Both the U.S. and Israeli governments are run by racist demagogues who simultaneously deny an occupation exists while doing all they can to perpetuate it.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat believes that East Jerusalem Palestinians are “satisfied” with the move of the U.S. Embassy to their city. Speaking to Israeli news website Ynet on Sunday, as the Israeli side of Jerusalem was preparing for a mass celebration in honor of the transfer, Barkat suggested that deep down, Palestinians understood that having the embassy on their doorstep would improve their quality of life.
Barkat’s reasoning is, on the one hand, simply a variation on the racist idea that colonialism betters the lives of the natives. It’s also in keeping with his previous reflections on demographic tensions in Jerusalem: he’s both declined to attend the city’s annual Pride parade out of deference to his ultra-Orthodox constituents (a year after a haredi man murdered a parade attendee and wounded five others), and announced that collective punishment of Palestinians is the key to coexistence.
Yet claiming that Palestinians might welcome the embassy transfer, which effectively marks the U.S.’s rubber-stamping of Israel’s half-century occupation in East Jerusalem, is also a consummate example of hasbara logic. Nearly three-quarters of Palestinian Jerusalemites — who make up nearly 40 percent of the city’s population — live below the poverty line, compared to just under 30 percent of Jewish Jerusalemites. Israeli authorities demolished over 170 Palestinian homes and other structures in the city last year. In 2013, the last year such data was published, the Jerusalem municipality allotted only 10 percent of its budget to Palestinian neighborhoods. Forty percent of Palestinian households in East Jerusalem are not properly connected to the water grid.
This state of affairs is in large part due to the Israeli government’s chronic underinvestment in the Palestinian parts of the city (or, rather, underinvestment in infrastructure that would benefit Palestinians: earlier this month, for example, the state approved NIS 47 million over two years for archaeological excavations in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan — projects being run by a private, right-wing settler organization).
Nonetheless, Barkat is prepared to announce that he has looked into the hearts of Palestinians, and seen that they are pleased with a move that gives legitimacy to the discrimination they encounter on their own land, that will erase them further from the face of their own city, and that will bring even...Read More