Personal musings on Israel, Jewish matters, history and how they all affect each other
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Don't Divide Jerusalem: Asael Street
Asael Street is on the Green Line in Abu Tur, on the hill south of the Old City. It's a small street, which can be entered by car only from the south, where the skeleton of a 1948-67 IDF bunker still stands, a reminder of the 19 years in which the neighborhood was divided between Israeli territory in the West, and Jordanian territory in the East; in those days the line between the homes was hostile and sometimes violent. The years of peace and prosperity since 1967 have encouraged the locals to build right up to their respective national lines, and the result is that along the entire line in Abu Tor, Jewish and Palestinian homes sit next to each other. In the picture below, the red-roofed building is Palestinian, and the building facing it to the left is Jewish. They're both on Asael.
Here you can see how narrow the street is; in this picture the red-roofed building is on the left.
Here's the street from its entrance:
All the people who live on the street enter their homes from it, which means that if this narrow little lane were to become a hostile international border, no-one could enter or leave their homes. Yet let's hope, unrealistically, that it won't ever be hostile. You may have noticed the green garbage truck on its way into the street? Here, have a closer look:
Since there are cars parked on one side of the street, the truck had to inch by them, so narrow is the street. If the city is ever divided, there will need to be two different trucks, each serving its respective side. No, don't tell me the services will remain unified, since they won't: One of the most essential aspects of sovereignty is that society determines its own priorities. That means one side may decide to buy new garbage trucks every eight years, while the other allocates funds for garbage trucks only once in 20, because it has other priorities. On one side garbage workers are paid at Israeli wage levels and come by every two days; on the other side they may be paid only a quarter, or a fifth, and come by only once every three days. Or vice versa, what do I know: maybe it will be the Palestinian ones who come by every day, and do a great job, while the Israelis will only come by once a week, and in the meantime the Jewish neighbors will throw their garbage onto the Palestinian side. Since there isn't a single such place anywhere in the world, it's hard to know what the specific grudges will be and how they'll poison the atmosphere on this peaceful little alley - but they probably will.
At the end of the street it turns west, so that the final homes on both sides are all Jewish.
The building on the right is Palestinian; the one on the left is Jewish. And the picture below shows the intended border.
Have I mentioned I find this whole proposition to be extremely idiotic?