Poor little Israel. Things just aren’t going to plan for the plucky Jewish state. But what to do? First this:
Ambassadors from European Union states are to boycott celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Israel’s conquest of Arab East Jerusalem this week – in the opening shot of what promises to be a challenging summer for Israeli diplomacy.
The United States ambassador, Richard Jones, is also expected to join the Europeans in snubbing the celebrations .
What Israelis commemorate as the “reunification” of their historic Jewish capital is seen by most of the international community, not to mention the Palestinians, as a unilateral attempt to pre-empt a key issue in any peaceful solution. One-third of the city’s 725,000 residents are Palestinians, who have opted to reject offers of Israeli citizenship. Along with most other countries, the Europeans keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian parliament, yesterday welcomed the European boycott as a blow for international law and peace. “The Israelis,” she said, “cannot get away with creating facts on the ground and then forcing everybody to fall in line”.
Israel is facing a challenge it never expected when it captured East Jerusalem and reunited the city in the 1967 war: Each year, Jerusalem’s population is becoming more Arab and less Jewish.
For four decades, Israel has pushed to build and expand Jewish neighborhoods, while trying to restrict the growth in Arab parts of the city. Yet two trends are unchanged: Jews moving out of Jerusalem have outnumbered those moving in for 27 of the last 29 years. And the Palestinian growth rate has been high.
In a 1967 census taken shortly after the war, the population of Jerusalem was 74 percent Jewish and 26 percent Arab. Today, the city is 66 percent Jewish and 34 percent Arab, with the gap narrowing by about one percentage point a year, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
With a new study proving Israel’s “silent” ethnic cleansing of the Hebron area, what the Israeli establishment needs is a good old-fashioned re-invasion of Gaza to distract the restless masses. So guess what’s on the cards? Like a precocious child, Israel does not seem to understand that military action will not stop the never-ending resistance to Israeli occupation.