The Judaization of Jerusalem - Israeli Policies Since 1967

Hodgkins's study shows that successive Israeli governments have set out with all determination to implement the Jewish vision of Jerusalem as the "eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish state." With the latest Israeli measures in East Jerusalem, the opening of the Hasmonean tunnel, the closing down of Palestinian institutions and the decision to start the construction of a new settlement, the book is more acute than ever. Hodgkins gives a thorough analysis of Israeli politics on Jerusalem, its goals, mechanisms and effects, and supports her arguments with many empirical facts as well as interviews with Israeli and Palestinian officials and activists. Hodgkins first analyzes the evolution of Israeli policy on Jerusalem under the successive Israeli governments from Eshkol to Netanyahu on the national level as well as on the municipal level, where policies on Jerusalem have mainly been developed and enacted. The next chapter deals with the destruction of Jerusalem's geographic identity through the means of land control, land confiscation, the blocking of Palestinian development and settlement construction. The third chapter covers the mechanisms of establishing demographic superiority by encouraging Jewish immigration and attacking Palestinian residency rights, while the fourth chapter is dedicated to the analysis of the purpose and practice of legitimizing Israeli sovereignty over the city. The book includes an appendix with maps, statistics and important documents on the issue.

Dec. 1, 1996


Last September, Israel, under cover of darkness and armed guard, opened the second entrance to the Hasmonean tunnel. In doing so, they directly undermined the sanctity of both Moslem (the Haram al Sharif) and Christian (the Via Dolorosa) holy sites in the city. When the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the international community appealed to the Likud government to reseal the tunnel's new entrance, the new right wing government flatly refused. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to have compared the request to close the tunnel with a request to the American government to dismantle the Washington monument. Revealed in the Prime Minister's remarks is the underlying Israeli perception of Jerusalem as an exclusively Israeli-Jewish city. According to this perception, Israeli sovereignty in the city and the sole right of Israel to make decisions about the city's future are be-yond question. Although the Prime Minister's remarks give the impression that this perceived right extends from time immemorial, Israel's current stranglehold over the holy city has been the result of a carefully planned and scrupulously enacted Israeli policy to secure exclusive control in Jerusalem.

Since 1967, Israel's objectives in Jerusalem have been to establish irreversible and exclusive control over the holy city. Policy decisions were made on the city's futu-re in the aftermath of the 1967 war which have been systematically pursued over the last twenty-nine years.

On the national and municipal level, Israeli policy ma-kers have consistently sought to implement strategies which would ensure Israel's physical domination of the city while minimizing dissent from within and from ab-road. Policies have been developed and implemented in order for Israel to create geographic integrity and demographic superiority in favor of a Jewish Jerusalem. Concomitant with their actions on the ground, Israel has run a pervasive public relations campaign design-ed to secure national and international legitimacy for both their practices in East Jerusalem and their sole so-vereignty over the whole of the city. They have succee-ded in altering the geographic and demographic lay-out of the city and made tremendous strides in promo- ting their actions as a legitimate part of the democratic governing of the city. The acceleration of Israeli actions since the signing of the Oslo accords, and particularly since the election of Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate that the Israeli government considers the issue of Jeru-salem closed. Furthermore, the dearth of public protest and the ease with which the general public accepts the conversion of East Jerusalem into exclusively Jewish developments indicate that the Israeli government has been successful in legitimizing their actions, at least at home. If current Israel plans are brought to fruition, the final status of Jerusalem will have been settled long be-fore the Palestinians arrive at the negotiating table.