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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dividing Jerusalem, Solidifying Occupation

Dividing Jerusalem, Solidifying Occupation

by Daniel Seidemann
This weekend was the 49th anniversary of Jerusalem’s “reunification.” This anniversary comes in the context of a popular uprising in the city unlike any since 1967. Although “Jerusalem-the-eternal-undivided-capital-of-Israel” was never more than a hollow myth, 49 years post-“unification” the city is physically divided by walls of mutual fear and hatred, buttressed by violence and mistrust, as never before.
For protracted periods since 1967, the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem was a disease in remission. That occupation is now metastasizing and increasingly indistinguishable from that of the West Bank. Not citizens of Israel, Jerusalem’s Palestinians form a society in limbo—permanently disenfranchised and politically disempowered, part of neither Israel nor the Occupied Palestinian territories.
Once a barely tolerated minority, the Palestinian collective in East Jerusalem is today often viewed by official Israel as “the enemy.” Collective punishment, which was once episodic, has become increasingly systemic. Always limited, today governmental and municipal services have all but collapsed for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live within the city limits but beyond the separation barrier.

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