Tensions Rise in East Jerusalem

  • Tensions between Israel and Jordan are creating additional tensions in East Jerusalem.
  • The gate has closed at the Isle of Peace Park as border lands are to return to Jordan.
  • Clashes erupted Saturday night between Israel police and residents of the East Jerusalem community of Isawiya.

East Jerusalem and the West Bank was once part of Jordan. In November of 1988 Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Palestine. A year after signing the Oslo accords the Palestinian National Authority was established to govern areas A and B in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1979 through the Camp David Accords Jordan ceded its claim to the West Bank. During the negotiations of the Oslo Accord the PLO recognized the right of Israel to exist and Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Jordan border crossing has been closed.

Today relations between Israel and Jordan are colder than ever. Security cooperation is in good shape but trade is declining, diplomatic relations are frosty, and the retaking of the Isle of Peace symbolizes ties under growing strain.

The gate has closed at the Isle of Peace Park as border lands are to return to Jordan. On Saturday Israel soldiers closed the gate to the Isle of Peace along the Jordanian border. Hundreds of visitors took farewell tours at Naharayim in the Jordan Valley along with Tzofar in the Southern Arava region is to be closed off to Israelis.

In the 1994 peace agreement Israel was allowed to retain use of enclaves for 25 years with the understanding that the lease would be renewed as a matter of routine. In October King Abdullah notified Israel that he wants to take the sites back. However Jordan has agreed to an extension covering the farming region at Tzofar.  There are crops that Israelis planted that will need to be reimbursed if they are forced to surrender the leased territories.

Israel soldiers close border crossing.

Residents of East Jerusalem maintain a dual connection with Jordan their mother country and with Palestine. Tensions between Israel and Jordan may be creating new tensions in East Jerusalem.  Clashes erupted Saturday night between Israel police and residents of the East Jerusalem community of Isawiya following an arrest of one of their residents.

Recent disturbances included the throwing of Molotov cocktails and stones at Israel police. Israel police responded with riot dispersal measures. The Arabs claim that Israel police are merciless and that they come into their neighborhoods and bock roads without any reason. They even enter houses, conduct searches, and arrest people who are released several hours later. Their schools were closed down for three days in opposition to Israel aggression following the arrest of a student while he was in a class.

Controlling the emotions on both sides is difficult hampering negotiating together to calm the environment. Israel police claim that enforcement actions over the last few months have resulted in a significant decline in the number of attacks of civilians along the East Jerusalem main highways.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites. www.progressivejewishspirituality.net
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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