In Zionists’ eyes, these areas – and in particular East Jerusalem – should never be relinquished. In Israeli politics, Jerusalem is commonly referred to as the ‘eternal and indivisible’ capital of Israel. To reinforce these words, Israel has since the 1970s implemented an aggressive settlement policy. Apart from the settlements in the hills of the West Bank, some 200,000 Jews have also settled in East Jerusalem, under the authority of successive Israeli governments. Several hundred Jewish fanatics have even cracked houses in the Muslim and Christian neighbourhoods of the Old City.
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Israel’s Arab neighbours universally condemned the law, calling it discriminatory and racist as well as being an obstacle to peace. The new law also elicited mixed reactions from the Jewish diaspora. Although it appeased some ultra-Orthodox leaders, the pro-Zionist leadership claimed that even the revised version of the law makes the country less democratic
Some of the Bedouin children will be forced to live in a semi-urban environment next to a garbage dump, without their animals, in what the American social anthropologist Dawn Chatty has dubbed ‘cultural genocide’. Godfrey-Goldstein: “There’s no way they can maintain their traditional lifestyle over there. The Bedouins can’t graze their animals. So they are less sustainable. Their children are being urbanized. In essence, they won’t be Bedouins anymore. All the herbal knowledge is vanishing, the ability to track. They’re no longer out there. Dawn Chatty has said this is the worst case of forcible displacement she has witnessed in 30 years.”
It seems clear that the momentum that has been building will be difficult to stop. However, it remains to be seen what the final impact of the protests will be, and whether organizers will succeed in harnessing the anger into non-violent resistance or whether it will escalate once again into armed conflict.
Netanyahu popularity remains unchanged in 2018 even after he has been questioned in some four cases, mainly of corruption but possibly also bribery. Thus, the future of Netanyahu and his coalition remain a major question, although it appears unlikely that any of the four cases will end in indictment.
It appears their preliminary success has not been lost on Israel’s educational establishment. In 2016, Israel’s Ministry of Education mandated Arabic language classes, beginning in first grade, in public schools where Hebrew is the language of instruction. This move generated opposition and has not yet led to fully bilingual education.