The Web is buzzing with stories about Netanyahu’s rejection of U.S. calls to stop planned construction of housing for Jews in East Jerusalem. The NY Times’ Ethan Bronner notes that “Mr. Netanyahu issued the statement because State Department officials had raised concerns over the project with Israelâ€™s new ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, during discussions last week on a range of issues. The American officials suggested that going ahead with the development now would cause problems in negotiations toward a two-state solution.”
The project in question is a proposed 20-unit apartment complex in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, on the site of the Shepherd Hotel. The property is owned by Irving Moskowitz, an abominable American Jew who has been building Jewish housing in hostile Palestinian neighborhoods for years. Some say he is unconcerned about the impact of his housing developments on peace negotiations. That is not true. He is very concerned and wants to torpedo those negotiations. As long as we are on the subject of wanting to torpedo negotiations, it’s important to note that Moscowitz has tried and failed to get permission to build there for years. But the Israeli government granted permission a few months ago.
Meanwhile, Joseph Dana, over at Ibn Ezra, offers a compelling report of Palestinians and Israelis who demonstrated today to protest the eviction orders facing the Hanoun family, “one of 27 [Palestinian] families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood that are facing home eviction as part of a plan to establish a new Jewish settlement in the area.”
Ah, but the most fascinating and disturbing report on the Sheikh Jarrah controversy comes from Arutz Sheva, the pro-settler media outlet. It often offers news and always offers opinions that one can’t find anywhere else. It is worth following by anyone who wants to understand the settlement movement’s tortured logic (which is not quite the same as the “logic of torture,” although very close). The story gives us a quote from Israeli Science Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz, head of the Jewish Home party:
“`The American demand proves that whoever demands a freeze in Judea and Samaria will end up demanding a halt to Jewish building in a neighborhood that houses government offices. I invite American officials to visit my office in Sheikh Jarrah so that they will see Israelâ€™s sovereignty in united Jerusalem.’â€
I invite American officials to accept his invitation, and to tell him, “Your office doesn’t belong here either.”