To The editor:
A recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency news item that appeared on 2/20 (linked in our JTA feed, Ed.) reported that the Israeli government intends to build thousands of homes for Jews “in predominantly Palestinian eastern Jerusalem.” In fact, the neighborhoods in question are not predominantly Arab and aren’t in eastern Jerusalem.
A glance at any map of the city shows that the neighborhoods, Givat HaMatos and Har Homa, are in southern, not eastern, Jerusalem. In fact, they are further west than numerous parts of “western Jerusalem,” such as Talpiot Mizrach, Abu Tor, and Yemin Moshe. Har Homa has 20,000 Jewish residents; Givat Hamatos, which is largely undeveloped, has only a few hundred. Neither area is “predominantly Palestinian.”
The term “East Jerusalem” is an artificial construct that supporters of the Arab cause use in their propaganda in order to make it appear as if that part of the city is an intrinsically Arab area that Jews are illegally entering.
In reality, there are Jewish neighborhoods throughout the eastern, western, northern, and southern parts of Jerusalem. It’s a pity when Jewish news outlets inadvertently play along and use such geographically inaccurate, and politically loaded, language.
National Director, Herut North America, U.S. Division