let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth—1 John 3:18
Two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said during Jerusalem Day: “next year in a more built up Jerusalem,” improving on an old Jewish prayer. It was such an unusual saying that against my usual policy, I quoted him in Jerusalem’s Holocaust Day. His words became a self-fulfilling Pygmalion Prophecy. In Jerusalem Day 2013, Netanyahu inaugurated several projects which are crucial for the annexation of East Jerusalem.
In the last two years, Israel increased its rate of construction in Jerusalem, especially of high-profile projects. Invariably, they were fairly faithful to a certain unwritten rule dating back to US President Carter attempts to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. The rule can be summarized as “Jewish areas to Israel, Palestinian areas to Palestine.” It implies the fixing of the border according to the situation on the ground.
It worked for a while, but Israel started a de facto annexation of East Jerusalem, first by creating Jewish settlements within this densely populated Palestinian area and then connecting them with special roads to West Jerusalem. Palestinians cannot access these roads.
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Two projects that took place since them showed that Israel had changed policy without announcing it. In mid-November 2011, the municipality began constructing a main road connecting the city’s northeastern neighborhoods, namely Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaakov, Anatot, Shoafat, and Beit Hanina, with Jerusalem’s main traffic artery, Menachem Begin Boulevard (see New Road Annexes East Jerusalem to Israel). Shoafat and Beit Hanina are populated by Palestinians and are part of East Jerusalem.
Anatot is the headquarters location of the Defensive Shield Operation events described in The Cross of Bethlehem. Road 443 is part of “Jerusalem’s Second Corridor,” the second path connecting the city with Tel Aviv. This is an attempt by the Israeli administration to break the country’s jugular vein, the traumatic Highway 1, which was scene of a major IDF defeat in the 1948 War.
In parallel, the strategic railway to Jerusalem reached a critical step, its main tunnels, ending in a nuclear shelter below Jerusalem are almost finished (German Machine, Russian Workers and Israel’s Largest Nuclear Shelter). Finally, in Christmas 2012, Israel gave a Christmas gift of hatred by splitting a Christian-Palestinian village with a new section of Highway 60. Yet, all these projects could be interpreted as implementations of Carter’s guideline.
As part of the celebrations of Jerusalem Day 2013, Netanyahu inaugurated on May 5, the Benzion Netanyahu’s Interchange and Road 20 in northern Jerusalem (see map below). It was the final stage of the project started in 2011, connecting central Jerusalem with Road 443, creating the Second Corridor. This came shortly after Road 4 in the southern area of the city was completed. These two roads signal a change in Israel’s policy towards Jerusalem.
Compared to the other projects, these two short roads look innocent unless you look carefully at the map. I apologize for its being in Hebrew; yet, understanding the issue is simple. Blue areas are populated by Jews; orange areas by Palestinians. The green spot at the center is the Old City; the grey area shows the municipality’s lands, which includes areas conquered in 1967 and thus are forbidden by international law to Israeli settlement*.
The new roads split Palestinian areas. Colonel Shaul Arieli, from the Peace and Security Council, said after Netanyahu inaugurated the road that until now the different Israeli governments had kept the option of a future division of the city between Israel and Palestine. From now onwards, this would be much harder since Israel is breaking the divide line between Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods.
Jerusalem Day is the most sacred day of Israeli ultra-nationalists. That’s the day kept for special inaugurations. That’s the day to force new meanings on old prayers. These actions by the Zionist leaders diffuse downwards into street violence. On May 9, 2013 Jerusalem Day, hundreds of Jews gathered in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, home to no less polemic Hurva Synagogue (Hurva: Ruin of Jerusalem) and chanted: “Death to Arabs.” Mr. Netanyahu, may I ask where do you plan to place Israel’s first concentration camp?
———*Unlawfulness in the West Bank has various layers. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. The international community considers Israeli settlements a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory. Thus, they are illegal under international law. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them.
This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of West Bank settlements are in between these definitions; they are considered illegal by the entire world, but legal by the Israeli government. However, sometimes they are considered unlawful even by the Israeli government. The status of Jerusalem was formalized with the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel. The world opposed this law; UN Security Council Resolution 478, adopted by fourteen votes to none, with the abstention of the United States of America, declared that the law was “null and void” and “must be rescinded.” Israel ignored it.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.