Jerusalem Mayor on Unity: Cranes Mean Sovereignty, Success (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/18/12)
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Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that he sees
cranes in Jerusalem as a sign of success - and sovreignty.
"We are on a path of success," Barkat said. "We see it in several
respects, including growth and development. This skyline is full of
cranes. "Anyone who comes and sees this, sees that something good is
happening in the city - Jerusalm is succeeding."
"Sovereignty cannot stay on paper," he declares, "Anyone who thinks
that if you just declare sovereignty you have resolved the problem is
"There is a direct relationship between development in the urban
neighborhoods and sovereignty," he said. "You must enforce zoning and
construction laws, collects taxes, improve schools, talk with the
people and solve problems - that is sovereignty."
Barkat told Arutz Sheva that illegal construction could only be
tackled if Israel took responsibility for Jerusalem´s Arab
"You have to understand where illegal construction comes from,"
Barkat said. "We have Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, which,
unfortunately, are badly neglected. As mayor, visiting these areas, I
was forced to ask why this is?"
"We have two bad alternatives: one, we can act like an ostrich; the
other, to accept a huge disparity between the quality of life in
these neighborhoods, and other neighborhoods, which should not be.
"I choose a third option," Barkat said. "I chose to take
responsibility and extend my office´s sovereignty to these
neighborhoods, to improve the quality of life in them, and increase
The move to improve the quality of life in eastern Jerusalem is not
without political implications.
"It´s not a controversial idea, but right-wingers are more supportive
of this process than the left, because they understand that
investments in East Jerusalem are a means of applying Israel´s
sovereignty," Barkat said.
"The left thinks differently about the city´s theme of unity," he
went on. "They do not realize that ideology and practice must go hand
in hand. There is no chance that Jerusalem will succeed if she is
"So we have to insist on the unity of the city. For the right,
improving the quality of life in eastern Jerusalem jives with both
practice and ideology. For the left, it jives with practice, but
ideologically it is problematic. I´m not sure they want it."
Interestingly, Barkat says some of his strongest supporters are Arabs
living in eastern Jerusalem.
"They have lot of respect," Barkat said. "They know I care about them
and know their quality of life will rise. This is important to all of
us. Additionally, they are increasingly satisfied with the city and
recognize my office´s sovereignty in Jerusalem."
"This leads to a situation where they themselves would prefer to keep
Jerusalem united because they see the results of our efforts and they
"Its not Zionism, but in practice, they know it is important to
continue to live under Israeli sovereignty," Barkat explained.
However, the primary impediment to Barkat´s goals for Jerusalem is
not the political left, or Arabs in the city, but Israel´s own
"Unfortunately, whoever gave a ´waiver´ for permits in eastern
Jerusalem- and his reasoning was probably due to security
considerations - did not take into account how dividing Jerusalem
with a fence [the security wall] would affect Israel sovereignty,"
"I have not ignored the issue," he said. "I have raised it again and
again at the political level, but the tools available to the
Jerusalem Municipality to alter security policy is limited.
"This difficulty is very real. I keep telling the government we must
be allowed to exercise sovereignty in neighborhoods beyond the
security wall. But, this problem persists." (IsraelNationalNews ©
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