By gordon bennett
January 18, 2010
Panorama will no doubt be slammed by the usual suspects for being "anti-Israel", but it spoke to Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and someone from the extremist settler group Elad -- which is funded to the tune of $40 million a year by Irving Moscowitz, the US casino tycoon, and others -- who made it clear that Israel discriminates against Palestinians in the allegedly united capital.
This is what they said:
Nearly 10 times more building permits are given to Jews in west Jerusalem than to Palestinians in the east of the city.
"You are right," said Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem. "There are gaps in the planning system - both in east and west Jerusalem."
But he was adamant that the municipality had to act when houses were built illegally in what Israelis Jews consider to be parkland that has strategic importance in terms of the religious archaeology in the area.
[Silwan]"is a goldmine," Doron Spielman, from Elad explained. "The cornerstone of the archaeology of the Bible throughout the world."
The Palestinians accuse Elad of undermining them both by digging under their houses and emphasising only Jewish history here.
Mr Spielman said no Arab or Muslim history had been unearthed at the site, although some archaeologists disagree. [No Arab or Muslim history? What are those two mosques on Temple Mount-Haram al-Sharif, then?]
"Israel is the sovereign entity here," said Mr Spielman. "And if we can enable more Jewish people to live here, more archaeology to become known here then I am proud of that."
Remember this isn't really new. When he was Interior Minister, Natan Sharanski, that great defender of human rights, tried to revoke East Jerusalem Palestinians' residency rights if they had houses elsewhere. I didn't see him revoking the residency rights of the rich foreign Jews of Mamilla, who also own houses elsewhere.