May
11
2009

'Tensions' and 'History' in Jerusalem

The New York Times' Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner (5/9/09) wrote about the Israeli government's development planin Jerusalem–a "$100 million, multiyear development plan in some of the most significant religious and national heritage sites just outside the walled Old City here as part of an effort to strengthen the status of Jerusalem as its capital."

According to the Times report, this will involvetearing down some Palestinian homes around the city, while at the same time cleaning up other areas and putting up "new signs and displays that point out significant points of Jewish history."

Bronner and Kershner explain the different reactions to these moves:

The parts of the city that are being developed were captured in the 1967 Middle East war, but their annexation by Israel was never recognized abroad.

At the same time, there is a battle for historical legitimacy. As part of the effort, archaeologists are finding indisputable evidence of ancient Jewish life here. Yet Palestinian officials and institutions tend to dismiss the finds as part of an effort to build a Zionist history here.

In other words, while the Israeli narrative that guides the government plan focuses largely– although not exclusively–on Jewish history and links to the land, the Palestinian narrative heightens tensions, pushing the Israelis into a greater confrontational stance.

Well, those Palestinians are always angry about something.

Apparentlytearing down buildings is focusing on "history," while downplaying archeology is "heightening tensions." Good to know.

(h/t Angry Arab)

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.