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Ramat Shlomo Photo: AFP
Ramat Shlomo Photo: AFP
 
 

Stop the yelling

Op-ed: Only way to quell constant criticism from abroad is to continue building in Jerusalem

Hagai Segal
Published: 12.24.12, 20:05 / Israel Opinion

For the first time since the debate regarding construction in Jerusalem began, it appears that those who are against the timing of the new building plans have a moral advantage. The timing really is problematic this time.

 

The Likud government is preparing to build in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood mainly because elections are just around the corner. During the entire 18th Knesset the government blocked all construction there; it was in no rush, and suddenly it can't do without it. Once every four years the government is more afraid of the Israeli voter than it is of President Obama.

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The Israeli voter is unequivocally in favor of Jerusalem. A new poll conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs indicates that the center, not only the right, supports a united Jerusalem. Two-thirds of Israelis who vote for centrist parties prefer a united Jerusalem over a peace agreement, the survey showed. While they did not go out and demonstrate when construction in Ramat Shlomo was frozen due to heavy American pressure - because centrists always prefer watching TV over protesting - they are not intimidated by the current criticism leveled against Israel by the international community over the renewed construction in the neighborhood.

 

It is a shame that Netanyahu was afraid to conduct these arguments over Jerusalem when Joe Biden was visiting. Now he repeatedly mentions that all Israeli governments built in the capital, but he does not explain why he stopped. Freezing construction in Jerusalem was a major failure. It taught Europe, the US and Abbas that with a little yelling they can cause us to stop building, not only in Alon Moreh, but in Jerusalem as well.

 

The only way to make them stop yelling is to continue building in Jerusalem. It will be difficult at first, but it will become much easier later. Washington, Paris and even Ramallah will understand that there is no point in arguing with us about Jerusalem, because as far as we are concerned, the capital transcends any argument. There is an overwhelming majority here against dividing Jerusalem, and it remains unfazed by the ruckus abroad. When it hears the yelling it blocks out the noise with ear plugs and hops on a bulldozer.

 

 

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