As American and European governments push the Palestinians to stay engaged in yet another round of peace talks, the Israeli government continues to not only condone but promote expansion by Jewish hardliners into East Jerusalem – the city widely recognized as the capital of the Palestinian territory.
In recent weeks, groups of Israeli Jews have insisted on ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, a sacred site controlled for centuries by Muslims. Dozens of Palestinians, including Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Hassan and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Husseini were assaulted and injured by Israeli police when they attempted to protect the city’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem also continue to expand, unchecked by the re-start of the peace talks that would supposedly curtail their growth. In fact, in late August, it was reported that the Finance Committee of the Jerusalem City Council had approved a new budget that included 1,500 units for Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. Likewise, also in August, bulldozers leveled Palestinian land in the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur to make way for construction of an Israeli national park.
Israeli bad faith in East Jerusalem is nothing new. Numerous third-party reports have documented Israel’s long, unbroken track record in this regard. Consider these findings:In East Jerusalem and its environs, 2011 was recorded as the year of the greatest expansion of Israeli settlements since 1967. The Israeli policy of severing political, economic and social links between the West Bank and East Jerusalem caused a serious deterioration in Palestinian living conditions.
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