Israel’s Urban Policies an Unseen Driver of Jerusalem Tensions

Wl__erusalem_12042014orld Politics Review 12.04.14
The spikes in violence in Jerusalem last month, including the brutal killings in a synagogue after a series of stabbings and hit-and-run attacks on pedestrians, are extreme instances of ethnically based violence that has been mounting since last summer, when the flames of local unrest were fanned by the war in Gaza. But at stake are more than familiar grievances in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While access to the holy sites of the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif remains contentious, the violence in Jerusalem’s shared public spaces and on public transportation in particular reflect that this is not merely an issue of religion: Israel’s urban planning decisions in the city are also fueling Palestinian anger. As long as Israel’s physical annexation of East Jerusalem and the exclusion of Palestinian residents from the city continue, harsher policing and collective punishment are unlikely to stop the violence.

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