Gershon Baskin

From Jerusalem will come hope!

29.03.2018

Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

Jerusalem is like a mosaic with many pieces that when complete make an outstanding picture. When a piece of the mosaic is missing, the wholeness is destroyed and the focus is on what is missing.

The pieces of Jerusalem are its many peoples, ethnic groups, religions, communities, neighborhoods, cultures, traditions, smells, tastes, alleyways, churches, mosques and synagogues. Without these many pieces, Jerusalem would not be Jerusalem.

This diversity in Jerusalem is what I have always loved most about the city I have chosen to be my home, above all others. I celebrate this diversity and have worked over many years to help others to see the blessing of diversity that provides Jerusalem with the possibility of being the most special city in the world – the place that could be the global capital of understanding and peace. In modern times, Jerusalem has not come close to meeting its potential. Jerusalem has become the focal point and the core of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The more that Jerusalem is held or thought of as the possession of only one side of the conflict, the further it moves away from reaching its importance and its potential.

Nearly 40% percent of Jerusalem’s residents are Palestinians.

They have never recognized Jerusalem as a united city under Israel’s sovereignty. They consider east Jerusalem occupied territory. They have never been treated by Israel as belonging to the city and belonging in the city. The Palestinian parts of Jerusalem are the poorest parts, disadvantaged in every way imaginable, severely discriminated against in the allocation of resources and services. In the Palestinian parts of Jerusalem, there are no zoning plans, building permits are almost impossible to receive. There is an immediate need for more than 2,000 classrooms for Palestinians in Jerusalem. There are not enough social workers, opens spaces, parks, sidewalks, or any other municipal services. The only really noticeable “improvement” in municipal services for Palestinians over the past years is the number of home demolitions.

Palestinians in Jerusalem are constantly at risk of losing their “right” to live in the city under Israeli law.

Properties owned by Jews prior to 1948 and lived in by Palestinians since are being claimed by Jewish settler associations claiming to represent the pre-1948 owners, making tens of Palestinian families homeless – and that number may go into the hundreds.

Palestinian owners of properties in west Jerusalem from before 1948 do not have the equal right to reclaim their properties in Talbiyeh, Katamon, Baka, Musrara and more. Now there are even plans to remove Kafr Aqab and the Shuafat refugee camp from within the Jerusalem municipal borders, meaning the over 100,000 Palestinians living there will lose their status as Jerusalem residents.

Palestinians in Jerusalem did not ask to become Israelis. Israel conquered them in 1967 and then declared their areas under Israeli sovereignty and issued them permits to live in Israel under the Law of Entry into the State of Israel. Since then they have Jerusalem resident identity cards and they pay taxes to the Jerusalem municipality.

Because of the non-recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem, Palestinians have so far chosen not to participate in Jerusalem’s municipal elections.

The right to participate in municipal elections is not connected to citizenship and goes back to the times of the British Mandate. Palestinians have been politically invisible in Jerusalem and not only are they losing Jerusalem, the chances of creating a shared city are disappearing.

Without finding the way to share Jerusalem, there will never be peace between Israel and Palestine. Just as Jerusalem is the center of the conflict, Jerusalem is also the center of any future peace. The official position of the Palestinians is that west Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and east Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Two capitals in Jerusalem – one open, physically undivided city is the foundation of any future Israeli-Palestinian peace.

US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and failure to mention that it is also the capital of Palestine has managed to sidetrack the Palestinian leadership from the real issues in Jerusalem – the rights of the people living in the city. Trump’s recognition is insignificant – it changes nothing in reality. Trump’s declaring that he removed Jerusalem from the table is equally insignificant; without Jerusalem there is no table. The people of Jerusalem – all of the people of Jerusalem – need to focus on saving Jerusalem. Our challenge is to raise Jerusalem to meet its potential – that means inclusion, participation, celebration of diversity and standing up for each other’s rights in Jerusalem.

This year on October 30, in the Jerusalem municipal elections, for the first time in history a joint Palestinian- Israeli list will run for the city council. Although the idea of a joint Palestinian-Israeli list for Jerusalem’s city council has been with me for more than two decades, its time has now arrived. Yerushalayim-Al Quds will be headed by Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian activist, entrepreneur and peace-builder, together with myself.

We have only just begun to work and even prior to a formal launch, tens of Palestinians and Israelis have already approached us to join. It is clear that our joint list will be composed of 50% Palestinians (Aziz will lead the list) and 50% Israelis. Women will be represented equally on both sides. The list will include social and political activists from all over Jerusalem – from Jerusalem’s social and economic peripheries, religious groups, including the ultra-Orthodox.

Yerushalayim-Al Quds presents a challenge to all Jerusalemites and an opportunity to save Jerusalem.

Yerushalayim-Al Quds can be the surprise of the elections and the best thing that has happened in Jerusalem and for Jerusalem. Yerushalayim-Al Quds will create the shared Jerusalem that celebrates the diversity and recognizes each other as belonging in Jerusalem and to Jerusalem. No population group or community will be invisible anymore in Jerusalem.

This is our chance – Jerusalem’s residents – Israelis and Palestinians – Jews, Muslims and Christians, believers and non-believers, Mizrahim, Ashkenazim, ultra-Orthodox, Maqdasim (original Palestinian Jerusalemites), villagers, Hebronites, residents of the Old City, residents of Shuafat camp, all neighborhoods in the city – we can together take the fate and the future of Jerusalem in our hands. From Jerusalem will ring the bells of freedom and the message of hope! Jerusalem belongs to us all.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins www.aixpaix.de. Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier


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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin
2018

From Jerusalem will come hope!

Preventing the next war

No more slogans, we need action!

The missing Jerusalem

It still is the occupation

Beyond deterrence

Alienation

It is up to us

The past is beyond us

Existential Realities

2017

Our Jerusalem

November 29 - a national holiday

Two nation-states, two national minorities

Being Jewish

Public diplomacy

Gabbay on the road to defeat

Gaza’s geo-strategic remaking

The Americans are Coming, Again!

The next Palestinian generation

The house of God

IF I WERE THE PALESTINIAN LEADER...

The Zionist Left – Israel’s only hope

To be a free people

The Day after Independence Day

Prisoners, strikes and rights

The inevitability of peace

From Washington to Jerusalem

Eight pieces of advice to Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt

Becoming a real, effective democracy requires a real, effective opposition

Only two states – nothing else

The fatal Israeli-Gaza mistake (2)

The fatal Israeli-Gaza mistakes

The wisdom to limit our rights

Where to, Israel?

Get out of our lives already!

The authority of the Authority

2016

The state of denial

Settlements, annexation and the death of Zionism

It’s not just the economy

Encountering peace?

Building a shared society

Excuse me for asking

Secret back channels

Anti-anti-normalization

The Left is right

A moment of opportunity

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

There is no partner

2015

The partnership challenge

A new intifada?

After Abbas

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

2014

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

2013

My Conversation With Hamas

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

2012

Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?