Shuafat. Israel's capital today has more Palestinians than Zionist Jews
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Former Minister Haim Ramon
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Politicians from most Zionist parties swear nearly every day that "Jerusalem is united. The city joined together will never be divided."
In their foolishness, ignorance and political fear, they are ignoring - knowingly or unknowingly - the known truth: The vast majority of what are called today "the East Jerusalem neighborhoods" were never part of the city in any historical era, so there is no justification for them being part of Israel's capital today.
The 28 villages were annexed to Jerusalem in a strange process after the Six-Day War. With the thrust of a loss of judgment, the Palestinians became one-quarter of "greater" Jerusalem's residents. It was, undoubtedly, one of the most foolish acts in the history of Zionism, and we have been paying a heavy, bloody price for it. Israel's capital today has more Palestinians than Zionist Jews.
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Those who sanctify the current situation are basically supporting the alleged "greater" Jerusalem, which includes Jabel Mukaber, the Shuafat refugee camp, Qalandiya, Sur Baher, Walajeh and everything between them. Today, there are more than 300,000 Palestinians living there, making up 37.5 percent of the residents of the city which has been joined together.
Even more serious is the fact that the Arabs make up 57 percent of the group of educational system ages - the ages of kindergarten, elementary school and high school in the capital. Amazing? Terrifying? Well, that's the way it is.
And if that were not enough, an overwhelming majority of these young Palestinians study according to an "updated" Palestinian curriculum, which includes, at best, clear anti-Zionist content, and in other cases, incitement and lies. Occasionally, it is fully funded by the Israeli taxpayer.
The Seam Line area between the Palestinian villages and Jewish Jerusalem has become a no man's land from a security and criminal perspective. We have recently been exposed to a horrifying number: From 2006 to 2014, there were 800 sexual assaults of Jewish girls, mostly by Palestinians. And that is only part of the expressions of violence and hostility.
The Netanyahu government is continuing to perpetuate and institutionalize the current situation. It is paying pensions and social grants, amounting to NIS 2 billion (about $520 million) a year, but is neglecting the Palestinian neighborhoods in all other areas of life, is failing to supervise the educational system and is preventing the municipality and police, and even the Border Guard and the other arms of the law, from entering these villages.
The Palestinian incitement elements are infiltrating this void, and on the margins of Netanyahu's greater Jerusalem, armed forces of the Fatah brigades, who no one has control over, are walking around, openly even.
This absurd and intolerable situation must be changed, immediately. The government must decide as soon as possible that the tragic mistake made in 1967 has to be fixed and remove most of the 28 Palestinian villages from the Israeli sovereign area and Jerusalem's municipal area, thereby returning 200,000 to 250,000 of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents to the West Bank. It's obvious that as a result, these residents will lose their entitlement to Israeli identity cards and their rights as permanent residents of Jerusalem and Israel.
The security status of these villages will be similar to the other villages near Jerusalem, like Abu Dis and al-Eizariya. A massive separation fence, a continuation of the existing separation barrier from Qalandiya to Shuafat, will be erected between them and the real historic Jerusalem, which includes West Jerusalem and the Old City, Mount Scopus, the Mount of Olives and neighborhoods like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. All the villages that will return to the West Bank will be under the responsibility of the Israeli security forces, in a similar deployment to the one in Areas C and B.
All we have to do now is to amend Basic Law: Jerusalem so that all the Palestinian villages will return to the West Bank, and Jerusalem - with a large Jewish majority and the Holy Basin within its boundaries - will be under Israeli sovereignty. That is the way to restore security for the citizens of Jerusalem and all of Israel.
Haim Ramon served as a Knesset member and minister from 1983 to 2009 on behalf of the Labor Party and Kadima.