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Kiblawi Reports from Middle Easternville

16. July 2004 • Ari Paul
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Fadi Kiblawi, the U-M alum who was arrested last month by Israeli troops for taking part in a protest against Israel’s illegal seperation wall in the West Bank, has just published an essay about his travels in the Palestine Chronicle.

Writes Kiblawi:

Al-Ayzariyah has perhaps one of the more disturbing constructions of the wall. On my way to Jerusalem, I took the route through this Palestinian community. Bear in mind, Al-Ayzariyah falls within Israel’s Jerusalem Municipal borders and its residents pay taxes to the Jerusalem Municipality. The main road, eerily void of cars, is brusquely interrupted by concrete eight meters in height and endless in width. To the right, houses, and to the left, a mosque; all practically one with the invasive eyesore. Al-Ayzariyah is entirely cut off from Jerusalem, while Ma’ale Adumim, a Jewish settlement further away to the east, enjoys unfettered access. The single possible rationale of this portion is to further disjoin Palestinians from their capital in Israel’s heinous attempts to Judaize Jerusalem through a process of depopulating it of its native Arabs.



  1. While Fadi’s criticisms of the wall are certainly valid, I take issue with the statement ” attempts to Judaize Jerusalem.” It’s offsensive.

    I mean, Jerusalem doesn’t need to be “Judaized.” It was culturally a Jewish city for thousands of years. I’m not trying to diminish the importance of the Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem, but to describe Jerusalem in such a manner is not only offensive, it neglects the 4,000+ years of Jewish history in the city, which no doubt includes the massacring, plundering, and expulsion of the Jews by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, and British.

    The history of Jerusalem is, in many ways, a history of Judaism itself. To describe it in this way trivializes the history in a very elitist way.
       —Jared Goldberg    Jul. 16 '04 - 06:07PM    #
  2. Jared,
    “Judaize” not in the cultural or historical, but in the demographic sense. In that sense, this is a common phrase to describe Israel’s exclusion of and concerted effort to remove Palestinians from the city, while at the same time readjusting its municipal borders to include as many settlements thus Jews as possible.
    Think things through before submitting hasty and unsound criticisms.
       —Reader    Jul. 17 '04 - 10:57AM    #
  3. It wasn’t unsound. In addition to it’s cultural history, Jews were a majority in the city from around 1870 to 1948. After the War of Independence, the city’s demographics changed around significantly as both Jews and Arabs were expelled/moved around etc. He describes it as if Jews have no place in Jerusalem and that Israelis are turning a classically “non-Jewish” area into a “Jewish” one.

    I’m not trying to defend the wall or it’s route nor am I trying to criticize Fadi’s observation on it. All I’m saying is that his description of it is a little offensive and insensitive.
       —Jared Goldberg    Jul. 19 '04 - 06:50AM    #
  4. “He describes it as if Jews have no place in Jerusalem and that Israelis are turning a classically “non-Jewish” area into a “Jewish” one.”

    Jared, that’s just not true. Nowhere in the article is that said, nor should be inferred. It is clear that all that’s said is Israel’s policies in East Jerusalem are expressly intent on Judaizing the city demographically. That’s a fact, very little disagreement about that. There’s nothing insensitive or offensive about this statement, nor does that translate into “Jews have no place in Jerusalem,” so stop with this spurious line of argument. I advise you read up a little bit on the subject before you post again. Amir Cheshin, former Israeli army colonel and adviser to Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollack, has written extensively on the matter. Google him as a start.
       —R    Jul. 20 '04 - 01:01AM    #
  5. Reader, your objections are duly noted.

    And since when were you, or anyone else for that matter, given the right to determine what I found offensive or insensitive?

    I understand what you mean about changing demographics, but considering that the current stance on Jerusalem vis-a-vis neogitations between the two parties is to divide the city (East Jerusalem going to the Palestinians, West Jerusalem to Israel) saying things like “Judaizing” don’t feel right to me.

    Arab parts of the city would become the capital of Palestine and Jewish parts would remain in Israel. That’s not changing the demographics; that’s actually what will probably happen, realistically speaking. You can Google the Geneva Accords and read what it says about this.

    All I am saying is there are better ways to criticize the construction of the wall in Jerusalem. When you describe it as “Judaizing” or “Palestinianizing” parts of the city, there is an air of racism, in effect if not intent.

    Nothing but love, though . . .
       —Jared Goldberg    Jul. 20 '04 - 03:21PM    #
  6. Stating that Israel is “Judaizing” Israel is racist in intent or effect?... now that’s just a foolish accusation, you know that. It makes no sense. Not to mention, it cheapens racism when any statement of fact you find adverse to your beliefs you label as such. Take my advice, read up a bit. One suggestion, “Separate and Unequal,” Amir Cheshin, Bill Hutman, and Avi Melamed
       —R    Jul. 21 '04 - 12:34AM    #