known proliferator of nuclear weapons. China and North Korea? No, the United States and Israel.

In a July 8 article entitled "Report: Secret Document Affirms U.S. Israeli Nuclear Partnership," the Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that the Obama Administration will begin transferring nuclear fuel to Israel in order to build up Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile.

(snip)

This past May, researcher Sasha Polakow-Suransky uncovered declassified South African documents indicating that in 1975 the Israeli government offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime. Israeli officials apparently tried to block the declassification of the documents, but failed.

According to the British Guardian, then Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres — currently president — negotiated with Pretoria to supply South Africa with nuclear warheads for Israel’s Jericho missile. Peres dismissed Polakow-Suransky’s book — "The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa" — as having "no basis in reality for the claims."

But according to Allister Sparks in Business Day (South Africa), the Israeli offer "to sell nuclear warheads to SA during apartheid is almost certainly correct—despite denials by key figures in both countries." Sparks should know, because he was told what was in that box of tea by the Rand Mail’s lead investigative reporter, Marvyn Rees.

(snip)

Apparently the Israelis also supplied South Africa with tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that enhances the explosive power of nuclear weapons.

(snip)

Jump ahead four years to Sept. 22, 1979, when an American Vela 6911 satellite, designed to detect atmospheric nuclear tests, is streaking over the South Atlantic. At 53 minutes after midnight Greenwich Mean Time, near South Africa’s Prince Edward Island, it picked up the double flash of a nuclear weapon detonation. ...

(snip)

The Carter Administration tried to cover up the test, but, according to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in "The Samson Option," the explosion was a joint Israeli-South African low-yield "neutron" bomb.

The key to the test was the trigger in the tea box. According to Sparks, South Africa knew how to make a nuclear weapon, but only of the "gun" variety, the same design as the Hiroshima bomb. ...

For a small warhead or a neutron bomb, you need a "trigger," a finely engineered explosive device that wraps around a uranium core. ...

The Israelis were willing to exchange a trigger for something they needed: uranium yellowcake, the raw material for making weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

According to declassified documents uncovered by Polakow-Suransky, Israel also saw South Africa as an ally. ...

(snip)

The U.S. media has focused on the warhead charge, while ignoring the far more destabilizing proliferation issue. ...

Israel refuses to sign the NPT — indeed, refuses to admit it has nuclear weapons at all — thus making it ineligible to buy uranium on the world market. Article I of the Treaty explicitly forbids supplying nuclear material to a non-signatory country, which in the case of Israel makes the U.S. in violation of the NPT.

But in Washington’s efforts to line up allies against China, the U.S. has agreed to supply fuel for India’s nuclear power industry, even though India also refuses to sign the NPT. In theory, the U.S. uranium is only supposed to fuel India’s civilian sector, but in practice it will allow India to redirect all of its modest domestic uranium supplies to weapons systems. Pakistan’s request for a similar deal was rebuffed. Thus the U.S. has put aside its treaty obligations in the interests of pursuing allies in the Middle East and Asia.

(snip)

I did a search for the Haaretz article since it isn't linked in the above one by Conn Hallinan and found the following one.

"Report: Secret document affirms U.S.-Israel nuclear partnership
According to Army Radio, the U.S. has reportedly pledged to sell Israel materials used to produce electricity, as well as nuclear technology and other supplies"

by Haaretz Service, Barak Ravid and Reuters, July 7, 2010

www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-secret-document-affirms-u-...

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