President Shimon Peres, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon, has become the latest mainstream politician to intimate that Jerusalem must be divided.
Peres paid a condolence call this morning (Tuesday) to the family of David Shriki, a policeman who died of wounds he suffered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem earlier this month. Shriki, 20, lived with his family in Rishon LeTzion.
Peres said that there must be a separation between the Arabs of Jerusalem and the Jews, and that it must be in the form of a wall. Peres emphasized that the problem is also one of education. He said that Arab doctors are a common sight in Israel, yet Jews are not afraid to go under their knife. "This shows," Voice of Israel reported that Peres said, "that when we reach a certain level of education, the relations between the two sides change."
Teacher and Lawyer Murdered 41 Israelis Between Them
President Peres did not mention the suicide-slaughter of 21 Israelis aboard a #2 bus from the Western Wall in August 2003, which was perpetrated by a Moslem teacher and religious leader from Hevron. Nor did he mention the massacre of 20 Jews two months later in the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa commited by a female terrorist lawyer.
"Jerusalem has become a security problem of late," Peres said. "We have to make both a wall and a bridge in Jerusalem. We have to ensure separation and also let them live differently, otherwise it will be like a pressure cooker that is liable to explode. Without offering a carrot, there is no value to using a stick; sticks alone cannot educate. In the meanwhile, they are fortifying themselves, and Hamas is taking over the street, instilling fear on the Arab street in Jerusalem. It is not simple to solve this problem, and it can take time to find the right solution."
Olmert Sees Separation as the Way to Agreement With Fatah
Prime Minister Olmert told a Knesset committee the day before that living with such a large number of Arabs in the capital means more terrorist attacks - implying that the reduction of terrorism is dependent upon removing them from the city's borders. "Whoever thinks we can live with 270,000 Arabs in Jerusalem must take into account that there will be more bulldozers, more tractors, and more cars carrying out attacks," the Prime Minister said.
On Sunday of this week, Olmert's friend Vice Premier Chaim Ramon called for the detaching of eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Tzur Baher and Jabel Mukaber - homes to the two tractor/bulldozer terrorists - from Jewish Jerusalem.
Arab construction in Jerusalem flourished under Olmert's tenure as Mayor of Jerusalem, charges WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. He writes that the police and the Jerusalem municipality generally hesitated to act against illegal Arab construction, and thus left a vacuum into which the PA's Fatah stepped (Peres said it was Hamas that reigns in Jerusalem). Given Olmert's desire to conclude a peace agreement as quickly as possible with Fatah, which demands parts of Jerusalem as its own, Klein charges that the recent attacks in Jerusalem serve Olmert's purposes in encouraging a public sense that Jerusalem must be divided.
"Things are reversible," Klein concludes. "Israeli forces can go into troubled eastern Jerusalem hotspots and wipe out the terrorist infrastructure there if they so desired. Israel can allow Jews to build communities in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods that were purchased for that very purpose. Jerusalem does not need to be divided."