Israel should cede Palestinian parts of Jerusalem, say 50% of Israelis
Ahmad Gharabli (AFP)
Half of the Israelis polled this week think Israel should let go of Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which it annexed after the 1967 Mideast war.
The survey was conducted by the Israeli Knesset's tv channel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested the possibility of revoking the residency status of Palestinians who reside in certain East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Netanyahu was referring to neighborhoods beyond the controversial separation barrier that Israel has built around its capital to guard against terrorist infiltration, where some 80,000 Palestinians live – and to all the neighborhoods that Israel annexed, where some 300,000 Palestinians live.
But the survey asked a sampling of adult Israelis what they think about repealing the rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians, such as welfare payments, voting in municipal elections and Israeli license plates on their cars. Some 58% said they favored the idea, while 35% said they were opposed.
Some 50% said these neighborhoods should be handed over to the Palestinian Authority, whereas 41% said Israel should not cede its sovereignty over those areas.
Asked about the option of a binational state of Jews and Arabs stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, 74% said such an entity could not provide equal rights to the Arabs and would thus not be a democratic state.
The issue of jettisoning the Palestinian neighborhoods has come up in recent weeks in light of the wave of violence that has hit Jerusalem, the West Bank and other parts of Israel. Many of the assailants were residents of the Jerusalem neighborhoods and various curfews and closures were enforced on these areas in an effort to quell the violence, generating claims that the government was, de facto, dividing the city.
Earlier this week, the Obama administration was quick to warn Israeli Netanyahu about revoking the residency of tens of thousands of East Jerusalem Palestinians.
Josh Earnest, the spokesman for the White House, said that the Israeli government is not yet actively considering this change, as far as the American government knows. However, he said that if Israel were to consider this move it would be concerning to the United States. Earnest said that given the current wave of violence, the US wants to reiterate the “importance of all sides avoiding provocative actions and rhetoric.”
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Revoke their residence status and there will be no reason to divide Jerusalem.