In a front page story on the eve of President Obama’s visit to Israel, NYT Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren writes that a small number of Jews buying apartments in predominantly Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods is “complicating” the Jerusalem issue.
Rudoren admits that these apartments are privately financed and not part of an Israeli government initiative. So should people really be prohibited from buying apartments based on the sole fact that they are Jewish?
Although she has several references to how the area fell under Israeli control in the 1967 war, she fails to give the historical context to that event. Many neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem’s Old City had significant Jewish residents who were killed or expelled from the area in 1948. (As you can see in this HR Video, Jerusalem: The Media Myth of Two Cities.) What the Palestinians call a “conquest” of Jerusalem is looked upon by many Israelis as a “liberation” and “reunification.” After all, in its 3,000 year history, the city was only divided for 19 years while under Jordanian control.
Yet Rudoren deliberately leaves out anything that doesn’t fit her narrative. Two direct quotations from Palestinian Authority officials tell readers about the “colonization” of the area. She cites unnamed “experts” agreeing that the city must eventually be divided as if this was a consensus opinion. But if anything, there is significant opposition within Israel for dividing Jerusalem, especially where historically Jewish areas are concerned.
At the very end of the article, there is one quotation from a Palestinian that put the whole issue into a different light:
They think that this is their place and this is their land, but this is not the case. We are here and we are staying here, but they won’t. There are people here who won’t let them.
Palestinian intolerance is what “complicates” the Jerusalem issue, not a few Jewish families buying apartments overlooking the Old City.