July 14, 2011

One of the oddities of life in Jerusalem is that everyone knows where the future border will run between the Palestinian East and the Israeli West—despite the tiresome insistence of the Israeli government that the city will never again be divided. For example, north of the Old City the line will correspond more or less to what is now called Road Number One, a four-lane road that runs roughly north to south until it reaches the Walls of the Old City, where it turns sharply west just before the Damascus Gate. I drive this road several times a week on the way up to my office at the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, and the dividing line between Palestinian and Israeli neighborhoods couldn’t be more clear. On the left side of the road, heading north, are the ultra-orthodox neighborhoods Me’a Shearim and Beit Yisra’el; across the street, on the right side of the road, is the well-known Palestinian neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah and the principal Palestinian shopping street, Salah ed-Din. The communities on the two sides of the road receive vastly different levels of investment in education, transport, social services, and other infrastructure.

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