Israel Fails to Curb Palestinian Territorial Incursions
Illegal territorial incursions by Palestinian Arabs are pushing Jerusalem to the brink of disaster. A 2006 report sponsored by the privately funded Office for Public Inquiries for East Jerusalem showed that Jerusalem’s Arabs have constructed more than 20,000 illegal structures in the city in the last two decades. Worse still, the illegal construction has been met with virtually no opposition from a listless Israeli government.
Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor for the Jerusalem Post, recently summarized the shocking details of the 2006 report. Among the findings were details about exactly who is financing the illegal construction, where much of the construction is taking place, and the Israeli government’s impotent response.
Shocking facts one and two: financing and location. “The political aim of the illegal construction is made clear by its financing sources,” reported Glick. “Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the PA, Saudi Arabia and the EU have spent millions of dollars in financing illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, often on state and privately owned lands” (emphasis ours throughout). If the outrageous number of illegal structures built wasn’t shocking enough, consider that much of this construction has occurred on land owned by the Israeli government or Israeli citizens, and has been paid for with money provided by the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and—most astonishingly—the European Union.
Clearly these massive illegal construction ventures are not the haphazard, personal projects of a few Palestinian Arabs. The truth is, as Glick points out, great strategy and coordination has gone into planning where the illegal Arab structures should be located.
“In an effort to degrade the Jewish character of the city, for instance, Arabs have built homes on state-owned lands adjacent to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives …” (ibid.). Illegal Arab structures have been constructed at other strategic locations throughout the city, including along major traffic arteries and near airports. Illegally built, Arab-owned homes and buildings now straddle Highways 60, 1, 4 and 443 in Jerusalem, while illegal construction has “rendered the Atarot airport insecure” (ibid.).
But the most outrageous angle of this story is the sheer level of impotence Israel has shown by not responding to these Palestinian incursions. Reported Glick,
The illegal Arab construction, which has placed most neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the highway approaches to the city within rifle range of hostile gunmen, has been met with indifference by the Israeli governing bureaucracy. …
With the exception of the Netanyahu government, every Israeli government since 1993 has enabled the Arabs to undermine the state’s control of Jerusalem. While paying lip service to the city’s unity, by errors of commission and omission, Israel’s governments have failed to defend the property rights of public and private land owners in Jerusalem. They have allowed the PA, enemy states like Saudi Arabia and the EU to openly abet illegal building projects in the city.
Jerusalem is under siege. The city is not only encircled by terrorist organizations and Islamic nations on the outside, it is being systematically digested by Palestinian Arabs from the inside. The saddest part is that the Israeli government lacks the spiritual depth and mental courage to withstand these internal and external attacks. Watch Jerusalem. Every sign indicates that great turmoil is about to explode in this city.