Once again, The Jews have sparked international outrage — this time by buying homes in Arab neighborhoods.
I am continuously baffled by the reaction of so many, including the current U.S. President, to the idea of Jews living in areas “the Palestinians claim for an independent state,” but who are not the least bit troubled by Arabs living in Israel proper.
In fact, were someone to even suggest an Arab-free Israel, the international hysterical gnashing of teeth would be loud enough to wake the dead Jewish Patriarchs buried all over that area.
Yet everyone seems entirely comfortable with a Jew-free “Palestine,” as if this is the only rational way for this to go. I don’t get it.
So today, Associated Press reported that some Jewish men “moved under the cover of darkness, slipping into apartments” in the Silwan area of east Jerusalem, “œin the middle of the night and changing the locks.”
In the morning, “Arab residents of Silwan found” these young Jewish men “hunkered down inside 25 apartment units,” in what the reporter described as “the biggest settler takeover since Jews began buying up properties in the volatile area two decades ago.”
So, these Jewish people bought a building in an Arab neighborhood and they felt the need to sneak in in the middle of the night, arm themselves and “hunker down” to defend their lives from their new neighbors. Yet the reporting suggests the Jews are in the wrong for legally buying housing and moving in.
This attitude only seems to make sense in the Jim Crow south, or Nazi-occupied Europe. I can think of nowhere else where some people are outspokenly and violently unwelcome in certain neighborhoods because of their religion or ethnicity.
Actually, that’s not strictly true. That kind of in-you-face Antisemitism is the status quo in most Muslim countries and is becoming increasingly common all over Europe — at least wherever there are large Muslim communities. And it seems like Muslim communities only come in the large-and-growing variety.
And somehow, these Jews buying apartments in a neighborhood hostile to their presence because they’re Jews “has sparked yet another spat between Israel and the U.S.,” AP reports.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned the occupation of the properties “by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” the story says.
So, to recap, Jews buying and moving into apartments in certain areas is considered “occupation,” while Arabs buying and moving into apartments in Israel, is considered perfectly natural.
According to the story, the problem everyone is having this time, is that the apartments were bought by an organization that has “settled hundreds of Jews amid an Arab population estimated at about 30,000 in an area it calls the City of David, where Jewish tradition holds King David established Jerusalem as Judaism’s central holy city.”
So, I guess, it’s the fact that these Jews are reminders of the actual, ancient Jewish history of the area that bothers everybody. It’s not as though these Jews are threatening to blow anyone up, as is the wont of some of their neighbors.
It’s because, the AP reporter says, “the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sensitive holy sites, as the capital of a future independent state.”
That’s worth noting.
East Jerusalem is home to the sensitive holy sites for Jews and Christians, who have both been allowed, along with Muslims, access to them under Israeli rule. This was not the case when the Muslims had control before Israel wrested their traditional Holy City from them in 1967, in a war they did not start, but did finish, decisively, in just six days.
Despite the fact that Jerusalem has been cared for and open to all since its liberation, “the international community, including the U.S., does not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem,” the way they recognize Jordan’s annexation of most of what the U.N. meant to be the Palestinian Arab portion of the original two-state solution several decades ago, and which no one ever suggests be carved into at least part of a Palestinian state.
Forced to admit that “Jerusalem’s Arabs,” are “free to live wherever they want,” the reporter hastens to add that they “say they often encounter resistance or discrimination when trying to buy or rent properties in Jewish areas.”
This, I guess, is the closest the reporter could come to some sort of parity: The Arabs often encounter resistance in Jewish neighborhoods, while the Jews encounter international condemnation and armed resistance in Arab neighborhoods.
The story notes that real estate transactions involving Jews buying properties from Arabs often must be cloaked in secrecy, much like sales of homes to Jews and Blacks in “white” U.S. neighborhoods once were. If you’ve never seen the film Gentlemen’s Agreement, go rent it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Even this reporter notes that most of the reason for the cloak-and-dagger way these transactions are done is necessary to keep not just the buyers, but also the sellers from suffering some sort of violence at the hands of Arabs who don’t what “that type” moving into their neighborhoods.
About 500 Jews live in the area, and the newly purchased homes will allow for 200 more, according to the story.
“Until residents move in, the properties are occupied by police officers, private security guards, and young volunteers packing pistols,” AP reports. “An ad on a Facebook page for religious Jewish army veterans offered 500 shekels ($140) a day to anyone willing to sit in the properties.”
The reporter describes how Israeli police officers “disappeared down a narrow concrete alleyway, bringing a box of supplies deep into the Arab neighborhood to a second-floor apartment,” and how the “Israelis peered out from windows they enveloped in wire mesh, and would not open the door to visitors.”
The reporter also describes the reaction of a young woman whose family had owned the building, when “accused” by neighbors of selling to the wrong kind of people.
“Are you crazy?” she reportedly retorted. “How would my father sell to Jews?”
Am I the only one who sees a problem here?
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