The announcement of significant new Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem has put the spotlight on the city, but the changes it has undergone since 2000, when the parties first negotiated its fate, are far broader and have far deeper roots. Israelis, Palestinians and the international community must adjust their strategies accordingly, or Arab East Jerusalem will continue its perilous decline, with catastrophic consequences for all.
A pair of companion reports from the International Crisis Group describes how East Jerusalem has been altered in recent years, physically, but also socially, politically and emotionally. Extreme Makeover? (I): Israel’s Politics of Land and Faith in East Jerusalem, shows how the combination of Israeli settlement construction around and within East Jerusalem and increased religious activism has raised the costs of any future plan entailing partitioning the city. Extreme Makeover? (II): The Withering of Arab Jerusalem describes how Arab neighbourhoods have wasted away under occupation, disempowered and isolated from the Palestinian body politic as rarely before.
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