Jerusalem | Six-Day War 1967 | Might makes right | Demographic Control through Settlement Policies I
Re-establishing homeland for Jewish people has been the agenda of the state of Israel since its establishment in 1948 and even more so since the 1967 six-day war with the annexation of the Eastern Jerusalem. ‘Demographic balance’ has been a guide for planning policy in Jerusalem, a city politically unified but potentially unstable. To strengthen the sovereignty of Israel over Jerusalem, the government tried to preserve the Jewish demographic advantage.
The term ‘balance’ was subjected to discourse on its meaning. In 1973 the Ministers’ Committee on Jerusalem Concerns declared the maintenance of the 1967 proportion of Jews within the expanded city boundaries (73.3%) an Israeli ‘national goal’. (In 1967, the Jews made up 73.3% of the whole population and the Arabs of 26.7%.) The demographic objective has been realised with the discriminated housing policies enacted upon the Jews and the Palestinians – establishment of new Jewish settlements neighbourhood in East Jerusalem by housing restrictions.
To gather ‘new’ land for Jewish settlements
The city’s draft 1968 master plan noted that “effective development of [East Jerusalem] will require the expropriation of substantial areas”. The first decade of planning therefore focused highly on gathering the needed land for the state. Lands originally owned by mostly private Palestinian inhabitants are confiscated by the Israel Land Authority and then leased only to Jews. With the extension of the municipal boundaries from 9,500 acres before 1967 to 27,500 acres after the Six Day War, about 4,250 acres of land were confiscated by the Israeli authorities for the establishment of seven new Jewish neighborhoods (French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramat Eshkol, Neve Yaacov, Ramot, Atarot and East Talpiot) which were built later in the 1970s.
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