“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Farewell from Shimon Peres
- 38 Milliard Dollars Military Aid
- Obama’s last weeks as President of the USA
- Selection of Articles
1. Farewell from Shimon Peres
Comment: End of an era – The many faces of Shimon Peres
(…) That was Peres to the end – a patriot, someone enormously proud of the country’s accomplishments, someone always trying to promote the state. (…) After so many years, and so much doing, there is something in Peres’ bio for almost every Israeli to grab onto. Don’t like his role in setting up the Labor Party settlements after the Six Day War, then focus on his push for peace with Yasser Arafat. Don’t like his push for peace with Arafat, then focus on his signature role in establishing Israel’s nuclear deterrence. Don’t like his signature role in establishing Israel’s nuclear deterrence, then focus on his part in slaying galloping inflation and forging an economic revival in the 1980s. There is enough Peres for everyone (…), few people in the country’s history have done more to anchor Israel as a firm reality – not a passing episode – than Peres. (…) it will take time to adjust to an Israel without Peres. For much of the world, moreover, Israel was Peres. Or, rather, Peres was the world’s ideal Israel; the Israel of their dreams and imaginations. (…) Abroad he represented all the values the world loved most about the Jewish state: He seemed eternally young, he built his country with his own hands, he turned from hawk to dove. Peres was tough, stood his own ground when needed, but kept his hand extended in peace, even while no one was taking his hand or – worse — were bending and twisting his fingers backward. (…)
Herb Keinon, JPO, 28.09.16
Optimism and a lifetime of service
(…) in the 68th year of its independence, Israel experienced the loss of its own last founding father. Shimon Peres was the last statesman who had been a force in Israeli life from independence in 1948 through all of its wars and all of its peace treaties, and served as Israel’s president until 2014. (…) Peres was 93, and until the last year his vitality was astonishing. (…) Peres was Israel’s greatest hero: Its generals and its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, vie for that honor. Nor was he its greatest prime minister or political leader. (…) He reveled in high-tech, not in nostalgia. He was fascinated by nanotechnology, for example, and it was hard to have a meal with him without hearing him speak of the newest frontiers of Israeli technology. He greatly preferred talking about coming decades to reminiscing about earlier ones. Perhaps that is what keep him young into his 10th decade. Israelis will miss him — for his optimism, for his lifetime of service, and for this symbolic passing of their founding generation.
Elliot Abrams, IHY, 30.09.16
What can we learn from Shimon Peres?
(…)What then can average citizens learn from Shimon Peres? (…) the hallmark of a great man and leader is not the major decisions that influence international and national politics. Rather, it is the care, love and sensitivity displayed toward individuals. (…) this leader, who cared about each and every person in his state and demonstrated his love for them. If there was anyone who had a basis to feel above and superior to others it was Shimon Peres. (…) he truly cared for everyone, and never conducted himself in a way which prevented him from connecting and expressing this love and care. Certainly we, who are not among the founding fathers of Israel and do not have international acclaim, can make sure that we love and care for all of our fellow citizens, and think about their welfare regardless of their background or lifestyle. As we mourn the loss of this great leader, may we all be inspired to internalize this quality of Shimon Peres. If we do so, our country will become even greater than how he left it.
Dov Lipman, TOI, 29.09.16
From wonder boy to national icon
(…) The periods of revolving doors in which Peres changed ministerial position and plotted political ploys, he nonetheless brought Israel acclaim abroad, and quite often created dissension within, whether in his own party, the Labor Alignment or in the government. (…) The great change in Shimon Peres came after Yitzhak Rabin was murdered and as the diplomatic road and search for peace eventually led to a dead-end. Peres made the transition from politician to statesman. (…) Shimon Peres, consummate in all he did, awaits that biographer who will combine fine-combed truth with full justice to this complex man who evolved from wonder boy to national and international icon. (…)
Avraham Avi-Hai, JPO, 29.09.16
Peres’s legacy is a nation
Few world leaders can claim a presence at the moment of their country’s birth, but Shimon Peres could, and it was this remarkable beginning that infused his long subsequent career with such depth and wisdom. (…) A man who had not merely served as head of the Defense Ministry, but oversaw the very creation of his nation’s armed forces. (…) Peres’s ability to serve in so many different capacities over the course of so many different decades under so many different administrations (…) was a testament to his ability to transcend the myopic world of politics for a life of genuine public service. (…) He was Israel’s indispensable man, a leader whose participation in the political arena was driven not by what would bring personal glory, but what his country needed done. (…)There were lost arguments, lost battles and lost elections – but never lost hope. (…) Even in his final years as president, an office Israeli political culture traditionally expects to be more seen than heard, he remained an activist, refusing to accept that even his nation’s highest honor could be anything but a platform from which to continue his life’s labor. (…) He was wise without being arrogant, stoic without being grim, and witty without being frivolous. He radiated the rare, quiet confidence of a person who has explored life in all its complexities and challenges and located its reservoirs of hope. (…)
Stephen Harper, JPO, 29.09.16
Shimon Peres’ death: A requiem for the Israel that was
The leaders of Western states paying their last respects to Shimon Peres (…) are also coming to say farewell to the country that Peres represented during his decades of public and international activity. (…) Peres was a realist who valued force and believed that economic development would moderate violence and conflict between peoples and countries. (…) in the choice between scientific research and religious ritual, between nanotechnology and the graves of righteous men, Peres was clearly and unequivocally on the side of progress. God had no place in Peres’ world (…). His disregard for the power of religion as a tool of political mobilization cost Peres repeated electoral defeats to rightist leaders, who, even if they were as secular as he was, recruited tradition to their side and presented themselves as real Jews while depicting him as a foreign agent. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 29.09.16
The unmistakable dreamer, Shimon Peres
(…) Shimon Peres had a rare and valuable quality: the ability to change. (…) The man changed before my eyes, discovered the boundaries of power, and although he never disregarded the power of force, he began believing that there was a need for compromise, for dialogue and for peace involving concessions. Israeli-Palestinian peace and Israeli-Arab peace. (…) behind this optimism hid a stubborn hope that the wisdom, the words and the effort would change the face of reality. It was sometimes a naïve hope, but I find it a thousand times better than the shrewd cynicism. Peres was (…) was basically a rather innocent person who many times fell into traps, but he stumbled because his eyes were fixed on the stars. He was a pretty mediocre politician, but a great statesman (…) I often asked him to talk about the past (…). But he would forcefully pull me towards completely different issues: nanotechnology, brain research, the era that will follow the electronic age, medicine that will improve humanity. (…) Being a “dreamer” may be a recipe for a difficult life, but there is no reason to envy someone who has lost the power to dream. The man was full of curiosity, he was intriguing, and I loved him.
Amos Oz, JED, 29.09.16
In honoring Peres, Abbas shows leadership
There are many issues one can criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about: he has not directly condemned the “lone wolf” terror attacks, he does nothing to stop the incitement by senior Fatah party officials, he recently called a Jordanian terrorist a “shahid” (a martyr) and sent his family a letter of condolences, and so on and so forth. But sometimes Abbas also deserves praise. On Friday, at the funeral of the late former president Shimon Peres, he was the only Arab leader who had the courage to show up. This was an act of political, diplomatic and personal bravery. He came with a delegation of senior Palestinian officials, knowing and understanding that the pictures published from the funeral will serve his opponents on his home turf (Fatah) and outside it (Hamas). He came to Jerusalem even though he knew other Arab leaders — like Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi or Jordan’s King Abdullah II — were not planning to attend. And even that group of MKs calling itself the Joint (Arab) List chose to stay away from the funeral of one of the people who worked harder than most to improve the circumstances of Israel’s Arab community. (…) His decision, seen by some in Fatah as cowardly, stands out even more considering that Abbas’s standing among the Palestinian public has never been worse. (…) The mess Abbas needs to deal with at home for the “crime” of attending the funeral emphasizes to what degree the rulers of Egypt and Jordan behaved like good politicians but failed as leaders, in that they decided to send ministers in their stead. The complexity of internal politics makes their decision understandable and perhaps forgivable. By contrast, it is hard — almost inconceivable — to understand the conduct of MKs from the Joint (Arab) List headed by Ayman Odeh. And it is appropriate, once in a while, to praise Abbas. (…)
Avi Issacharoff, TOI, 30.09.16
2. 38 Milliard Dollars Military Aid
As long as U.S. aid isn’t in question, Israeli settlements are here to stay
(…) Could the deal, which grants Israel the largest sum in the history of the two countries’ relations, have been better without Netanyahu’s speech to Congress against Barack Obama on the Iranian nuclear agreement? Would it have been better if he simply showed the U.S. president a bit more respect? (…) Either way, the aid itself, which is received here with more nonchalance than the sun rising, is a crazy bonanza for Israel and testimony to the weakness of the American government. (…) Israel has done largely what it wants. This is based on the popular belief – justified by politicians and defense officials – that the United States has to thank Israel for its existence and the right to pay it hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Netanyahu didn’t invent this (…). Once in a while, when he does something really annoying, the family applies a quarter of its muscle to keep him in line, which is accompanied by half a look. (…) The more these relations are twisted, the more the disturbed child becomes convinced in the validity of his false conception of reality. (…) If you observe the candidates in the U.S. presidential election, you realize that what has been is what will be. Neither the terrifying Donald Trump nor the more reasonable Hillary Clinton will change the trend in any way. The friendship with Israel isn’t in any doubt, and the military aid isn’t in any doubt. As a result, Israel’s rule over the territories isn’t in any doubt.
Ravit Hecht, HAA, 16.09.16
A milestone in US-Israel ties
(…) the new defense aid deal Washington signed with Jerusalem points to it being a meaningful upgrading of the American-Israeli pact and an important landmark in the partnership between the two countries. (…) Americans identify with Israel’s values and ideology, offering kinship and understanding steeped in good will, as well as in a system that sees Israel as a strategic asset of the highest order in an environment rife with instability, challenges and threats to the national security of the American nation. (…) the defense aid deal can be described as a watershed moment in the history of the U.S.-Israeli partnership (…). In conclusion, while some of the points of contention in the deal may remain in the realm of the abstract, its bright spots radiate warmth and long-term security in the U.S. relationship with Israel.
Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, IHY, 18.09.16
Thirty-eight billion thank yous
It has been seven challenging years for the US-Israel relationship. (…) Just as we think it can’t get any worse, it actually does. Over and over.(…) Over the past seven years Obama has signed off on more than $3 billion of military aid above and beyond the Memorandum of Understanding prime minister Ehud Olmert signed with president Bush covering the years 2008 to 2018. (…) Among complaints over lost ground on Israel’s qualitative military edge over its Arab neighbors during the end of the Bush presidency, the Obama administration quickly saw that the problem was fixed immediately. (…) In both the United Nations and in military cooperation between the two countries, the Obama administration has increased the partnership between the two countries. Obama is the only president to have a 100 percent voting record on Israel in the United Nations. (…) Most importantly, it was Obama who prevented the Palestinians from unilaterally declaring an independent state. (…) the pro-Israel community must show genuine gratitude to Obama and his administration for the recently signed MoU. In committing to over $38b. in military aid for Israel, Obama has signed the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in US history and advanced Israel’s security needs for the next decade. I am grateful for all that President Obama has done to make Israel a safer country.
Uri Pilichowski, JPO, 19.09.16
Hollow criticism of a good deal
The ongoing argument over the pros and cons of the new military aid deal between Israel and the U.S. is sure to linger, but the (…) agreement and its scope are an important aspect of Israel’s strategic preparations, and are a clear sign of the stable diplomatic relationship with the United States. The deal also sends a message to Israel’s enemies (…). As was foreseeable, the deal also has certain shortcomings, but these are not because Israel (…). Rather, they are the result of clear internal American interests, specifically budgetary problems that have worsened in the past two years. (…) The two main points of contention in the new deal pertain to Israel’s commitment not to ask Congress (…) for additional funds; and (…) to gradually decrease the allocation of one quarter of the aid package to Israeli defense companies, as it has done in the past. These two clauses sting, particularly the second one, but perhaps these pills are not as bitter as they seem (…). The new deal is an expression of the shared Israeli and American interest and it again highlights Israel’s importance to the United States as a strategic asset (…).
Zalman Shoval, IHY, 19.09.16
US aid package: A strategic missed opportunity
The military aid agreement signed by Israel and the United States last week is not a historic achievement but a strategic missed opportunity. The agreement preserves the extent of America’s support for Israel in a similar – or slightly lower – manner than the American support in the past decade. Considering the long-term challenges and the strategic reality created by the nuclear agreement with Iran, Israel could have obtained a much larger aid package. (…) Israel faced a very problematic nuclear agreement signed with Iran (…) it reduces the Iranian nuclear threat in the short run, but conceals many dangers to Israel in the long run. (…) The agreement is very problematic in the conventional arena as well, as Iran receives additional resources and legitimacy to build its power and grow stronger. (…) A responsible and far-reaching policy would have adopted the recommendation of the Institute for National Security Studies (…) and accepted the American president’s invitation to enter a thorough strategic discourse. (…) But Jerusalem chose a different policy, a policy of breaking off contact (…), which eventually did not change anything in the agreement with Iran and was simply a failed alternative to a dialogue and agreements which could have greatly bolstered Israel’s security. The final chord of the aid agreement is represented by a somewhat absurd and humiliating letter, which Netanyahu was asked to sign. In the letter, he pledges to return additional funds allotted to Israel beyond the agreement. The letter represents the state of relations with the US which Netanyahu has led Israel too, and it appears that the Obama Administration could not help itself and had to mock the three bodies which declared a political war on the administration in the summer of 2015 – the prime minister (…), Congress (…) and the AIPAC lobby (…).
Amos Yadlin, JED, 19.09.16
The only good thing about the new U.S. military aid deal to Israel
(…) Israel prides itself on its per capita GDP of nearly $40,000, ahead of Spain and Italy. Its economy is well placed in comparison to Europe, and in an excellent place globally. How long will it continue to ask for handouts? (…) The only hitch the Americans dared insert into the agreement causes some damage to the Israeli defense industry. At the end of the agreement’s sixth year, Israel will no longer be able to spend about a quarter of the military aid (…) on purchases from local defense companies. That’s the only good thing about the agreement. Too bad it doesn’t start from Day One. In April 2012, the state comptroller released the most earth-shattering report, though it never created many shock waves. The report revealed that at least five deals for security-related exports had been made without authorization from the Foreign Ministry. (…) The powerful defense-industry lobby (…) acted to make most of the report confidential. (…) Israel has a bloody past when it comes to arms sales. The most despicable regimes in the world received Israeli weapons during the darkest chapters in their history. And the present isn’t much better. (…) The structure of the defense industries’ income is unique. As opposed to the situation in other countries, about 70 percent of its income comes from exports. This depends on a profusion of wars. Now those industries reassure us that they will know how to handle the new U.S. edict and will establish production facilities in the United States as well. Shame.
Raviv Drucker, HAA, 19.09.16
3. Obama’s last week as President of the USA
The historic disappointment of Barack Obama and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu’s 17th encounter on Wednesday was a meeting of two resounding failures in the history of Middle East peacemaking. (…) the greatest historical disappointment lay with Obama for this (…). When he was elected Obama aroused great hope, not only among the Americans but in the hearts of Israelis and Palestinians, who were fed up with the mutual bloodshed. About eight years later, Obama cannot boast one modest achievement in this respect. (…) a man of considerable prestige and power, failed to launch any move leading to the end of the occupation. From his eloquent and beautiful speeches only hollow words remain, a whistle in the wind, unaccompanied by any action. The one who promised “yes we can,” was revealed at the end of two terms as not only one who cannot, but one who doesn’t even try. Apart from sending Israel a special envoy who failed and a secretary of state who also failed, Obama is emerging as someone who has given up on solving the conflict. (…) The United States bears a heavy responsibility for the continued conflict, and it cannot afford to cut itself off and leave the sides bleeding. The conflict will continue to haunt the United States. Obama knows this, and yet he appears to have thrown in the towel.
Editorial, HAA, 23.09.16
Obama the preacher, exit left
Barack Obama sung his swan song this week at the United Nations. He seemed baffled by the stubborn refusal of the world to reform itself in his image and on his say so. (…) How can it be that, after eight years of his visionary leadership, peoples everywhere aren’t marching to the tune of Obama’s self-declared superior “moral imagination”? (…) In his preachy, philosophical and snooty address to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Obama expressed deep disappointment with the world. (…) Why oh why does the world not snap to order as he imperiously wills it, nor any longer drool in his presence? (…) the words “enemy, “threat” and “adversary” do not appear even once in Obama’s 5,600-word address. (…) He won’t even names foes, like “radical Islam” or “Islamist terror.” Again, all this high-minded intellectualizing, self-doubt and equivocation leave the US with little ability to actually drive toward a more ordered world and provide a modicum of global security. (…) It therefore falls to Congress and the next president to redirect US policy; policy one hopes based less on whimsical, wayward beliefs, and more on hard-nosed, forceful reassertion of Western interests.
David M. Weinberg, JPO, 22.09.16
The long overdue goodbye
(…) Having just signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the “largest-ever” military-aid package granted to Israel by an American administration, Netanyahu had no choice but to grin and bear it when Obama issued a typical, not-so-veiled threat to the Jewish state. (…) What Obama meant to say (…) was that Israelis living in any areas that the Palestinian Authority wants cleansed of Jews are the cause of the stabbing attacks, shootings, car-rammings, Molotov cocktail-throwing and bombings to which they have been subjected for decades. And now that he has given them a pile of money with which to protect themselves over the next decade, Netanyahu had better start capitulating to any and every Palestinian demand. (…) Netanyahu was actually conveying that Israel (…) has never been at fault for its enemies’ extremism. The trouble with this assertion is that Obama believes the United States is just as much to blame for the wrath of those bent on its destruction as Israel. (…) Netanyahu could not afford, literally or figuratively, to underscore. Instead, he thanked Obama for the monetary assistance and bid him farewell (…).
Ruthie Blum, IHY, 23.09.16
Obama and Netanyahu: Years of humiliation
During his two terms in office, the US president constantly turned his back on Israel while courting the Palestinians and allowing Iran to become a nuclear state one day. (…) Netanyahu was forced to restore his dignity in a Congress speech and apply as much pressure as possible in order to prevent an agreement that the Western world would regret. (…) Despite the threat Israel is facing, Obama conducted tough negotiations on military aid to the only democracy in the Middle East. (…) Obama (…) failed to mention the term Islamic terror in his bid to maintain political correctness. Islamic terror is raging in New York and in Israel, but Obama has not heard about it. As far as he is concerned, there is only ISIS, a terrifying monster which has nothing to do with Islam. Unlike the Cairo speech, this time Obama dedicated just a few sentences to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a miserable failure after two terms should not be praised. (…) There is definitely a lot to be thankful for. A moment before getting off the stage, Obama remembered to direct something at Israel apart from his back. (…)
Yifat Erlich, JED, 23.09.16
Obama failed, Netanyahu won. Only Israelis can end the occupation
(…) Benjamin Netanyahu has won. He has survived seven and a half years with an American president who was widely expected to be the most pro-Palestinian in history – one with the capacity to challenge and pressure Israel. (…) During the Obama years, Netanyahu (…) formed one of the most hard-right coalitions in Israel’s history, appointed Avigdor Lieberman his defense minister (…) and (…) has received from Obama a $38 billion military aid package. Critics point to “proof” that Netanyahu has “paid” for his attitude. They mention the Iran deal (…). They claim that the military aid package could have been larger (…). The truth is much simpler. Netanyahu’s obstinacy and obduracy have worn out his counterparts, who have much bigger problems to contend with. (…) Who else is going to pressure Israel? The handful of noisy students on a few campuses and Twitter trolls who make up the BDS movement? The corrupt ruling-class in Ramallah that constitutes the Palestinian Authority? The isolated and friendless in Gaza, Hamas? (…) Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. It will be marked with a flurry of media features, international conferences and UN resolutions all condemning the settlements and pronouncing the current situation untenable. And that will be that.
Anshel Pfeffer, HAA, 23.09.16
4. Selection of Articles
Weekend’s attacks are just the tip of the iceberg
(…) No one in the defense establishment can explain why a wave of six continuous terror attacks broke out (…). But this is yet another reminder that the recent calm in the West Bank is a false one, under which there is a sizzling lava of a young generation ready to carry out self-sacrifice attacks. The latest lone wolf attacks are only the tip of the iceberg. (…) In previous years, these young people were looking for a way to reach Syria. (…) They are much fanatic than Hamas’s men. We are no longer dealing with the backyard of terror in the territories; ISIS is reaching us through the front door. (…) The Shin Bet and IDF appear to have found the formula. The significant development in the ability to infiltrate social media led to an unprecedented achievement: The Shin Bet succeeded in detecting and stopping about 70 percent of the potential lone wolf terrorists, who framed themselves in messages and chats. (…) Nonetheless, warnings of 50-60 potential lone wolf terrorists are received at any given time. (…) The IDF and Shin Bet’s formula will not be able to curb the situation on the ground if the diplomatic-economic-political conditions reach a boiling point. (…) The incitement on the Palestinian side is being curbed, for now, by the Israeli decision not to hurt the entire population. (…)
Alex Fishman, JED, 18.09.16
Netanyahu’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ comments rewrite history while looking to the future
(…) In the metaphysics of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the question of “the settlers” is one of the problems that any future agreement must take into account, just like the problem of “the refugees.” But Israeli Arabs, until now at least, were not an issue requiring a “solution.” (…) No wonder that when Netanyahu said “ethnic cleansing,” he said it in English. Even Israelis, with all the empathy they feel for the evacuated settlers, don’t buy the analogy to ethnic cleansing when it comes to the residents of the red-roofed houses who, at most, will find themselves led in their private cars to new apartments in the center of the country. (…) Not only is there no longer any room for talking about recognizing the Palestinian refugees, even symbolically, but from now on, care must be taken that Israel won’t place Israeli Arabs on the table, as an ungenerous and decidedly cruel bargaining chip. (…) The erasure of the 1967 border lines and the attempt to deny the conflict’s territorial nature serve not just the people who dream of the entire Land of Israel, but also those who dream of a State of Israel free of minorities, whatever its borders. (…) It’s not for nothing that everyone is suddenly talking about the Sykes-Picot agreement. The upheavals in the Middle East have fired the imaginations of both Netanyahu and Lieberman: to redraw the map of the region, but this time, without the English and the French.
Carolina Landsmann, HAA, 18.09.16
Miri Regev’s ill-timed tirade
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev ignored the diverse group of winners who had paraded across the stage at the Ophir Awards Ceremony (…) and launched into a bitter tirade (…) against the film industry (…) a movie about Beduin women, the debut feature by a female director Elite Zexer, took the top award, Regev’s bile could not have been more ill-timed. Never have the winners of the Ophir Awards presented a more accurate representation of Israel’s population. (…) But Regev has never pretended to be especially interested in the arts. She has boasted that she has never read Chekhov, apparently to make a point about how European culture should not dominate the arts, and could not name a single film by Quentin Tarantino, the guest of honor at the Jerusalem Film Festival this summer, after she met him at the opening. (…) she chose to warn the movie industry that she controls the arts budget, and that she can and will cut funding to Israeli movies if she chooses to. If she does that, the Israeli film industry will suffer. (…) Israeli movies have been nominated for seven Oscars and won one (…), won two Golden Globes and received dozens of prizes at the most important film festivals around the world. (…) The government boasts about the film industry and its achievements in speeches and on its website. But you can’t have it both ways. (…)
Hannah Brown. JPO, 25.09.16
Discrimination runs deep in east Jerusalem
My wife and I were born in east Jerusalem before Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city. (…) This week we spent an entire day at the only Interior Ministry office that is allowed to provide legal residency documents to Palestinians. The entire 350,000-strong population of east Jerusalem can only use a single Interior Ministry office (…). For Palestinians in Jerusalem the mandatory visit to the ministry is as hated as a visit to the dentist. (…) Every Palestinian wishing to get a travel document or an ID must visit this unwelcoming office. (…) Four hours after arriving at the ministry we finally had a chance to meet the official (…). Within minutes of clicking on his computer the Israeli Jewish official (…) concluded that our daughter can’t get her ID because she is not living permanently in Jerusalem. (…) Typically, proving permanent residence means spending at least six months a year in Jerusalem (…). Even after getting the coveted residency ID, Palestinians can lose their permanent residency in many different ways, including if Jerusalem is not the center of their lives (…) or if they gain another residency or another citizenship. Technically a permanent resident can apply for Israeli citizenship, but there is no automatic guarantee that he/ she will get citizenship. Most Palestinians spend their entire life not having a nationality other than the blue Israeli ID card vouching that they are permanent residents. (…) The status of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem continues to be decided by Israeli officials who decide whether to grant or deny them possession of the very document that allows them residency in their city of birth. Some officials seem to quietly celebrate every time they deny the right of a Jerusalemite while grinding their teeth whenever they are forced to endorse such a right. Nowhere is pure racism and discrimination practiced on a daily basis more often than at the Interior Ministry office in Wadi Joz. (…) These Jerusalemites are a politically orphaned population that no one is allowed to defend, and they are not allowed to elect those who make the rules that affect them. (…)
Daoud Kuttab, JPO, 18.09.16
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: October 2016
Dr. Werner Puschra, Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel