Poll: Division of Jerusalem and Jerusalem Arabs

January 13, 2011

jerusalem-map-neighborhoodsEasily one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli-Arab conflict at large is the status of Jerusalem. The city is holy to three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is claimed by at least two national movements to be its capital, Israel and the Palestinians. Designated as an international territory by the 1947 UN Partition plan, divided in 1948-1949 between Israeli and Jordanian control, and reunified and expanded after Israeli capture of the Jordanian-occupied east in 1967, Jerusalem has remained a strategic and political football. Today the whole of the city is officially claimed by Israel to be its united, eternal capital.

This position has been overwhelmingly popular with the Israeli public since 1967, contrary to a real reticence to formally annex most other captured territories like Sinai, Gaza, or the West Bank. Unlike the Arab residents of these territories, the Arab population of East Jerusalem were also offered Israeli citizenship soon after annexation, although this was almost universally rejected. This is generally taken to be indicative of both the high costs Israelis are willing to pay to preserve a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and the fervent design of Jerusalem Arabs to be a part of a sovereign Palestinian state. A recent poll of Jerusalem Arabs has thrown this consensus into question.

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Polls: Israeli Public Opinion on the Golan and Syria

January 6, 2011

With the breakdown of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the decision of the Israeli government not to renew a West Bank building freeze, and the PA to seek unilateral recognition of statehood in Latin America, things are not looking good (as usual) for the Middle East peace process. Yet, for better or for worse, there is an attitude among Israeli political elites and the international community at large that even if the prospects for peace are abysmal, negotiations must continue.

Now that the Israeli-Palestinian peace track is again deadlocked, some in Israel and, more prominently, the American administration have begun looking again across the northern border to Syria. Both Israel and the United States have an interest in delinking the Assad regime from its alliance with Iran and their continued open support of Hamas and Hezbollah. In apparently secret contacts between the US government and Damascus, Syria has expressed a willingness to do just this. The price tag, they have consistently argued, is a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

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Poll: Israeli Public Opinion on West Bank Withdrawal

December 28, 2010

inssFor today’s post, I am drawing information from reports written for the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), which incorporates the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. The INSS releases monthly reports on a number of issues including Israeli public opinion on national security issues, Israeli national security, and Middle East military affairs in general. Among the more interesting of the public opinion polling data they have released regards Israeli attitudes to territorial withdrawal in the West Bank.

Although reports on Israeli security attitudes were published by the INSS from the mid-1980s, data on Israeli support for withdrawal from specific areas of the West Bank began in 1994 and have continued through 2009. The four areas originally included in the reports were Gush Etzion, the Jordan Valley, Western Samaria, and East Jerusalem. In 2001, the language regarding East Jerusalem was changed to the “Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.” In 2005, questions were included about the Temple Mount and Eastern Samaria, and, in 2009, a question was added about Hebron.

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Geneva Initiative Border Tour

October 7, 2010


Today I joined some 40 foreign nationals for a tour put on by the Geneva Initiative illustrating the group’s proposed territorial partition of the West Bank and Jerusalem. The tour was led by former head of the “Peace Administration” under PM Ehud Barak, Col (Res.) Shaul Arieli, who also serves as the initiative’s chief cartographer.

The focus of the tour was on two issues where the initiative directs much of its attention: Land swaps in the West Bank and the partition of Jerusalem. For Jerusalem, they sought to highlight the differences between terms like the sacred or historic basin, the Old City, East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Envelope, and so on. As for the larger question of the West Bank, Arieli emphasized the differences between the official Palestinian demands generally understood to be in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 242, and the Israeli position which takes into account facts on the ground, namely the reality of Jewish settlement.

Much of this post will follow specific geographic details for which a map would be quite useful. I suggest opening up a copy of the Geneva Initiative’s proposed map by clicking on the image above or here for a full selection of detailed maps. Enjoy following along.

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