Machane Yehuda

Machane Yehuda
Senior passes graffiti in Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

14/9/11 The quiet before the storm

It's in the news; online, in the press, tv and radio. It is relatively quiet here in Jerusalem these days. The summer tourist season has wound down and people are starting or restarting their routines of school and work. The heat of summer still lingers by day but nighttime is cool - even chilly - at times. But there is an undeniable undertone to the quiet. People can't help talking about September 20th. The day that our historical cousins will ask the United Nation to confer upon them statehood status. At first glance it seems like a non-event. So the Palestinians - as the Arab inhabitants of the country of Israel refer to themselves - will have a country of their own. So what? Good for them. On closer inspection of the issue a couple of problems arise. The biggest problem is empty rhetoric. Just as a pauper who declares himself wealthy does not by merit of his declaration become rich. So to a declaration of statehood will not create the state. Is there appropriate state infrastructure? Will the Palestinians receive the services currently provided to them by Israel from this new State and will they pay taxes to fund the new state? Will the new state have a government capable of filling the water, electric, sewage, waste, educational, social, and medical requirements of its citizens? Or will Israel continue to provide these services to the new state?
The second problem, assuming that the new state does take responsibility for its citizens, is an ideological one. The Palestinian mouthpieces are adamant that the new State of Palestine occupy the land of Israel and the West Bank in what is its historical homeland. It is irrelevant to these talkers that millions of Jews live in this land. According to the espoused ideology, Jews have no right or claim to the land they currently live in. At best the Jewish minority in the newly declared state will be classified as Protectected Minorities without representation or basic rights. At worst there will be no Jews in the new state. And what of the Palestinian capitol? Will Jerusalem be again divided or will it remain as is with two governments ruling the same space? Will the Jewish population decide to walk into the Mediterranean Sea and oblige the new state with disappearing?