What's Been Going On in Jerusalem? Danny Seidemann Analysis

Last month, Danny Seidemann spoke publicly and comprehensively about what is going on in Jerusalem:

“…this is not a routine round of skirmishing. What we are seeing is something significant in ways that go well beyond tomorrow’s headlines. I do not want to sound hysterical about this. I will not answer whether this is the third intifada or not; that will just get us involved in a side discussion that I think has very little benefit. But I think it is important to understand why this is different. I think I could have said as much six weeks ago, two months ago, three months ago, and for the past 15 months. However, within the last month the violence in Jerusalem has become far more visible and convulsive, particularly concerning events in and around the Temple Mount, and is finally receiving the attention it merits.

“…The major question is: “Why is Jerusalem burning?” But even before attempting to answer it, what is fascinating is that nobody in official Israel is asking it. Nobody. Nobody in the political arena with the potential exception of [Ayman] Odeh [an Arab Israeli lawmaker who leads a coalition of Arab Israeli parties] and the United Arab List is openly asking the question. From the perspective of official Israel, the commitment to the article of faith of an undivided Jerusalem is so much a catechism, so unassailable, so much impervious to empirical reality that you can’t ask that question.

“Because if Jerusalem is axiomatically the undivided capital of Israel, obviously you have to shut down empirical reality in order to maintain that belief, and that means that things in Jerusalem are as they should be. The Palestinians have it as good as ever they will — they are ingrates if not, and only bad people act as poorly as they are. We will break them, so much so that at no point, with the occasional exception of President Rivlin, nobody in official Israel has spoken to or addressed the Palestinians of East Jerusalem. It is always about what we will be doing to them.

Read Danny’s full analysis here.

As detailed in our various reports today, the level of violence in East Jerusalem appears to be on the wane. This is not surprising: these rounds of violence eventually exhaust the energies that drive them, at least temporarily. The Palestinians of East Jerusalem have always tended to be a reluctant vanguard, and the decline in violence may in some way be related to rise in violence in the West Bank. The Jerusalemites need not carry the banner of resistance that high.

That said, none of the underlying causes of this popular uprising have been addressed – if, as we believe, the core of this uprising is the widely-held belief among East Jerusalemites that they live under an authority in which “Palestinian lives don’t matter” and they have no future to look forward to. The policies of this Government are geared to contain and crush the violence, and only strengthen this sense of despair.

So what should be anticipated? The general trend of a reduction of violence will likely continue. However an inflammatory event could cause Jerusalem to re-erupt at any time. Even in the absence of such an event, the periods of relative calm between the rounds of violence will likely become shorter, and each successive eruption will likely be more violent.