Mark Lavie, AP, July 11
Israel’s separation barrier in Jerusalem is meant to ensure a Jewish majority in the city and not just serve as a buffer against bombers, an Israeli Cabinet minister acknowledged Monday.
The statement by Haim Ramon, the minister in charge of Jerusalem, confirmed Palestinian claims that demographics — and not only security — determined the barrier route.
The plan would separate 55,000 Palestinians from the city both sides want as a capital — bringing to the fore an explosive disagreement over who controls the holy city and where its boundaries should be. The government approved its final details Sunday.
But Ramon said demography was also a main factor for the barrier route in Jerusalem. It encloses Maaleh Adumim, a settlement with nearly 30,000 Jews, while excluding four Arab sections, including a refugee camp, with 55,000 Palestinians altogether. Of Jerusalem’s 700,000 residents, about a third are Palestinian.
Besides keeping suicide bombers out, the route of the barrier “also makes Jerusalem more Jewish,” Ramon said. “The safer and more Jewish Jerusalem will be, it can serve as a true capital of the state of Israel.”