Friday, August 27, 2010
In the centre of the Israeli occupied east Jerusalem there is a multi storey building name Beit Yonatan. This building houses the headquarters of a Jewish company called Ateret Cohanim, which helps Jews buy apartments and houses from the Arabs. This is illustrative of the highly religious tensions that permeate the land in and around Jerusalem that was occupied in 1967. Indeed, the Palestinians that sell often have to move city or leave the country because they are considered as traitors.
This is, in a way, part of the problem of settlement. The state is desperately trying to make the area around Beit Yonatan more Jewish, so a community can be started. But they are going about it in the wrong way – paying off the original residents is not legitimate, and there is no wonder that the Palestinians see sellers as traitors. Indeed, the Palestinians that refuse the payoff are staying as a matter of faith and religion, and feel threatened by the emerging Jewish community. However, many Israeli’s argue that Jewish settlers going to live in the heart of Palestinian communities are trouble makers, and retard efforts to bring peace to Jerusalem.
Effectively, this is just another instance which reminds us it is impossible to have peace in Jerusalem when both sides believe it is their birthright, and while companies like Ateret Cohanim continue to subvert the peace process.