Israel's strategy to seize Jerusalem on display for all to see



By now, news of Palestinian being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem is routine. Last week, two more Palestinian families were thrown into the street to make way for Jewish settlers in the neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. The mechanism of land confiscation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank has become a near science for Israeli authorities, ensuring that the exact borders of Israel remain unclear and constantly shifting.

During the last days of the peace talks in 2001, Israel's then-prime minister Ehud Barak is rumoured to have informed former president US Bill Clinton that Israel had no intention of relinquishing sovereign control over Jerusalem and delineating clear borders around the holy city. The Palestinians of East Jerusalem, Mr Barak purportedly told Mr Clinton, were an unfortunate reality that Israel would deal with in due time.

More than a decade later, Israel is demonstrating exactly how it intends to deal with the Palestinians of East Jerusalem. The strategy has a number of fronts: dispossess Palestinians through the creation of national "heritage parks" that lay claim to land through archaeological speculation; deprive Palestinian areas of necessary municipality services; and deny almost every building permit required for natural Palestinian growth in the city. In short, take as much land as possible while making Palestinians' lives as difficult as possible.

These tactics have been successful throughout the West Bank for nearly 45 years, especially in the impoverished areas around Hebron. Yet, there is another element that Israel is employing in Jerusalem, one not commonly found in Israel's colonial practices in the West Bank. The Israeli court system has been called upon to review cases claiming Jewish ownership over properties in East Jerusalem before Israel's 1967 annexation.

Settlers, supported by significant funding from US non-profit organisations as well as Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, have demonstrated that some houses were owned by Jews before Israel controlled the territory. The settlers demand to return to these properties and the court system provides them with a legal justification to do so. Palestinians are being forcibly evicted from their homes, often for the third time since 1948.

While the process has a legal veneer, the application of this precedent is, of course, not extended to Palestinians who wish to return to homes in West Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa which were taken in 1948.

Court-sanctioned land confiscation in East Jerusalem received enormous media attention in 2009, when a group of Israeli settlers took over three houses in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The neighbourhood forms part of the "holy basin of Jerusalem", the areas directly surrounding the old city to the north, east and south.

An increased Jewish population in the holy basin makes a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital a virtual impossibility by cutting off the old city from the rest of the West Bank. Israel has placed settlers throughout the holy basin to ensure a Jewish presence dividing the old city and the rest of the West Bank. To control the holy basin is to control Jerusalem.

Aside from sharply but carefully worded statements from the United States and the European Union deploring the unravelling of the Oslo peace process, the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah went off without a political hitch. Settlers remain in the houses today and the majority of the Israeli public remains ambivalent or supportive of the policy. After the evictions in Beit Hanina last week, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told reporters to expect more evictions in Sheikh Jarrah soon.

But there was one unforeseen development in the takeover of Sheikh Jarrah. Palestinians, embracing the idea that nonviolent resistance is more effective than violence, began to demonstrate with unlikely supporters: Israelis.

The story of this partnership is the subject of a new short film, My Neighbourhood, produced by Just Vision, the production outfit responsible for the successful 2009 documentary Budrus, about a West Bank village's struggle against the Israeli separation barrier. The film (which I worked on as an assistant producer) premières at the Tribeca Film Festive this week and will be showing on Al Jazeera English until the end of the month.

My Neighbourhood follows Mohammed El Kurd, an exuberant young boy from Sheikh Jarrah, as he experiences the dramatic changes happening around him. When Mohammed turned 11, Israeli settlers moved into part of his house. Mohammed's playset now sits in front of the settler entrance to his house.

When nonviolent protests started in Sheikh Jarrah three years ago, Mohammed befriended a number of Israeli activists including Zvi Benninga, a medical student from the other side of Jerusalem. The relationship between Mr Benninga and Mohammed, political and across generations, succinctly captures the human element all too often lost in the relentless political agendas typical in coverage of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem remains the beating heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The systematic land reallocation and continuing Palestinian expulsions are perhaps the best examples of Israeli policy in historic Palestine over the past 60 years. Yet, as My Neighbourhood demonstrates, not all Israelis and Palestinians buy into the hysterical rhetoric of their respective leaders. In fact, increasing numbers prefer to embrace non-traditional methods of co-habituation and nonviolent resistance to combat the sinister forces which surround them.

Joseph Dana is a journalist based in Ramallah and Jerusalem

On Twitter: @ibnezra

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

A Long Way Home by Peter Carey
Faber & Faber

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PROFILE BOX:

Company/date started: 2015

Founder/CEO: Rami Salman, Rishav Jalan, Ayush Chordia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Technology, Sales, Voice, Artificial Intelligence

Size: (employees/revenue) 10/ 100,000 downloads

Stage: 1 ($800,000)

Investors: Eight first-round investors including, Beco Capital, 500 Startups, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Hala Fadel, Odin Financial Services, Dubai Angel Investors, Womena, Arzan VC

 

THE BIO

Family: I have three siblings, one older brother (age 25) and two younger sisters, 20 and 13 

Favourite book: Asking for my favourite book has to be one of the hardest questions. However a current favourite would be Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Favourite place to travel to: Any walkable city. I also love nature and wildlife 

What do you love eating or cooking: I’m constantly in the kitchen. Ever since I changed the way I eat I enjoy choosing and creating what goes into my body. However, nothing can top home cooked food from my parents. 

Favorite place to go in the UAE: A quiet beach.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Leaderboard

63 - Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA)

64 - Rory McIlroy (NIR)

66 - Jon Rahm (ESP)

67 - Tom Lewis (ENG), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)

68 - Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Marcus Kinhult (SWE)

69 - Justin Rose (ENG), Thomas Detry (BEL), Francesco Molinari (ITA), Danny Willett (ENG), Li Haotong (CHN), Matthias Schwab (AUT)

Paris Can Wait
Dir: Eleanor Coppola
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard
Two stars

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

World Cup 2023 ticket sales

August 25 – Non-India warm-up matches and all non-India event matches
August 30 – India matches at Guwahati and Trivandrum
August 31 – India matches at Chennai, Delhi and Pune
September 1 – India matches at Dharamsala, Lucknow and Mumbai
September 2 – India matches at Bengaluru and Kolkata
September 3 – India matches at Ahmedabad
September 15 – Semi-finals and Final

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which can lead to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.

Hepatitis C is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This can occur through blood transfusions, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injecting drugs. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common.

People infected with hepatitis C experience few or no symptoms, meaning they can live with the virus for years without being diagnosed. This delay in treatment can increase the risk of significant liver damage.

There are an estimated 170 million carriers of Hepatitis C around the world.

The virus causes approximately 399,000 fatalities each year worldwide, according to WHO.

 

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How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside