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Elections in Jerusalem 2018: The Palestinian Dimension


Elections in Jerusalem 2018:
The Palestinian Dimension

A report by Daniel Seidemann, published October 17, 2018
(a pdf of this report can be viewed/downloaded here)


Israelis will go to the polls in municipal elections. In cities and towns throughout the country, every Israeli citizen over the age of 18 will have the opportunity to vote directly for a candidate for the position of mayor, and to cast vote for a list comprised of candidates to the city councils.

This year, the elections in Jerusalem have generated unprecedented interest, both domestically and internationally, particularly regarding the potential participation of the East Jerusalem Palestinians in the elections. In this document we examine the dynamics of the current election cycle in East Jerusalem, and share some observations about the anticipated results and their potential ramifications.
1. Background

In 1948, Israel imposed its citizenship on the Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 war. In contrast, after the 1967 war and Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and surrounding villages, Israel neither imposed citizenship on nor offered it to the Palestinians that found themselves living under Israel control. Instead, the Palestinian residents were extended the status of “permanent residents.” The Palestinians of East Jerusalem are not entitled to receive citizenship. They are entitled to request citizenship, and Israel at its sole discretion may extend or deny that citizenship. In the past 51 years, very few Palestinians have applied for citizenship, and far less have received it. Today, only approximately 5,500 of Jerusalem’s 332,000 Palestinian residents are Israeli citizens.

As non-citizens, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem do not have the right to participate in national elections or be elected to the Knesset. However, as permanent residents of the city, they are entitled both to cast ballots in municipal elections and to stand for election as members of the Municipal Council; only citizens are entitled to run for Mayor.
Since 1967, there have been ten rounds of municipal elections in East Jerusalem. The table below shows voter turnout numbers among Palestinians of East Jerusalem in each of these elections.
Year             Ballots Cast by East                       Voter turnout as %
                   Jerusalem Palestinians              of eligible Palestinian voters

1969                 7,500                                         21%
1973                 3,150                                           7%
1978                 8,000                                         14%
1983                11,500                                     18.4%
1989                 2,700                                           3%
1993                 6,000                                           5%
1998                 6,500                                        6.5%
2003                 3,500                                           3%
2008                 2,600                                           2%
2013                 1,600                                        0.9%

To be clear: the fluctuations in voter turnout reflect specific historical and political developments. For example, high voter turnout in 1969, shortly after the 1967 war, reflected the fact that employees of the Municipality were literally bussed to the polls, and there were rampant rumors among Palestinians to the effect that failure to vote could entail loss of rights and entitlements. Similar rumors in 1983 generated another spike in voter turnout. Years later, the head on Mayor Teddy Kollek’s campaign in East Jerusalem admitted that the rumors had been intentionally disseminated as part of the campaign strategy.

All of the elections between 1969 and 1993 took place during the tenure of Jerusalem’s legendary mayor, Teddy Kollek. Despite being one of the primary architects of Israeli rule/occupation of East Jerusalem, Kollek was generally held in high regard among the Palestinians, viewed as a relatively “enlightened” and benign occupier. Kollek tried hard to bring out the Palestinian vote, customarily appointing those Israelis most familiar to the eastern part of the city to run his campaign in the Palestinian sector: the former Shabak (Israeli secret service) commanders of the Jerusalem district. These efforts did not yield impressive results.

The watershed came in 1993. A reluctant 82 year-old Kollek was convinced to run for his seventh term as mayor, and was fighting for his political life in a heated contest against an insurgent candidate named Ehud Olmert (the same Olmert who later became Prime Minster). Through a Palestinian intermediary, Kollek reached out to Yasser Arafat, requesting that he instruct the Palestinians of the city to go and vote. In return, Kollek promised to extend autonomy to the Palestinian residents of the city. Arafat declined to give those instructions, but instead promised not to forbid Palestinian participation. In addition, Kollek brought the renowned former deputy mayor Meron Benvenisti out of retirement, and made him responsible for his election campaign in East Jerusalem. More than anyone else, before or since, Benvenisti was widely viewed as the most significant Israeli advocate of Palestinian rights in Jerusalem, was well known among the populace, and was held in high regard. He conducted a well-oiled and sophisticated campaign on Kollek’s behalf, and he anticipated tens of thousands of voters playing a pivotal role in defeating Olmert. That result did not materialize. Despite the best efforts of Benvenisti and Kollek, Palestinian voter turnout in that crucial election was only about 5%. Olmert was elected mayor.

Since 1998, the levels of participation have been in steady decline, and in the last elections in 2013, fewer than 1% of eligible Palestinian voters – totaling only 1600 individuals – cast a ballot.

2. What (if Anything) Has Changed in 2018?

In the past, there was often discussion inside the Israeli left as to how to bring the Palestinian residents of the city to the polls, based on the assumption that it would be beneficial to left-wing parties. Over the years, it became something of a ritual that Israeli political activists would go on a “pilgrimage” to Palestinian leaders – the late Faisal Husseini, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and others – seeking their support for Palestinian participation in Jerusalem elections. Invariably, Palestinian leaders listened politely, made positive but noncommittal noises, and ignored the requests.

This year, in contrast, is different, at least in one respect. During the current election cycle in the Jerusalem elections possible voting trends in East Jerusalem have generated unprecedented interest, not only in Israel and in the international community but in East Jerusalem itself. In recent weeks and months, the subject of Palestinian participation in the elections has been the topic of heated and widespread conversations among the Palestinians of East Jerusalem.

Before examining if this development portends a significant change in the voter turnout, it is important to examine what it was that has generated this unprecedented interest.

2.1 Creeping Israel-ification?

In recent years, observers of East Jerusalem have been pointing to what some describe as an accelerated trend of Palestinian East Jerusalemites “going Israeli.” They point to increases in the number of Palestinian residents applying for Israeli citizenship, the number of Palestinian students seeking Israeli matriculation (bagrut) certificates, and the number of Palestinians attending Hebrew University and Hadassah College. The numbers of Palestinian men from East Jerusalem working in the Israeli sector – estimated at 40,000 - and their slow advancement from being manual laborers to positions like foremen etc., is seen as another sign of this trend. Some pollsters, such as David Pollak of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), have gone so far as to assert that polling data suggest that East Jerusalem Palestinians prefer living under Israeli rule over Palestinian rule (See David Pollack, Half of Jerusalem’s Palestinians would prefer Israeli to Palestinian citizenship”, The Washington Institute, August 21, 2015).

These observations often (but not always) serve a political agenda, specifically of those who argue that the status quo in Jerusalem is eminently sustainable and widely supported by the Palestinian sector. This is mirrored by a conscious effort by the Israeli Government and the Jerusalem Municipality to induce Palestinians into adopting the trappings of Israeli identity in exchange for material benefits – for example, opening new elementary schools that are specifically geared for the Israeli matriculation certificate (rather than the tawjihi, the test required to attend Palestinian or Arab universities), and offering financing only for those schools that accept textbooks censored by Israel.

Regardless of political agenda, there remains the key question: is this trend of “going Israeli” real? The answer is both simple and more complex. Simply stated, an examination of the empirical data regarding East Jerusalem Palestinian residents seeking Israeli citizenship or Israeli matriculation certificates shows that both in terms of absolute numbers and the increases over time, these numbers remain very low.

That said, these trends of adaptation to Israeli society are indeed real – along with countervailing trends of defiance and resistance. In the complex reality of contemporary Jerusalem, there is no inherent contradiction between Palestinian students studying in greater numbers at Hadassah College and thousands of Palestinian youth being arrested in clashes with the police. Whether these trends of real or purported adaptation to Israel will be translated into a shift in voting patterns will only be revealed in the actual results of the upcoming elections.

2.2 Two States, One State, and a State of Unprecedented Despair

Some of the fanfare around Palestinian participation in the elections is coming from the Israeli side (albeit in ways that are far more marginal than the current mood of despair among Palestinians). Parts of the ideological left in Israel have abandoned support for the two-state solution, or never supported it, and view the Jerusalem elections as a step towards “one-statism”. Some in the Israeli left hope that Palestinian voters will become the deus ex machina that will “save” Jerusalem from its inexorable drift to the right and to ultra-orthodoxy. Others who support two states are cynically using the threat of massive Palestinian participation in the elections as a ploy to scare Israelis into resuming their support for two states. None of these phenomena will likely impact actual Palestinian voter turnout.

Among the Palestinians, the lack of political process, let alone a political horizon, has led young Palestinians in particular to arrive at the conclusion that if ending occupation by means of statehood is no longer feasible, achieving equal rights in the framework of one state is the only alternative.

If these sentiments are commonplace among young Palestinians in Ramallah, there are even more so among Palestinian youth of East Jerusalem. Cut off from Palestine by the Israel’s separation barrier and largely abandoned by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah and by Arab states, Palestinians of East Jerusalem see no future for themselves. A population adrift, this sense of abandonment and hopelessness gives rise to the widely held belief among East Jerusalem’s population that they must fend for themselves.

It is this sentiment that has contributed to speculation that there will be increased participation in the municipal elections in 2018.

2.3 The Polls

There have been two recent polls attempting to gauge the readiness of East Jerusalem Palestinian residents to participate in the upcoming elections. [Before examining each of these, it is important to bear in mind that polling in East Jerusalem poses unique methodological challenges that call into question the possibility of attaining credible results. [For our in depth analysis of these challenges, see Daniel Seidemann “The Perils of Polling in East Jerusalem, Foreign Policy February 23, 2012). One of the two pollsters who has looked at Palestinian participation in the elections – Khalil Shikaki, the most prominent Palestinian pollster -  agrees only in part with our analysis. While we express doubt as to whether Palestinians will answer pollsters candidly in relation to politically sensitive issues, Shikaki has told this author that he believes that it is possible to receive candid responses – but that there is a wide gap between declared intentions, however honest they may be at the time, and the actual willingness to go and vote.]

The first poll was carried out under the auspices of the Leonard Davis Center for International Relations at the Hebrew University, and was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, headed by Dr. Nabil Kukali [See “Poll: More than Half of East Jerusalemites  Support Voting in Muncipal Election””, the Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2018]. The poll, which involved a sample of 612 residents of East Jerusalem, was taken in January 2018, shortly after Trump’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem. When presented with the statement: “Some people say that the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem should promote their interests and vote for their representatives in the municipal elections,” 58% percent expressed support for the statement, 13.7% objected to it, and 28.3% said that they neither support nor object it. The interviewees were not asked if they intended to vote.

The second poll was carried out between June 25 and July 1, 2018 by Dr. Khalil Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) [See “Public Opinion Poll No. 68”, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, July 2018]. Summarizing its findings, Shikaki writes:

“In [the] environment of the embassy relocation and the approaching date for the Israeli municipal elections in Jerusalem, we asked East Jerusalemites about their position regarding these elections. 73%...indicate that they do not intend to participate, or have not considered participation, in the Israeli municipal elections in the city but 22% indicate that they are indeed intending to vote or considering voting.”

As seen above, the results of the two polls are widely divergent. It is also noteworthy that neither poll asked specifically about concrete intent to go to the polling place; hence, the results are at best indicative of the level of interest in this issue, but not necessarily of the anticipated voter turnout.
3. The Candidates and the Lists for the Municipal Council

Voters cast two ballots in Jerusalem municipal elections, one directly for a mayoral candidate, and the other for a list of the candidates for the Municipal Council. In order to be elected mayor, a candidate must receive at least 40% of the valid ballots cast. Failing that, two weeks after election day there is a second-round run-off election between the two candidates with the largest number of votes. The election to the Municipal Council is proportional, with lists winning seats based on the proportion of the vote they win. In the current election, it is estimated that approximately 8,000 votes will be needed to elect a Municipal Council Member.

3.1 The Race for Mayor

In the 2013 election, there were three candidates for mayor. In the 2018 election, there are six candidates for mayor:
  • Zeev Elkin, currently Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, is identified with the Likud party, and has the endorsement of Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, the Jerusalem branch of Likud has expressed support for another candidate.
  • Moshe Lion, former Director General of Netanyahu’s Prime Minister’s Office, is the preferred candidate of the Jerusalem branch of the Likud party.
  • Joseph Deitch is a representative of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector. This constituency, which customarily represents about 35% of those casting ballots, tends to vote as a bloc, with voters following the instructions of their rabbis. However, in this election the Haredi community is fragmented, and it appears that Moshe Lion has the support of more of the non-Hasidic, “Lithuanian” rabbis and the rabbis of the Sephardic Shas party, with Deitch enjoying the support of the heads of various Hassidic courts.
  • Ofer Berkowitz represents the centrist Hitorirut (Awakening) movement, and most of his support comes from secular Jews and some of the modern orthodox Jewish community.
  • Avi Salman is a young Jerusalem Likud party stalwart who in the past served as Municipal Attorney under current Mayor Nir Barkat. He is not viewed as a serious contender.
  • Haim Miller is another ultra-orthodox candidate. He is not viewed as a serious contender.
There is no mayoral candidate from the Israeli center-left or left.

The candidacy of a Palestinian activist, Aziz Abu Sara, who entered and then withdrew from the race, will be examined below.

Given the fragmentation within both the ultra-Orthodox and the Likud in Jerusalem, and the mechanism of a two-round election, it is possible that any of the first four candidates could be elected. It currently appears that none of the pre-election polling will be able to predict the outcome with any certainty.

3.2 The Municipal Council Race

In the 2013 election there were seventeen lists of candidates, eleven of which won enough votes to have at least one representative on the 31 member Municipal Council. In the 2018 race, there are more than 15 lists of candidates [we are not able to cite a precise number of lists because as of this writing, two weeks before the elections, the Ministry of Interior has yet to publish their names. Many of these lists are active only in Jerusalem, without direct affiliation with the parties represented in the Knesset.

These lists may be roughly categorized as follows:
  • The Israeli right is represented by parties like the Likud, the list headed by Zeev Elkin and the Jewish Home Party.
  • The Israeli far right by the list headed by settler activist Aryeh King.
  • The ultra-Orthodox are represented by three lists, which are competing amongst themselves for much of the Haredi vote. These lists traditionally win the largest factions in the Council, by far.
  • There are a number of centrist lists, the most prominent of which are Ofer Berkowitz’s movement “Hitorirut” and Rachel Azariah’s faction “Yerushalmim” (Jerusalemites). In the current elections, Azariah’s faction has joined Elkin’s list.
  • Finally, there is Ramadan Dabash’s Palestinian List (Jerusalem for Jerusalemites), which we will discuss more fully below.
3.3 The Israeli Candidates/Parties, and the Palestinian Sector

It is noteworthy that with the sole exception of Dabash’s Palestinian list, none of the candidates or lists is carrying out any kind of election campaign among the Palestinians of East Jerusalem; indeed, Teddy Kollek was the last Israeli politician to try to do so in any meaningful way.

What this means is that the election campaigns only rarely relate to the Palestinians, and when they do, it is in two distinct ways. Right-wing parties regularly boast of their commitment to maintaining “Jewish Jerusalem” and an “undivided capital” – issues largely ignored by the other parties. Other parties on occasion will make cursory mention of the need to improve the notoriously poor services in East Jerusalem, with only Meretz and, to a lesser extent, Hitorirut addressing this issue more seriously. Across the board there is no outreach whatsoever to the Palestinian sector, and little mention of them in the election campaign.

In addition, it is important to note that the settler activities in East Jerusalem have a large and increasingly problematic impact on the Palestinian residents. In recent years, the Municipality has done the bidding of the settler movements – Elad and Ateret Cohanim. It is the settler agenda that often drives policy regarding settlements and settler related projects. All of the candidates for mayor will likely continue these policies, with only Berkowitz potentially less aggressive in pursuing them. Among the lists, only Meretz displays genuine opposition to the settlements, and they have little or no impact on policy.
4. The Palestinian Candidates & their Lists for Municipal Council

In the current elections, two Palestinian candidates/lists generated an unprecedented level of interest in Palestinian East Jerusalem and beyond. As of this writing, only one of these remains in the race, but much can be learned from both.

4.1 Aziz Abu Sara

Aziz Abu Sara is a 38 year-old Palestinian activist, journalist and entrepreneur, who early on in this election cycle announced his candidacy for mayor. His campaign went through a number of stages: initially, he headed a joint list of Palestinians and Israelis. When it appeared that such a joint list was not going down well among Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, he reorganized it as an exclusively Palestinian list, quietly backed and supported by a small cadre of left-wing Israelis. Subsequently, at the end of September, Abu Sara withdrew both his own candidacy and his list.

Abu Sara was never coy about his candidacy. He presented himself openly as a proud Palestinian with a clear national agenda, who sought to shake things up. In this context, “shaking things up” meant a number of things: breaking the taboo on Palestinian participation in elections; trying to present what he saw as a new, pragmatic strategy geared to protect and advance Palestinian equities and interests in the city; using elections to expose the inherent dysfunctionality of East Jerusalem and the appalling situation of the Palestinians living under Israeli rule, etc.

Having no illusions about the fundamental hostility and apathy of official Israel towards East Jerusalem’s Palestinians, Abu Sara asserted that there was clear potential that significant participation in the elections could change that. Predicting his list could bring out 20% of Palestinian eligible voters, he claimed municipal policies could be changed without their becoming “sell-outs” or “collaborators.” Fluent in both Hebrew and Arabic, Abu Sara asserted that he was uniquely positioned to initiate and lead these changes.

In a way, and with all the necessary caveats attached, Abu Sara was proposing a small-scale dry-run for one state, in which both Israelis and Palestinians could achieve their respective collective goals within the framework of a single shared political community.

Abu Sara clearly achieved his goal of shaking up the discourse about the elections, not only among the Palestinians, but also within Israel and in the international community. However, from the outset, there was one major problem with his candidacy: it was not, nor could it ever have become a serious candidacy in which Abu Sara’s name would actually appear on the ballot.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem are entitled to vote for mayor, and to both vote for and run for the Municipal Council. But only citizens of Israel may run for Mayor, and Abu Sara is not a citizen.

Abu Sara was of course aware of this from the outset, and declared his intention of appealing to Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the regulation that requires citizenship as a condition for becoming mayor. His claim that the denial of the right to run for this office is blatantly undemocratic has compelling moral and political validity – but little basis in law. The requirement that a candidate for mayor be a citizen of Israel derives from explicit and unequivocal Knesset legislation, and the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning such legislation is so remote as to be virtually non-existent. Consequently, there was never any chance that Abu Sara’s name would appear on the ballot for mayor (as opposed to being a candidate at the head of a list, which was both legal and eminently possible).

In discussions with this author, Abu Sara took exception to this conclusion, but in any event the issue is now moot: at the end of September, Abu Sara withdrew both his candidacy for mayor and his list, citing two causes: threats by the Israeli authorities that his residency rights in Jerusalem were in jeopardy, and intimidation, threats and pressure exerted within Palestinian society directed at himself and those on his list. Abu Sara had sought the blessing of both the Palestinian Knesset members and the Palestinian leadership in East Jerusalem and Ramallah. While the former simply turned him down, the latter actively opposed his candidacy. The mufti of Jerusalem issued a fatwa (legal opinion) forbidding participation in the elections, and various church leaders took the same position.

There can be little doubt that Abu Sara was subject to both of these pressures, but it is questionable that Israeli authorities’ challenge to his residency rights was related directly or only to his candidacy, given that they had no reason to view his candidacy as a threat (to the extent it was at all taken seriously). On the contrary, Israel has a clear interest in Palestinian participation in the elections, participation that would be no doubt touted as incontrovertible proof that Palestinians really prefer Israeli rule in a “united Jerusalem” to a possible future under Palestinian rule.

That said, it is not inconceivable that some official or officials came to view Abu Sara as a trouble-maker, or sought to improve the electoral prospects of the second Palestinian candidate, Ramadan Dabash (see below), who is viewed as being very “pro-Israel”.  Regardless, while the threat to Abu Sara is real and deeply troubling, a Palestinian need not be a candidate for mayor for the Israeli authorities to gratuitously target his or her residency rights. Indeed, stripping or threatening to strip Palestinians of their residency rights is one of the most egregious manifestations of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem.

In contrast, pressure on Abu Sara from within Palestinian society and the Palestinian Authority is directly and undeniably linked to his candidacy. Is this a new phenomenon? Yes and no. Social pressure and implied threats clearly have played a role over the years in the low voter turnouts. At the same time, the pressure experienced by Abu Sara was more severe and more blatant than in the past, at least in part because there is no precedent of a Palestinian running for mayor, and no Palestinian candidacy for the Municipal Council has ever obtained the same high profile and generated the intense discussions as Abu Sara. In short, it appears likely that Abu Sara fell victim to his own success in “shaking things up”.

Abu Sara has announced his support for the second Palestinian list, headed by Ramadan Dabash, to whom our attention will now turn.

4.2 Ramadan Dabash

Ramadan Dabash is a resident of Sur Bahir, and is one of the neighborhood’s mukhtars (leaders) and the head of its community center. Dabash heads a list called “Jerusalem for Jerusalemites,” which focuses on securing municipal services for the Palestinian sector of Jerusalem.

As head of the local community center, he has unapologetically associated himself with the Israeli establishment. Dabash has successfully served as an intermediary in securing some municipal projects and services for Sur Bahir. In 2014, Dabash joined the Likud party, subsequently leaving it because belonging to a right-wing Israeli party presented problematic political optics for him among residents of East Jerusalem. At one point he went so far as to write on his Hebrew website (but not on his Arabic website) that “Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, and it is good that it is”; after apparently having second thoughts, he removed the last six words, while leaving the beginning of the sentence intact.

Dabash is a citizen of Israel, being one of the small number of Palestinian residents of the city who has applied for and received citizenship (he secured citizenship for himself and his family in 1995). As such, unlike Abu Sara, Dabash could run for mayor; however, he has opted not to do so, instead only heading his list.

Like Abu Sara, Dabash and members of his list have received threats. When called a traitor or a collaborator, he nonchalantly responds that he doesn’t care. However, in recent days there have been reports that as a result of such pressures, members of his list have withdrawn their candidacy.  As of this writing, it appears that the Dabash list remains in the race – but it may well be that he alone IS the list, with no one else on it.

Like Abu Sara, the Dabash list has also generated a good deal of interest among Israelis and in the international community, and given rise to some pretty far-reaching, if not far-fetched, speculation. His profile in the New York Times bore the headline “The First Palestinian in Jerusalem’s City Hall?” and Dabash himself declared his hope of being appointed Deputy Mayor. Is this possible? Certainly. Is it likely? Hardly. If there were to be a 500% surge in Palestinian turnout in the upcoming elections, and if Dabash gets 100% of that vote, he would be a shoe-in. But the likelihood of such a voter surge is low, and in the past, those Palestinians who did participate in Jerusalem elections voted for Israeli lists, rather than for the few Palestinian lists that periodically cropped up.
5. The Impact of the Election Boycott

Since 1967, there has been no Palestinian member of the Municipal Council, not one Palestinian on the Planning Committees, not one Palestinian serving as a senior official in the Jerusalem Municipality, and only a handful in mid-echelon positions.

The Palestinians of East Jerusalem are approximately 38% of the populace, yet receive only 10-12% of the Jerusalem Municipal budget. There is a notoriously low level of governmental and municipal services: from trash collection to the shortfall of 2,000 classrooms in the Palestinian sector, to the year-long lines to obtain travel documents, to the absence of park space.

The knee-jerk cry of “racism” as the cause of all of these phenomena fails to get to the heart of the matter. While these discriminatory policies are indeed grounded at times in racist motivations, the phenomena of such discrepancies in budgets and services would likely persist even if absent such motivations, reflecting instead an ironclad rule of politics: politicians and senior civil servants will rarely if ever allocate anything – be it time, effort, budgets, or entitlements – to those who do not vote.

The interface between Israel’s categorical rejection of Palestinian political rights to vote for the Knesset, and Palestinians’ refusal to accept the limited, individualized personal rights entailed by voting in municipal elections, makes this grossly discriminatory result virtually inevitable.

In short, the Palestinians pay dearly for their boycott of the elections, and are fully aware of it.
6. Why Don’t the Palestinians Vote in the Municipal Elections?

Even after an examination of the dynamics of Palestinian non-participation in the Jerusalem elections, and considering the price they pay for this boycott, there is no single or clear answer to the question: why are they are not voting? Indeed, the roots of the Palestinian boycott of Jerusalem elections are complex, reflecting both societal dynamics deeper political currents that go to the core of what it means to be a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem.

6.1 Fear and intimidation?

We have already noted that both Palestinian lists for the 2018 Jerusalem elections have been the target of threats and intimidation. This raises the question: is it similar threats that deter Palestinians from voting?

During election campaigns, there has been a notable absence of visible or public campaigns warning Palestinians not to vote. Likewise, election day monitoring in East Jerusalem has not witnessed blatant or visible intimidation, either in the media, or from mosques, or around voting stations. When asked, those casting a ballot claimed not to have encountered threats. In short, while it is clear the social pressure has an impact on the levels of participation, it appears to be a contributory rather than a decisive factor.

6.2 Taking orders?

This obverse of this question is: who, if anyone, has the authority and the influence to tell Palestinians to vote or not to vote? The answer may be found not in the results of Jerusalem Municipal elections, but in those of the 2005 Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem.

In 2005, there were elections for the President of the Palestinian Authority. There were approximately 100,000 eligible Palestinian voters in East Jerusalem. The PA encouraged them to vote, and Israel actually expedited the voting process by opening checkpoints on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Sharon government adopted a resolution assuring that no negative consequences would befall any Palestinian who cast a ballot.

Of those 100,000 eligible voters, fewer than 6% actually cast a ballot. In short, even under circumstances where there was active encouragement from the Palestinian leadership and no intimidation, the Palestinians of East Jerusalem did not turn out in large numbers.

The causes of the alienation of East Jerusalemites from the institutions of the PA are complex, and go beyond the scope of our discussion. However, these results suggest strongly that no one individual, nor any collective leadership, has the ability to give the Palestinians of East Jerusalem marching orders when it comes to voting or not voting. Again, the most significant underlying causes of this boycott lie elsewhere.

6.3 Israeli deterrence?

On occasion, there have been accusations that Israel is deterring Palestinians from voting. The latest example relates to the number of locations and polling stations allocated to the Palestinian sector.
In the run-up to the upcoming elections, the Jerusalem Municipality provided for six polling locations in East Jerusalem, as opposed to 187 polling locations in Israeli Jerusalem. Prominent Jerusalem analyst, Yair Asaf Shapira of the Jerusalem institute noted:

“You look at this figure and you check it again and again and you can’t believe what you’re seeing. The fact that they don’t vote apparently serves as a good pretext for preventing them from voting. What this means is that you’re depriving the few who do want to vote of the right to do so.”

Under pressure (particularly from Palestinian candidate Ramadan Dabash), the number of polling locations was increased to 21 in which there will be 159 polling stations (booths), as opposed to 187 locations with 691 polling booths in Israeli Jerusalem.

Does this prove that Israel is seeking to deter Palestinians from voting?  In all likelihood, the reason is much more prosaic: in the 2013, there were 122 polling stations (booths) in East Jerusalem. While many hundreds of Israelis cast a ballot in each of the polling stations in Israeli Jerusalem, only 13 Palestinian voters cast a ballot in each of the stations in East Jerusalem. It appears likely that the small Palestinian turnout led to the initial decision, now reversed, to reduce the number of polling stations in 2018.

Despite the problematic optics, not to mention potential impacts, of having a disparity in the number of polling stations between East and West Jerusalem, there is little reason to conclude it reflects a deliberate Israeli attempt to reduce the numbers of Palestinian voters, or that it will have a significant impact. On the contrary, Israel clearly has an interest in greater numbers of Palestinians participating in the elections. While the Municipality does not appear to be willing to make any effort to get out the vote, large numbers of Palestinian voters would only enhance the legitimacy of the Municipality and of Israeli rule.

6.4 Underlying Causes.

In order to grasp the underlying causes of the Palestinian boycott of municipal elections, it is helpful to examine analogous situations wherein Palestinians have chosen to sustain significant material harm. We have identified three such parallels:
  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated about 33% of the Palestinian privately owned land in East Jerusalem. It has subsequently built more than 55,000 residential units for Israelis in large settlement neighborhoods built on the expropriated lands. Israeli law provides for monetary compensation for owners of the expropriated land. Even though the loss of these lands deprived Palestinian landowners of a deeply prized and objectively valuable asset, virtually no Palestinians agreed to accept compensation.
  • After the 1967 war, Israel tried to impose its curriculum on the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, sparking a revolt. For four years, Palestinian parents boycotted the municipal schools. Ultimately Israel capitulated, and the curriculum taught in official Israeli schools is the curriculum of the Palestinian Authority. In recent years, attempts by Israel to change that curriculum to make it more consistent with the Israeli historical narrative has encountered strong Palestinian opposition, despite Israel offering material incentives if the new curriculum is adopted.
  • As noted, the Palestinians of East Jerusalem are not citizens of Israel, but instead are permanent residents. They are, however, entitled to apply for Israeli citizenship, and there are incentives to do so: the rights and entitlement that accompany citizenship far exceed the limited, conditional rights associated with permanent residency. There have been over 500,000 Palestinians who have resided in East Jerusalem since 1967. Of these, approximately 15,000 have applied for citizenship (with 5,500 receiving it). The remaining 97% of Palestinians have refrained from applying.
A very clear pattern emerges from these examples, and from the Palestinian boycott of East Jerusalem elections. On the one hand, Palestinians of East Jerusalem need to navigate the dialectic of adaptation to Israeli rule, fending for themselves and availing themselves of various entitlements extended to them by Israel (e.g., health care, social welfare payments, the ability to travel through Ben Gurion Airport, etc). On the other hand, they are committed to resistance to Israeli rule and refuse to barter in their national identity, meaning they continually reject any right or entitlement, regardless of cost, the acceptance of which would signal acquiescence to the legitimacy of Israeli rule.

So why don’t Palestinians vote in East Jerusalem elections, given the high costs it entails for them? Because the political act of voting – perhaps more than any other action – symbolizes such acquiescence.
Moreover, it would be viewed by Israel and the world as an act of neutering their own aspirations for political self-determination and of distancing themselves from their Palestinian compatriots in the West Bank.
7. 1967 vs. 1948

It is interesting in this context to compare the situation of Palestinian citizens of Israel and that of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. National collectives need a banner, and the distinction between the respective banners of these two groups is stark.

Palestinian citizens of Israel aspire to attain their fair share of their rights, entitlements and resources within Israeli society, in a manner compatible with their national identity.. The key operative word for Palestinian citizens of Israel is “equality.”

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, in contrast, aspire not to their fair share of Israel, but to ending Israeli rule over them. Hence, the key operative word for East Jerusalemites is not “equality” but “occupation.” With this context in mind, it becomes abundantly clear both why Abu Sara’s campaign failed to galvanize support or enthusiasm among East Jerusalemites, and why Abu Sara’s attempt to obtain the support of Arab Knesset members was emphatically rejected. Abu Sara attempted to bridge the chasm between adaptation and resistance.  He was unable to satisfy the aspirations of either of the two – the adapters or the resisters – and inevitably failed.

The events of the past year have only served to sharpen the horns of this dilemma. There have been a number of Jerusalem-related events – the move of the U.S. Embassy, the de-funding of UNRWA and Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, etc. – that have a common denominator: they are perceived by the Palestinians of East Jerusalem as sending the messages that, in the eyes of the U.S. and Israel, Israelis matter, Palestinians don’t. In effect, with Jerusalem “off the table,” the Palestinians of East Jerusalem are being coerced into acquiescing to the supremacy and irreversibility of Israeli rule, and to their status as a barely tolerated minority whose rights hang by a thread.

Some Palestinians may well respond to the current context by saying: “We need to face this new reality, acknowledge our defeat and take care of ourselves.” Far more will likely respond: “History has left us no choice but to be reluctant vanguards who will resist the loss of Al Quds to the Palestinians, and to the Arab and Muslim worlds.” If the former will be on the ascendancy in these election, we will witness a surge in the levels of Palestinian participation; if the latter dominate, there will be little or no change in the voting patterns.
8. Do the Election Results Really Matter in Relation to East Jerusalem?

Will the election results actually make a difference for the Palestinians of East Jerusalem? That will of course depend in large part on the voter turnout among them. However, even if there would be a surge of several hundred per cent in the numbers of Palestinians casting a ballot, we can envisage no scenario in which the electoral impact of that vote will be so significant as to cause the next Mayor and Municipal Council to treat the Palestinian as a genuine constituency. On that assumption, we can only conclude that any impact on municipal policies after these election will likely be in the margins, but not adding up to a fundamental change.

Most of the important powers regarding Jerusalem – e.g., settlement expansion, residency rights, construction – are vested in the central government, not the municipality. There are four key areas in which the municipality has genuine authority: part of the planning process (such as the issuance of building permits), elementary schools (not high schools), home demolitions, and the allocation of municipal services.

There are clearly stylistic differences among the candidates. For example, Berkowitz would possibly be less aggressive than Elkin regarding the numbers of home demolitions, and perhaps more willing to apply the rule of law to settlers (in contrast to current mayor Nir Barkat, who has flagrantly disobeyed a court order compelling the municipality to evacuate an illegally-built settler house in Silwan).

However, regardless of the election results, there will still be no Palestinian representatives on the planning boards, and it will still be next to impossible for a Palestinian to obtain a building permit. The planning boards will continue to do the bidding of the settlers, and the municipality will continue to carry out settler related projects.

As noted earlier, the Palestinians of East Jerusalem receive a fraction of those services extended to the Israeli sector. Jerusalem is the poorest city in the country, with a very small tax base. The municipality would be insolvent were it not for a periodic infusion of funds from the central government. Berkowitz has expressed his desire to narrow the gap in these services between East and West Jerusalem, and he made some efforts in that direction when serving as Deputy Mayor under Barkat. However, in order to do so, he would need to take already limited budgets away from those who vote, and transfer them to those who don’t. Past experience indicates that the prospect of this happening is extremely limited. The municipal neglect of Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem is inherent in the very nature of Israeli rule over non-citizens who view themselves as living under occupation, and even the good will of key decision-makers will likely have only a limited impact.

Consequently, regardless of the election results, it is almost certain that the municipal policies will continue to be driven by the settler “DNA”, and will assist the central government in large scale settlement schemes. With minor variations, the Palestinians of East Jerusalem will continue to languish in the municipal neglect that has characterized the 51 years of Israeli rule.
9. What to look for on Election Day?

There will be three things to watch for on Election Day, as measures of trends in Palestinian voting in East Jerusalem:
  • Has there been any significant increase in the voter turnout among Jerusalem’s Palestinians, and if so, what are the patterns of that shift?
  • In terms of lists, how did the Ramadan Dabash’s Palestinian list fare? And how many votes did the Israeli candidates/lists receive from the Palestinian sector?
  • Is there anything in the election results that portends a change, large or small, in the Jerusalem’s Municipality’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem?
10. Predictions/Outlook

Given the number of unknowns and variables in the current election cycle, and the fact that we do not purport to be pollsters aspiring to anticipate the outcome, there is no reason for us to try and predict the results. Let’s wait and see.

However, we can say, based on the analysis above, that we are deeply skeptical about the possibility of any kind of “game-changing” shifts in the Palestinian voting numbers, their patterns and the impact of the vote. Our approach can best be summarized by this story:

In the 1980s, an already elderly Teddy Kollek was caught on camera taking long strides down the stairs leading to the Old City’s Damascus Gate. A Palestinian shopkeeper raced up to him, and, embracing him, exclaimed: “Teddy!! We all love you.” Kollek responded: “That may be the case, but it won’t do me any good, and it won’t do you any good.”

29/2/2020 This is Not a Drill: Givat Hamatos,E-1, Har Homa and Atarot Settlement Announcements


7/2/2020 Jerusalem and the Deal of the Century


17/12/2019 Expansion of Nof Zion in the heart of Jabal Mukkaber


17/12/2019 Renewed effort to advance Atarot settlement


17/12/2019 The prospect of the approval of E-1 and the demolition of Khan al Ahmar has just become more serious


17/12/2019 Court decision suspending the sale of three church properties to the settlers


4/12/2019 The Baffling Siege of Issawiya


4/12/2019 Final approval of the Old City Aerial Cable Car plan


4/12/2019 B’selem report: A pick number of house demolitions in East Jerusalem in 2019


4/12/2019 Tensions in Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif: Cyclical, with a Difference


4/12/2019 The impact of Israel’s political crisis on potential developments in Jerusalem




6/8/2019 The Inauguration of Silwan Tunnel: Background and Ramifications


9/7/2019 Is Netanyahu Displaying Restraint? The Cases of Khan al Ahmar, Givat Hamatos and E-1


9/7/2019 Systemic collective punishment and severe clashes in Issawiya


9/7/2019 The Wadi Hummus demolitions: unlike anything witnessed to date


9/7/2019 Clashes on Temple Mount/Haram El Sharif at the end of Ramadan/Jerusalem Day


9/7/2019 Final ruling validates the lease of three properties to settlers group at the Jaffa Gate


3/4/2019 Bab al Rahme - Tensions continue


3/4/2019 Joint statement of Pope Francis and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI


3/4/2019 Political pressure to demolish Khan Al Ahmar


3/4/2019 Demolitions in Shuafat


3/4/2019 The Jerusalem municipality and Elad jointly advance the expansion of Elad’s activities in Abu Tor


3/4/2019 Opening of trade offices in Jerusalem


28/2/2019 Jerusalem & the 2019 Israeli Elections Campaign


28/1/2019 Opening of the Segregated Road in Greater Jerusalem: A Major Step Towards de facto Annexation of Area C


28/1/2019 Accelerating the Pace for Construction of E-2


28/1/2019 Imminent Eviction in Sheikh Jarrah: The Sabbagh Family


28/1/2019 The Jerusalem Aerial Cable Car: Plan Deposited for Public Review


21/12/2018 Reflections on Jerusalem, One Year After Trump Policy Shift


21/12/2018 Australia & The Perils of Recognition in Jerusalem


21/12/2018 Moving Embassies - Is Brazil Next?


21/12/2018 Bullying the World to Accept "Undivided Jerusalem" Mantra


21/12/2018 A New Jerusalem Compound for Foreign Embassies?


26/11/2018 The 2018 Jerusalem Municipal Elections: Highlights & Lessons


26/11/2018 The Closure of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem


26/11/2018 A Pattern of New & Troubling Developments


17/10/2018 Elections in Jerusalem 2018: The Palestinian Dimension


11/9/2018 A Final Ruling on Khan Al-Ahmar: implications and next steps


11/9/2018 US Cuts Off Funding for East Jerusalem Hospitals


11/9/2018 Jerusalem Mayor Threatens to Expel UNRWA


11/9/2018 The High Holidays: Keeping a close eye on the Temple Mount


21/8/2018 Tenders published for 603 new units in Ramat Shlomo


21/8/2018 Temple Mt/Haram al Sharif: Jewish Visits - & Tensions - Increase


21/8/2018 Israeli Govt Opens Jewish “Heritage Center” in the heart of Silwan


21/8/2018 Khan Al Ahmar Update: Recent Developments


21/8/2018 Municipality Announces New Deal for 20k units in Jerusalem


17/7/2018 Major New Plans Approved for Pisgat Ze'ev


17/7/2018 Khan al-Ahmar Demolition Postponed


17/7/2018 Renewed Visits by MKs to the Temple Mt/Haram al-Sharif


17/7/2018 Continued Settler Efforts to Increase Construction in Silwan


20/6/2018 The Trump “Peace Plan” & Jerusalem


20/6/2018 The impact [so far] of the Transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem


20/6/2018 Updates: Khan al Ahmar, Temple Mt during Ramadan, Batan al Hawa/Silwan


3/5/2018 UNESCO’s Latest Jerusalem Resolution - Delayed & Dampened, by Consensus


29/4/2018 The Changing Status Quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif - Trends & Implications


29/4/2018 US Embassy Opening - Where Things Stand & Implications


23/3/2018 The Israeli Government’s Creation of a Settler Realm in and around Jerusalem’s Old City


21/2/2018 Why Is Jerusalem Municipality Targeting UN & Churches for Taxes?


21/2/2018 The Site for the New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem: What You Need to Know (So Far)


21/2/2018 A New Neighborhood to Expand the Footprint of the settlement of Gilo


21/2/2018 New Checkpoint Cuts off Al-Walajeh from Lands & Spring


19/1/2018 Trump’s Jerusalem Decision & Its Aftermath


19/1/2018 New Law to Prevent Future Compromise on Jerusalem


19/1/2018 Pressure Mounts to Advance Greater Jerusalem bill


19/1/2018 New bill to Revoke Residency of Jerusalem Palestinians


19/1/2018 Another JNF-Linked Eviction Looms in Silwan


19/1/2018 Disney-fication proceeds: Jerusalem Cable Car and Footbridge


19/1/2018 New Jerusalem “Trump Train Station”?


19/1/2018 Demolitions in East Jerusalem


19/1/2018 More Jews Going to the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


14/12/2017 Trump's New Jerusalem Policy: Early Assessment


13/12/2017 Will Jerusalem Recognition Beget Sustained, Serious Violence? Too Soon to Say.


13/12/2017 Amendment to Jerusalem Basic Law Moves Forward


13/12/2017 Planned Demolitions in Kafr Aqab


13/12/2017 Historic Basin Cable Car Project Advances


13/12/2017 Another Jerusalem-Area Bedouin Community Under Threat


13/12/2017 Tightening the Noose Around Walajeh


30/10/2017 Bibi Blinks on Greater Jerusalem Bill; July 1 - Oct 30 EJ Settlements Chronology


3/10/2017 Imminent Threat: Green Light for Givat Hamatos


3/10/2017 Imminent Threat: Potential War Crime; de facto Annexation and New Settlement Construction (Ma’ale Adumim/E-1)


3/10/2017 Uptick is Settlement Displacements: Shamasneh Family Evicted


3/10/2017 Expansion of Nof Zion on the Agenda


10/8/2017 Netanyahu Unshackled: New and dangerous terms of engagement in Jerusalem


10/8/2017 The Latest Temple Mt/Haram al-Sharif Crisis: A Provisional Post-Mortem


10/8/2017 Pending Jerusalem Legislative Initiatives: Strategic Shifts in Current Status & Potential Political Future of Jerusalem


10/8/2017 East Jerusalem Settlements -- APPROVED


21/7/2017 Major New Crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


21/7/2017 New Life for Major Settlement Plan to Connect Adam (West Bank) to EJ's Neve Yaacov


21/7/2017 Proposed Amendment of Jerusalem Basic Law


21/7/2017 UNESCO’s Resolution on Hebron


5/7/2017 The Settlement Floodgates Have Been Opened


5/6/2017 Trump Signs Waiver, Postponing Embassy Move


5/6/2017 Trump Visit & Jerusalem Day: Before, During, & After


5/6/2017 Cabinet Approves Projects for Old City, Historic Basin, & East Jerusalem (Inside the Barrier)


5/6/2017 Jordan's Growing Discontent with Israeli Provocations Over the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif


5/6/2017 Danny Seidemann in Haaretz: Trump Exposed the Fantasy of Netanyahu's 'Undivided Jerusalem'


5/5/2017 URGENT/BREAKING NEWS: Imminent Tenders for Givat Hamatos


5/5/2017 Imminent Announcements: Atarot & Ramat Shlomo


5/5/2017 New Settler “Visitors’ Center” in Ras El Amud


5/5/2017 The New UNESCO Resolution & Jerusalem


28/3/2017 Working Toward a New US-Israel Understanding on Settlements


28/3/2017 Tensions Growing [again] Focused on Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


28/3/2017 Palestinian Residency Rights: Important Court Ruling


24/2/2017 Limiting Settlement Construction to the "Blocs" - Implications for Jerusalem


24/2/2017 To Move, or Not to Move (the Embassy), That is the Question


24/2/2017 Paving the way for annexation?


24/2/2017 Work Starting on Eastern Ring Road?


24/1/2017 East Jerusalem Settlement Activity & the Onset of the Trump Era: What to Watch


5/1/2017 Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: A Hard Look at the Arguments & Implications


14/12/2016 Update on Israeli Govt-Proposed Law to Muzzle Muslim Call to Prayer


14/12/2016 Rumors & Lobbying Around Possible US Embassy Relocation to Jerusalem


14/12/2016 Netanyahu Rejects Police Recommendations to Tweak Temple Mt Status Quo


14/12/2016 Batan al-Hawa - New B'tselem Report on Settler Activities


14/12/2016 Final Approval of Gilo Expansion - 770 New Units (Mordot Gilo South)


30/11/2016 Insights/analysis on UNESCO resolutions on the Old City & its Walls


30/11/2016 Re: Reported Demolitions at Jerusalem's Bab Al-Rahma Cemetery


30/11/2016 Plan to Connect Tel Aviv to the Western Wall


30/11/2016 2016 Jewish High Holidays: Record number of Jewish visitors on Temple Mount/Haram El Sharif


28/11/2016 The American Role: Interregnum & Post-January 20, 2016


28/11/2016 Ban on Mosque Morning Call to Prayer


28/11/2016 Turning Jeruasalem Palestinians into “Human Shields” Against Outpost Evacuations


28/11/2016 Announcement of Construction Plan in Mordot Gilo


28/11/2016 OCHA report: 180 Palestinian households at risks of eviction in East Jerusalem


28/11/2016 Approval of 500 units in Ramat Shlomo


28/11/2016 State Comptroller’s Report on Elad


30/9/2016 On the Eve of the New Year – A Different & Dangerous Jerusalem


15/8/2016 Government Actively Advancing E-2


15/8/2016 Back in the Headlines: Plans for 2500 Units South of Gilo


15/8/2016 Tisha B'Av Incitement Re: The Temple Mount


15/8/2016 Deepening the Occupation in East Jerusalem


5/8/2016 Settlement Announcements - July 2016


5/8/2016 The Uptick in East Jerusalem Demolitions


5/8/2016 Israeli Govt: "The Mt of Olives will be Reinforced as a Visitors' Site"


5/8/2016 Ma'ale Adumim Annexation bill


8/7/2016 Full Analysis of the Latest East Jerusalem Announcements/Approvals


28/6/2016 A new settlement enclave in Silwan – Batan al Hawa


28/6/2016 ?The end of quiet on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


28/6/2016 The Wrong Way to Divide Jerusalem


3/6/2016 Proposed Annexation of Maale Adumim


3/6/2016 East Jerusalem: Emerging Patterns


2/6/2016 Keeping a Close Eye on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


22/1/2016 Church Attacked (Again) in Jerusalem


22/1/2016 Herzog proposes De-Annexing Some Parts of East Jerusalem


30/12/2015 Revealed in Newly-Released Documents: Massive Planning Advancing for Settlements


29/12/2015 Understanding "Status Quo" on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


9/11/2015 What's Been Going On in Jerusalem? Danny Seidemann Analysis


9/11/2015 What's Going On? Senior IDF Officials Weigh In.


9/11/2015 Recent East Jerusalem Settlement Developments


9/11/2015 East Jerusalem Security Situation - by the numbers


9/11/2015 EJ Security Situation - Plans to Revoke Palestinians' Residency?


9/11/2015 EJ Security Situation - Security Measures on the Ground


9/11/2015 EJ Security Situation - Home Demolitions


22/9/2015 Jerusalem & the Temple Mount: A New Dangerous Escalation


13/8/2015 Imminent New Settlement Enclave in Silwan


13/8/2015 E. Jerusalem (partial) Settlement Freeze May Soon Defrost


13/8/2015 Troubling Developments on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif


22/5/2015 What We Can Learn from Jerusalem Day 2015


22/5/2015 Latest Settlement Tenders in East Jerusalem - Ramat Shlomo & Givat Zeev


22/5/2015 ?E-1 Looming


22/5/2015 East Jerusalem Simmers


29/4/2015 New & Recycled East Jerusalem Settlement Tenders


29/4/2015 High Court Rules on Absentee Property Law in Jerusalem


29/4/2015 Good News: IDF Colleges NOT Moving to Mount of Olives; Holy Basin Cable Car Plan Stalled


29/4/2015 Approval (but only sort of) of New Palestinian Construction in East Jerusalem


29/4/2015 Some Palestinian Cars Allowed in East Jerusalem


29/4/2015 Palestinian Security Forces (not really) allowed in East Jerusalem


14/1/2015 East Jerusalem at the Beginning of 2015: Things to Watch


3/11/2014 Attempted Assassination Raises the Stakes at the Temple Mount


3/11/2014 Reasons Behind Escalating Temple Mount Crisis


3/11/2014 Bibi's New Settlement Initiative - Ramat Shlomo & Har Homa


3/11/2014 More Settler Takeovers in Another Part of Silwan


2/10/2014 Netanyahu Cannot Evade Responsibility for Givat Hamatos Approval & Silwan Takeovers


1/10/2014 Breaking & Urgent News: Givat Hamatos Approved


30/9/2014 Major Development: In Overnight Operation, Settlers Take Over Multiple Buildings in Silwan


18/9/2014 Specter of E-1 Raised by Plan to Relocate Bedouin


18/9/2014 Looming Crisis in East Jerusalem - Givat Hamatos


17/9/2014 East Jerusalem Clashes Continue


9/9/2014 East Jerusalem Aflame


4/9/2014 The Real Story about those new units "approved" for Palestinians in East Jerusalem


26/8/2014 Gilo Tenders Awarded, but (for now) EJ Settlement Freeze Continues


19/5/2014 Jerusalem Settlements - The (Proximate, Contributing) Cause of the Collapse


19/5/2014 Post-Collapse - De Facto Freeze in East Jerusalem, But the Lull Won’t Last


19/5/2014 Are We Sliding Toward Religious War? A Brief Survey of Key Jerusalem Developments/Trends


5/3/2014 Framework Language and Jerusalem: Gimmicks Are NOT the Answer


5/3/2014 New Israeli Yeshiva Downtown Sheikh Jarrah


5/3/2014 Playing with Fire, Part 2: Elad Set to Gain Control of Area Adjacent to the Temple Mt/Haram al Sharif


5/3/2014 Playing with Fire, Part 1: Debating the Status Quo on the Temple Mount


3/3/2014 Demolition orders in E-1


9/1/2014 New Seidemann Op-Ed in the Guardian: The myth of an undivided Jerusalem is collapsing under its own weight


12/12/2013 Danny Seidemann Injured by Stone-Thrower - Condition Update & Comment


12/12/2013 East Jerusalem Settlements since the Resumption of Talks: the Facts & their Implications


12/12/2013 The [Apparent] Re-Emergence of the “Greater Jerusalem” Gimmick


12/12/2013 Post-Script: Those Planning Tenders for 24,000 New Settlement Units


27/8/2013 Ramat Shlomo Back in the Headlines


27/8/2013 Funding Approved for Settler-Run Projects in Silwan and Jebel Mukabber


27/8/2013 Three Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in Qalandia RC


27/8/2013 ?Uptick in East Jerusalem Home Demolitions


19/8/2013 Pyromaniacs Target the Temple Mount


19/8/2013 Jerusalem Residency Concerns Resurface


19/8/2013 New Pro-Settlement Guidelines on Absentee Property Law


19/8/2013 A U.S. Court Rules on Jerusalem


16/8/2013 Timeline/details of Recent Jerusalem-Related Settlement Developments


16/8/2013 Bibi, Settlements & Peace Talks -- Analysis


13/6/2013 The A-Zayyem/Mount of Olives Interchange, Plan 14049


13/6/2013 Tenders Awarded for Ramot Expansion, Additional Tenders for Mordot Gilo


13/6/2013 Everything You Need to Know About Jerusalem & the Absentee Property Law


7/5/2013 The IDF Colleges on the Mt. of Olives Off the Agenda, Again


7/5/2013 Plans Published for Old City Cable Car


7/5/2013 Sharansky Plan Hits a Wall, no pun intended


7/5/2013 The Wall/Barrier vs. Cremisan & Beit Jala


5/5/2013 Spatial Shaping in J'lem Continues with Opening of Route 20


24/4/2013 Concerns about Proposed “Solution” to Women’s Prayer Issue at the Western Wall


22/4/2013 The Politics of Waste Treatment in East Jerusalem


15/4/2013 Fifty New Units in East Talpiot


14/1/2013 E-1/Bab ash-Shams: What Happened, What it Means, What Next


28/12/2012 Mordot Gilo South - APPROVED


19/12/2012 Givat Hamatos APPROVED - What it Means


17/12/2012 Breaking News - Approvals this week - Ramat Shlomo & Givat Hamatos


5/12/2012 The E-1 Crisis...This Is Not a Drill


6/11/2012 More than 1200 New Tenders Issued for Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot


31/10/2012 New Construction Approved in Har Homa


30/10/2012 New East Jerusalem Settlement Construction Approved - East Talpiot units for Israeli Security Personnel


24/10/2012 Mordot Gilo Construction Approved


24/10/2012 Plans for IDF Colleges on Mt. of Olives Deposited for Public Review & Explanation of Location


24/10/2012 Taking the Garbage to East Jerusalem


24/10/2012 Is the Palestinian Population of East Jerusalem Becoming More Israeli -- No


24/10/2012 Pisgat Zeev in the News


18/10/2012 Crisis Brewing on the Temple Mount


17/9/2012 Jerusalem, Netanyahu and the two-state solution


16/9/2012 Issue to watch: East Jerusalem Home Demolitions


16/9/2012 Attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem – Sign of the “Hebronization” of the City


16/9/2012 Jerusalem in the Headlines: Ras al-Amud, Temple Mount, the Barrier, Elad, & Har Homa


15/9/2012 Jerusalem: Political Football in U.S. Presidential Race


14/9/2012 In Memorium: Our Friend, Chris Stevens


2/7/2012 New Tenders Published for East Jerusalem Settlement Construction


2/7/2012 Plans for New IDF War College on the Mt. of Olives Approved for Public Review


11/6/2012 Settlement Surge Continues on Jerusalem's Southern Flank


8/5/2012 Arab VIPs Start Coming to Jerusalem


7/5/2012 Givat Hamatos – Nearing the Point-of-No-Return


7/5/2012 IDF College on the Mt. of Olives – Moving Forward


7/5/2012 Kidmat Tzion – Municipal Approval Anticipated Soon


7/5/2012 Mughrabi Ramp – Some Good News


6/5/2012 Beit Hanina Settlement Effort Continues


10/4/2012 Late Winter Freeze in East Jerusalem turns to Spring Thaw


8/4/2012 Kidmat Tziyon Settlement Scheme to be Expedited


8/4/2012 New East Jerusalem “Park” Soon to get Final Approval


8/4/2012 New Settlement in Beit Hanina?


8/4/2012 Israeli High Court Rejects Shepherd’s Hotel Appeal


14/3/2012 Will Arab & Muslim Leaders Start Coming to Jerusalem?


14/3/2012 A Major East Jerusalem Settlement Plan Comes Back to Life


14/3/2012 Spotlight on Jewish Access to the Temple Mount


14/3/2012 Volatility in Silwan: Mini-Intifada Continues, Cave-Ins, and New Settler Plans


9/1/2012 The Ongoing Settlement Surge in East Jerusalem


9/1/2012 The Mughrabi Gate Saga - Update


10/12/2011 Barkat Tries to Force Mughrabi Ramp Demolition


9/12/2011 Approval of Mount Scopus "Park" Proceeds


13/10/2011 Approval for New Israeli Settlement at Givat Hamatos Proceeds


12/10/2011 New Pisgat Ze'ev Building Permits


28/9/2011 New Settlement Approval issued for Gilo - Plan 13261


11/8/2011 More Jerusalem Settlement Approvals: Ramat Shlomo, Pisgat Zeev, Givat Hamatos


10/8/2011 Yet Another Har Homa Plan Approved (No. 12825) - Public Buildings, 50 Units


5/8/2011 Har Homa C Plan 10310 (app. 983 units) Approved


9/7/2011 Jerusalem Municipal "Approval" of Mordot Gilo Plan


9/7/2011 Meretz Rejoins Municipal Coalition - Separate Portfolios for EJ Settlers and Palestinians


20/6/2011 The Ramat Shlomo House Extension Plans


10/6/2011 Committee for Acceleration of (EJ) Construction to Convene on June 14


24/5/2011 Netanyahu Approves East Jerusalem Construction Hours Before Obama Address


24/5/2011 Barkat Trying to Force Netanyahu's Hand on Mughrabi Ramp


12/5/2011 The Non-Existent Court Decision on Bustan Demolitions


10/5/2011 New East Jerusalem Settlements Update


9/5/2011 US Supreme Court to Hear Jerusalem Status Case


21/4/2011 Is There a De Facto Settlement Freeze in East Jerusalem? The Facts


18/4/2011 April Surge in East Jerusalem Construction Plans


18/4/2011 Mount Scopus Slopes Park Approved for Public Review


16/3/2011 Permit Issued for 14 Units at Ras el Amud Police Station


16/3/2011 Permit Issued for Mughrabi Ramp


17/10/2018 Jerusalem Elections 2018 - the Palestinian Dimension


29/7/2013 A Layman's Guide to Jerusalem House Demolitions
Daniel Seidemann


29/7/2013 A Laymen's Guide to the Planning Process in Jerusalem.pdf
Daniel Seidmann


20/3/2013 "Spatial Shaping", the Ross Agenda and a Partial Settlement Freeze
Daniel Seidmann


10/3/2013 Spatial Shaping - Unilaterally Determining Israel’s Base-Line Border
Daniel Seidmann


10/9/2012 NOREF Policy Brief August 2012 | By Daniel Seidemann
Daniel Seidemann


30/1/2012 East Jerusalem and the Imminent Demise of the Two-State Solution
Daniel Seidemann


7/11/2011 East Jerusalem Developments and Trends: 2006-2011
Daniel Seidemann


31/10/2011 The TJ Guide to the Planning and Construction Process in East Jerusalem - Oct. 2011
Daniel Seidemann


15/10/2011 Givat Hamatos/Mordot Gilo: New Settlement Schemes on Jerusalem's Southern Flank
Daniel Seidemann


12/8/2011 U.S. (non)-Recognition of Sovereignty in Jerusalem: A Consistent Policy, 1948 - 2011
Lara Friedman


1/8/2011 Hanging On By Our Fingernails
Daniel Seidemann


22/2/2011 Jerusalem Challenges the API
Daniel Seidemann


21/2/2011 East Jerusalem settlers and Israel's never-ending War of Independence
Daniel Seidemann


20/2/2011 The Two Jerusalems
D. Seidemann D.Rothem


19/2/2011 Jerusalem on the Brink
Daniel Seidemann


19/2/2011 A barely tolerated minority
Daniel Seidemann


17/2/2011 Redeeming Jerusalem by truth, not hollow slogans
Daniel Seidemann


16/2/2011 Jerusalem, settlements, and the "everybody knows" fallacy
Lara Friedman - Daniel Seidemann


15/2/2011 Blogposts
Lara Friedman