A PANORAMIC view of east Jerusalem. / (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Arieh King reads the “Jerusalem” clauses in the Trump plan, and discovers a tragedy that is being played down.
Included in the “Deal of the Century” plan of the president of the United States, is a plan for the future of Jerusalem. Public attention is less focused on this issue, but when Arieh King, deputy mayor of Jerusalem studies US President Donald Trump’s outline of his plan for the capital of Israel, he is shocked.
According to the plan, the neighborhoods of Shuafat, Kafr Akab, Anata and environs will be designated as the capital of the Palestinian state, which is being planned. King views the concept of delivering these areas as the first stage of a moral – and conceptual – collapse. He totally rejects the argument, often put forward, “We are not there anyway,” adding “We are also not in Umm el-Fahm – but when we want to be there, we are there! Whoever talks about moving any borders of Jerusalem is on a slippery downward slope which will subsequently lead to discussions involving the surrender of more and more territory.”
In his remarks, King emphasizes that this involves handing over sovereign areas of the State of Israel and the political significance is to permit, and consent, to the opening of negotiations relating to anywhere in the country, including the Galilee or the Negev.
“Remember that Likud, and Netanyahu, were initially elected under the slogan ‘Peres will divide Jerusalem.’ It is now becoming clear that the Likud delivered Sinai, Likud supported and participated in the expulsion from Gush Katif and parts of Samaria – today, Likud is already dividing Jerusalem.”
He details the security implications of the decision to deliver these eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods to Arab sovereignty: “Whereas in Gaza, the distance between houses in Gaza and Jewish homes is a mile or a half to Nahal Oz, Erez and Kissufim, the reality involving the distance between Neveh Ya’acov, a neighborhood of 25,000 residents and the first home in what would be a Palestinian state is fifty meters. The distance between Eliyahu Meridor Street in Pisgat Ze’ev, with its 150,000 residents, and the neighboring Arab houses in what would be called a ‘Palestinian State,’ is just 120 meters. “Today, when there is a shooting in the air, or ‘fireworks,’ the police handle the situation. However, in the event of an independent Palestinian state, the police or the army cannot enter, because such an entry is actually a ‘declaration’ of war.”
KING REFERRED to his conversations with politicians from various parties when he revealed this simple data to them. “I talked to 12 supporters of this program, politicians from different parties, and not one single person was aware of these facts. They just refused to believe me. I was told I was a ‘demagogue’ at which point I told them to open their maps and see the facts for themselves. After checking out the facts they realized I was right, but what do they do? Nothing. They remain silent or, at best, say ‘We will not reach that stage.’ I remember those same words at the time of Oslo when they said, ‘We we will not reach Jericho and Abu Dis’ – but in the end we did!”
Is it possible that those who draw out the maps do not know the realities of the landscape? King presents examples in which he himself was involved in proving that this is indeed the case and that sometimes the agenda blurs reality:
“Two months ago, a message was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office to the Jerusalem Municipality that, due to the novel coronavirus and a concern that the illness could erupt in those areas that were not under Israeli scrutiny, Arabs were not to enter the neighborhoods beyond the fence into Jerusalem. The mayor of Jerusalem updated us on the subject and I asked him, ‘What are they talking about? What outbreak? There is no outbreak.’ But the mayor claimed that these were the instructions of the National Security Council. Two months passed and it turned out to be nonsense. In the presence of a few other people I asked the mayor, “This is our National Security Council? How can they prevent a citizen of Israel, with a blue identity card, who lives in Kafr Akab from entering? They obviously do not know their maps, for if the National Security Council did know their maps they would know that, the same Arab who lived in Kafr Akab, can drive, in his car, to Adam, to Beit El or to Ma’aleh Adumim through Hizma, throgh Azun or through any other crossing. With all due respect, they just don’t know what they’re talking about!”
KING REMEMBERS: “In 2000, while Barak was talking about dividing Jerusalem at Camp David. I was called to a meeting together with Matti Dan, the head of the General Security Services and others at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. We went up to the suite while Barak was at Camp David talking about Jerusalem. Also present was the IDF regional commander. I asked him if he knew what it was about. He scolded me for questioning him saying that he was the regional commander – and he knew everything. I asked him how they travel from the Knesset to Abu Dis, which they were discussing at the time. He knew nothing! The problem with the ‘right wing’ is that they regard anything from the military as sacred and indisputable. But these military men are politicians who have been ‘brainwashed’ throughout their military journey, without which, they would not have advanced. With a few exceptions, they have an agenda, and without the agenda involving ‘handing over land,’ they would have gone nowhere. We rely upon them to know what they’re talking about – but they don’t know. When they speak about a Palestinian State fifty meters from Neveh Ya’acov they know the significance as they know what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the Gaza envelope. But they do not say anything to the politicians as it does not fit the ‘Land for Peace’ agenda.” King says, adding: “In the Shuafat Refugee Camp and in Anata there are weapons that are plainly on view. They shoot at each other and they shoot in the air. That’s the way it is today, in Jerusalem under Israeli control. And when the Palestinians rule under the power of a state… ?
I know what will happen. Pisgat Ze’ev will empty out, as will French Hill and Neveh Ya’acov. The neighborhoods will be deserted as people will not stay there.”
He recalls the days of shooting into Gilo from Beit Jala, just 500-800 meters away – when it was not a state. “When it is a state you cannot call in the Duvdevan army unit or the police.”
Arieh King – who has for many years been fighting for the settlement of Jews in all parts of the city – has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a number of occasions and says directly and emphatically: “That’s Bibi. For the last twenty five years Netanyahu has been a danger to Jerusalem and its residents. I have been saying this about Bibi since 1997. From his very beginning he was against Jewish presence in East Jerusalem and all he did was either through lack of choice, or by lying. On Jerusalem Day I was in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, and Bibi announced that we have started building in Givat Hamatos. It’s a lie. A week and a half before the election, he announced that he had issued tenders for Givat Hamatos.” Which tenders? There are no tenders. But the public believes him and he is the head of the right-wing camp.
There are a slew of politicians on the right who are far better than he is. As we face difficult decisions, it is imperative that every one of us remains informed and aware of the repercussions that can result from the “Deal of a Century” – as it stands at present.
The writer is the editor of the sovereignty journal, Ribonut. He also writes for Israel National News/Arutz 7