The fire next time: After latest Gaza war, Jerusalem remains a spark for conflict
As the latest cease-fire continues to hold, competing claims to Jerusalem by Israel and Palestinians will likely fuel new fighting, both sides say.
The city became majority Latino years ago, but power is still largely in the hands of Black politicians.Palestinians and their supporters attribute the latest outbreak of fighting in large measure to a concerted push by increasingly emboldened Jewish settlers, backed by legal mechanisms and the weight of the Israeli state, to change the demographics of Jerusalem — a process they liken to an ever-tightening belt of displacement.
“Dispossession is central to the Palestinian struggle, and Jerusalem is a microcosm of that,” said Tareq Baconi, a researcher with the International Crisis Group.Proponents of “judaizing” the city believe that the Palestinian share of the city’s population — around 40% of its nearly 1 million inhabitants — is incompatible with millennia of Jewish history and tradition. To ensure Jewish primacy, they want to see that shrink, and the Jewish share grow.
“My goal is one: to bring Jews back to the Jewish homeland and the Jewish capital,” said Aryeh King, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor and a prominent settler leader. Anyone else is welcome to live in the city, he said — “as long as they accept that this is our holy place.” headtopics.com
In a years-long push that plays out daily, settler groups areestablishing footholdsin crowded, predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods such as Silwan, set in a steep valley southeast of the Old City, and Sheikh Jarrah, a short distance to the north of the old walls, where the prospective eviction of Palestinian families helped fuel the fighting that broke out May 10.
AdvertisementIn both neighborhoods, Jewish newcomers hoist giant Israeli flags over fortified ramshackle buildings only feet or inches from Palestinian neighbors. Ugly clashes routinely erupt, with Israeli police intervening, often forcefully, on settlers’ behalf. At night, a huge blue Star of David glows over Silwan.
“Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?” the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish asked in a still-apt verse titled “In Jerusalem.” The poem ends with the speaker’s shouted encounter with an Israeli soldier.Tensions over the city prompted a warning last week from the visiting U.S. secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, who told Israeli officials that confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinians in and near holy sites in the Old City, coupled with looming evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, could set off a new round of conflict.
The U.S. message, according to Israeli officials familiar with the talks, was received with irritation by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.AdvertisementEarly in the latest spasm of fighting between Israel and Hamas, both sides made clear Jerusalem’s central role in the conflict, which saw the militants fire thousands of rockets at Israeli towns and cities. headtopics.com
Most of the Hamas-launched projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, but the fighting briefly paralyzed bustling Tel Aviv, the country’s commercial capital, and in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes meant to decimate the command structure of Hamas left whole city blocks in ruins. The Palestinian dead included more than 60 children.
Before the fighting began, Hamas demanded an end to what it called Israeli provocations in and near the Old City’s Aqsa mosque compound, which was raided by Israeli police during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.Israel’s bombardment of Gaza began hours after Palestinian militants’ opening salvos on May 10 took rare aim at Jerusalem, and the Israeli military operation was code-named “Guardian of the Walls.” Hamas, which governs Gaza, called its own campaign “Sword of Jerusalem.”
AdvertisementBy explicitly linking its rocket attacks to Israeli actions in Jerusalem, Hamas sought to position itself — not the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank’s governing entity, which is internationally recognized but scorned by many Palestinians — as the protector of the city’s Muslim holy sites, and by extension, of larger Palestinian interests.
Though focused on Jerusalem, the conflict did little to alter the parameters of the intimate, close-quarters struggle waged in and near the Old City.“What was resolved by this fighting? Absolutely nothing,” said Dahoud Ghoul, a 37-year-old Palestinian from Silwan whose family is battling in court to prevent Jewish settlers from taking over a plot of family land. headtopics.com
In the meantime, he said, he despairs.Advertisement“All my dreams are here, but while there is this theft occurring, they are only dreams,” he said.At the same time, Jewish activists vowed to redouble efforts to win unfettered access to the raised plateau in the Old City that Jews revere as the Temple Mount and Muslims venerate as Haram al Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, the third-holiest site in Islam.
“Why should Hamas fire rockets at Israel because a couple hundred Jews are walking around on the Temple Mount?” said Yisrael Medad, a U.S.-born Jewish activist. On the status of both the sacred plateau and the city as a whole, he said bluntly: “We can never agree.”
For all that can appear constant and unchanging in Jerusalem — the curve of an ancient stone arch, the gnarled roots of an olive tree — the cycle of conquest has gone on for centuries. “The city has been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again,” the late Israeli literary giant Amos Oz wrote in his 2004 memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
Advertisement“Conqueror after conqueror has come, ruled for a while, left behind a few walls and towers, some cracks in the stone, a handful of potsherds and documents, and disappeared,” Oz wrote.But despite its timeless quality, the struggle for Jerusalem is rooted in specific aspects of Israeli law, which negates Palestinian rights to property owned before the 1948 Mideast war that led to Israel’s creation. At the same time, Jewish ownership of property that was Jewish before 1948 is protected — something that Palestinians say is a cause of corrosive inequity.
Yasser Barakat, a venerable Palestinian antiquities seller in the Old City, pulled out a book with intricate architectural drawings of one of his family’s homes in a lush Jewish neighborhood in West Jerusalem. There is no hope of ever reclaiming it, he said – but what rankles more for him is newcomers who cite prewar claims of their own in Palestinian neighborhoods.
“They say, ‘God promised me this,’” he said. “They only take, and take, and take.”AdvertisementBernard Avishai, a Jewish Canadian-born academic and author who is a close friend of Barakat, said he feared for the Jerusalem they both love. In the aftermath of the latest fighting, he likened the city to a volcano “ready to blow.”
Some longtime observers of the conflict, though, consider Jerusalem a source of not only peril, but opportunity.Eliezer Yaari, a native of the city who was one of Israel’s best-known television broadcasters before devoting himself to civil-society work and writing, is among those who picture Jerusalem as an eventual entity somewhat akin to the Vatican, with protocols meant to protect the rights of all religious faiths.Read more: Los Angeles Times »
Jeff Bezos' spaceflight: Live updates
Jeff Bezos will fly to space today on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. Follow here for live updates.
I meant Palestine, not Palestinian. I wish they would just leave the Palestinian people alone. The Israeli government should pull completely out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Make that the country of Palestinian. Maybe that would begin the healing process. condemn Russia’s efforts to harass and intimidate Crimean Tatar leaders, including the May 24 request by prosecutors for a nine-year prison sentence in the in-absentia trial of Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov.
You would think after 50 years they would have found a solution to this problem good
Nate Silvester, fired TikTok cop, says he is 'latest target of cancel culture'Former Bellevue Deputy Marshal Nate Silvester said 'none' of his other TikTok videos in uniform 'mattered' until his post mocking LeBron James.
In Texas, the most conservative legislative session in a generation is wrapping upYes to guns, no to abortion and critical race theory (and please don’t mention the power blackout) | United States The onslaught of legistlative priorities from both sides of the aisle is difficult enough for reporters and politicians to keep up with , let alone everyday Texans . Or not.
Here's What to Watch on Disney Plus This MonthWhether it's a Marvel spinoff you crave or the latest Star Wars series, Disney Plus has something for you in June.
The sexual misconduct allegations rocking L.A.’s largest LGBTQ theater companyA prominent figure in L.A.’s theater scene, Michael A. Shepperd has been an outspoken advocate for social justice. But in interviews with The Times, two men present a different portrait of him, accusing Shepperd of sexual misconduct. He denies the claims The men also allege Celebration, L.A.’s largest LGBTQ theater, mishandled complaints about Shepperd’s behavior and ultimately chose to keep him in his leadership position until this week — when the theater fired him after an internal investigation thanks
The Funniest Tweets From Parents This Week'I pointed out a fire truck to my coworker on our drive, and I think I need to spend less time with my children.' Blippi Thanks for including me (and the 3rd grader)! 😄😄😄🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂🤣🤣😄😄😄😃
Life might feel more certain this summer, but betting on a calm stock market still could go wrongThe next couple of months could easily see more volatility in markets, as more people take time off starting this Memorial Day weekend, potentially... wow The stock market may not stay calm. But, you should. Looking forward to seeing if “sell in May and go away” pans out this year.