Monday, November 26, 2007
by Alice Rothchild
"With the Golden Dome and the ancient walls of the Old City as backdrop, the cascade of Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan is undergoing a dramatic transition.
At first it is hard to spot the Israeli flags draped over scattered homes on the hill, but it is soon easily apparent that right-wing Jewish settlers and politically motivated archaeologists are rushing to claim this fragment of the Holy City as the ancient City of David, complete with a visitors center and busloads of young Israeli recruits and tourists, and plaques thanking generous donors for their support.
Then there is the little-noticed news that the Israeli Parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill, in violation of international law and United Nations resolutions, which would seize East Jerusalem as a permanent part of Israel. It is thus not surprising that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s belated efforts to corral reluctant world diplomats to an increasingly downgraded meeting in Annapolis are rapidly becoming mission impossible.......
A particularly egregious player in this dangerous political game is Irving Moskowitz, a U.S. physician, bingo and gambling magnate, who secretly purchases Palestinian homes in and around East Jerusalem using front organizations that appear to be Arab, and then rapidly flips the property to extremist Jewish settlers, often arranging new construction and infusions of militant settlers at particularly sensitive political moments.
His foundation is also an avid supporter of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a group of militant Jews who believe that Jews should be in sole control of the Old City and should rebuild the Old Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque......."