Skip to main content

Could Jerusalem get a Palestinian mayor?

Former Minister Haim Ramon explains why his plan for separating from 28 East Jerusalem Palestinian villages responds to the security concerns of Israeli citizens and is not detrimental to dialogue with the Palestinians.
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stands with Vice Premier Haim Ramon (R) before a Kadima party meeting at the parliament in Jerusalem July 7, 2008. 
Read in 

“Unless we break away from the villages in East Jerusalem, our capital will become an Arab city with a Palestinian majority. But there’s more. As soon as the Arabs from East Jerusalem exercise their voting rights, Jerusalem’s mayor will be a Palestinian one. I would strongly advise Jews not to rely on them not ever exercising those rights.” Presenting that equation in an interview with Al-Monitor, former Minister Haim Ramon will try to relay his plan to the general public in a bid to mobilize them and “save Jewish Jerusalem.” This is also the name of the movement Ramon launched earlier in February together with other public figures, some with a security background. The movement’s overriding objective is to apply pressure on the Israeli government to unilaterally disengage from 28 villages in East Jerusalem by amending the “Basic Law:  Jerusalem, Capital of Israel,” aka Jerusalem Basic Law. Among the people who support the move are retired generals Ami Ayalon, Amos Yaron and Amiram Levin as well as retired police commissioners Elik Ron and Aryeh Amit.

Despite being nonpartisan, the movement’s underlying tenets express a centrist, pragmatic political outlook. It is fashioned after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in 2005. In other words, it seeks to do away with the Israeli-Palestinian status quo by taking unilateral action. The lone-attacker intifada, one of whose key factors are the Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem, should serve as tailwind for the movement to engage the Israeli public at large.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.