Draft bill: Jerusalem a “Jewish priority” and “the eternal capital of Israel”

The Israel Ministerial Legislation Committee has approved a proposed bill, which will declare Jerusalem to be a “Jewish first grade national priority area”. This will in turn entail the approval of a series of laws aimed to Judaise even further the Holy City.

The bill is designed to allocate annual financial benefits to Jerusalem under the capital grant to support the educational, cultural, social, economic and industrial sectors in the city. It is all designed “to guarantee its status and development as the eternal capital [sic] of the state of Israel”.

Official sources in Israel announced that the bill, which will be put before the Knesset next Wednesday, aims to change the demography of Jerusalem by limiting the migration of Jewish youth to other cities, thus encouraging an increase in the Jewish population of the city. Such young people will be exempt from paying property tax as part of the effort to make them stay in Jerusalem. New settlement construction will begin soon to build houses for the expected increase in population.

Knesset member Uri Ariel, who initiated the bill, said, “This is the first step towards returning Jerusalem to the map of Israel.” Claiming that the policy to-date has been to “neglect and freeze Jerusalem”, he added that “hopefully this will signal a turnaround and new construction in the capital [sic].”

Fatah’s official responsible for Jerusalem, Hatem Abdel Qader, said that this bill has to be viewed in the context of a series of Israeli government decisions and legislation aimed at consolidating the occupation of the city and its Judaisation. This process includes imposing a set of circumstances that can change the city’s future status, including the demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.

 

Middle East Monitor

27 October 2010

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