The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem
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Cheshin and Melamed, onetime aides to former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, and Hutman, formerly of the Jerusalem Post, offer a scathing exposÇ of persistent Israeli discriminatory practices against Jerusalem Arabs. Beginning in 1967, immediately after the Six Day War, Israel attempted to present to itself and to the world a portrait of a “united Jerusalem.” Israel’s eloquent spokesman, Abba Eban, then described Jerusalem to the United Nations as a city of “harmonious civic union.” Yet, at the same time, thousands of Israelis began to build housing on land expropriated from the East Jerusalem Arabs, with little regard for their concerns. While Mayor Kollek paid lip service to Arab demands for improved services, his priorities, state the authors, “were the same as those of other Israeli leaders to increase the Jewish presence in all parts of the city as fast as possible, while doing for the Arab residents only what was necessary to keep them placated.” The housing situation became so difficult for Jerusalem Arabs that many of them left for the “suburbs” in the West Bank, only to find themselves cut off from their families in Jerusalem. When the Intifada began to impact the city, the Israelis tried to downplay its violence, attributing the clashes and injuries to a few unruly teenagers. Kollek continued to believe that he could “buy peace and quiet in east Jerusalem by improving services and carrying out public work projects to make the Arabs feel they are being treated fairly.” But the Intifada was a nationalist explosion that the authors tie to years of Israeli inequality regarding basic health, education, and welfare services of its Arab inhabitants. While the book can seem a little shrill at times, the point is well made that Israel could do more for at least those East Jerusalem Arabs who who don—t openly oppose the state, and there is much here that informs the debate on Israel’s ground zero. (4 maps)

Pub Date: May 10th, 1999
ISBN: 0-674-80136-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harvard Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1999


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