“If you pay attention you will see: the tour guides tell their groups not to buy from the Arabs. So there is no business.”
— A shopkeeper in the Old City of Jerusalem
It is 2:30 pm on a weekday in Jerusalem’s Old City, and one would expect the stores and restaurants to be open and busy. Standing near one of the first stations along the Via Dolorosa, the final path Jesus took as he carried his cross to his own crucifixion, I was looking around me and Abu-Shkri restaurant was closing, as were some of the t-shirt and souvenir stores. I turned to one of the shopkeepers and asked him why they were closing so early. “No business,” he replied.
This seemed like an odd thing to say as the street was full of tourists. There were some tourists walking in groups and others walking in pairs or alone. “There are thousands of people here,” I said to him. “Yes, but they don’t stop to shop, not even to look or ask for prices.” He was right. Not a single tourist was stopping. “Look,” he continued after he noticed I continued to stand there, “if you pay attention you will see: the tour guides tell their groups not to buy from the Arabs. So there is no business.”
As more countries move their embassies to Jerusalem, it comes with it the perception that more nations are recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, angering world powers who do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Holy City.
Countries with embassies in Jerusalem: US, Guatemala and Paraguay
Countries considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem: Czech Republic, Romania, Honduras and Slovakia
Countries with embassies elsewhere in Israel: Albania, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Belize (consulate), Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, European Union (delegation), Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, South, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican, and Venezuela
The move by the US to relocate its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been hotly debated both before and after the dedication ceremonies, but several countries seem to have seen some merits in doing the same. Guatemala was the first to join the US embassy in Jerusalem earlier this May.
Slovakia is now among the latest of a group of countries mulling the idea of having an embassy in the Holy City, an idea that has become somewhat more accepted among other countries despite intense criticism from the United Nations, as Fox News reported.
Production of next year’s spectacle is in the hands of the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, but the European Broadcasting Union has broad powers over details.
Officials at the European Broadcasting Union are uneasy about holding the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem next year, say Israelis involved in the production.
Following a series of meetings last week, the European officials expressed concern that Mideast politics could harm the competition and erode the brand, the sources say.
The Eurovision will take place in Israel next year because an Israeli, Netta Barzilai, won the 2018 contest held in Portugal last month. No decision has been made on the location or date; preparations are at a very early stage, and controversy surrounding Jerusalem increased last month when the United States moved its embassy there.
“I’d always known that the water tower is across the line, and suddenly the penny dropped — The street is, too.”
— Dror Etkes, spokesman for Kerem Navot, a non-profit organization that monitors Israeli land policy in the West Bank
Since the mid-1990’s, Mevasseret Zion, an upscale suburb of Jerusalem, with a population of some 25,000, has undergone significant expansion northward, in the form of the Rekhes Halilim neighborhood. It now turns out that in some parts of that neighborhood’s northern section, the homes are situated outside the town’s own municipal boundaries — and also outside the State of Israel. The major deviation is on Bareket Street, where more than 20 structures were built across the 1949 Green Line, in the West Bank. In four or five other cases, the Green Line, [which served as Israel’s border until the 1967 Six-Day War] runs right through the houses themselves.
A little to the west, a facility of Hagihon, the Jerusalem region water company, was also built across the Green Line. Not far from there, about two years ago, local residents placed two mobile homes which became a “pirate” synagogue that has functioned without interference ever since. On top of all this, the Israel Land Authority is promoting a new plan to build 300 residential units in the area. . . .
“The match itself is to take place in a stadium built on one of the at least 418 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel 70 years ago, Al Malha.”
— Jibril Rajoub in his May 28th letter to the Argentian Football Association
The head of the Palestine Football Association appealed last month before his Argentine counterpart to cancel the match against Israel slated for Saturday in Jerusalem. On Tuesday night, the Argentine Football Association cancelled the game, which was to take place in Jerusalem.
In the letter, the Palestinian soccer official stressed what prompted his protest was the Israeli government’s decision to move the game from Haifa, where it was originally planned to take place, to Jerusalem.
“The original field of the match was Haifa,” said the letter penned by Jibril Rajoub. “However and after political pressure took place from the Israeli government, as it was openly said by Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, the match was moved to Jerusalem. This is a decision that, given the current context, the Palestine Football Association utterly rejects and condemns.”
The move to Jerusalem and marking the game as part of Israel’s 70th-birthday celebrations gave legitimization to Israel’s opponents. They didn’t score a single goal but Regev did — an own goal, perhaps the most spectacular one in Israeli soccer history.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri is a friend of Israel, and of the large Jewish community in Buenos Aires. But even he, a former president of the Argentine soccer club Boca Juniors, knows that in any properly run country politicians don’t meddle with national soccer. (Not that Argentina is entirely a properly run country, but Israel is even less so.)
Such meddling would also break the rules of FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body. That’s why Macri politely declined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to intervene in the decision to call off the exhibition match set for Jerusalem.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev not only doesn’t get this, but she’s the main culprit for legitimizing Argentina’s decision not to come. If there’s one thing that Israeli governments have been scrupulous about over the years, it has been not to mix politics and sports.
Friedman says criticism of recent Palestinian death toll in the Strip is aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” — a seeming reference to Haaretz.
“I find it curious that an ambassador who repeatedly refuses requests to speak to the media is now criticizing the media. The international media is not a monolithic entity, and for him to generalize like this is simplistic, inaccurate and misinformed.”
— Joe Federman, chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Israel
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday accused the media of major bias against Israel in its coverage of the recent violence on the Gaza border, telling reporters to “keep your mouths shut until you figure it out.”
Speaking in Jerusalem, Friedman said his criticism was aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” –—seemingly a reference to Haaretz, which the ambassador slammed in February after Gideon Levy published a piece criticizing him and his donation of an ambulance to a West Bank settlement.
Friedman claimed that most journalists covering the clashes in recent weeks had never bothered investigating whether Israel had other viable alternatives for defending its border besides using live fire. . . .
In a mammoth victory for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, the squad of Lionel Messi will not be playing in Jerusalem.
By Dave Zirin | The Nation | Jun 6, 2018
“This is major. Though it may not be the first sports boycott . . . one of the most visible teams and renowned players in global futbol has refused to normalize Israel’s national institutions at a critical political juncture.”
— Noura Erakat, human rights attorney and professor at George Mason University
he group Jewish Voice for Peace called it “a watershed moment“ and “the biggest victory for BDS [the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement].” Israeli defense minister Avignor Lieberman seethed that this week has seen a win for “Israeli-hating inciters.”
What spurred such an impassioned reaction on both sides? It wasn’t Lorde canceling a concert and it wasn’t Natalie Portman refusing an award. This time it is the Argentina National Soccer Team saying no to the Israeli state. With three days notice, the renowned squad has canceled a friendly World Cup warm-up match in Jerusalem, a game that sold out last month within 20 minutes of tickets’ going on sale. Now no one will be watching anything.
“In an effort to bring about the closure of the Jerusalem campus, a political directive was given not to recognize degrees granted by the main campus in Abu Dis. As a result, most Al-Quds graduates who are Israeli residents are denied the possibility of working in Israel.”
— Al-Quds University attorney Shlomo Lecker
The Social Affairs Ministry is dragging its feet on recognizing hundreds of Palestinian social workers who graduated from Al-Quds University, in order to officially avoid recognizing the university.
The Jerusalem municipality says the city has a shortage of Arabic-speaking social workers and the Al-Quds graduates could help fill the gap. But the Social Affairs Ministry denies that any shortage exists.
For years, state agencies, led by the Prime Minister’s Office, have tried to push Al-Quds out of Jerusalem. Most of the university’s facilities are actually in Abu Dis, which lies just outside Jerusalem’s municipal borders in the West Bank. But the university still maintains some facilities inside Jerusalem.
Unlike Israeli universities, Al-Quds does not fall under the auspices of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, and it operates as a foreign university. But it cannot receive Israeli recognition as a foreign university the way universities in the West Bank do, because of its location in Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital and its sovereign territory.
For decades, the East Jerusalem consulate has operated differently than almost every other consulate around the world. Rather than reporting to the US Embassy in Israel, it has reported directly to the State Department in Washington, giving the Palestinians an unfiltered channel to engage with the US government.
President Donald Trump is considering giving US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the US outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five US officials said.
Any move to downgrade the autonomy of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem — responsible for relations with the Palestinians — could have potent symbolic resonance, suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank. And while the change might be technical and bureaucratic, it could have potentially significant policy implications.
As president, Trump has departed from traditional US insistence on a “two-state solution” for the Mideast conflict by leaving open the possibility of just one state. As his administration prepares to unveil a long-awaited peace plan, the Palestinians have all but cut off contact, enraged by Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.