(Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

Haaretz reported yesterday that East Jerusalem is now exempt from the United States’ call for a settlement freeze in Israel, and the The Faster Times’s Dina Kraft worried. She was already anxious over a proposal recently submitted for approval to the Israeli government to build a huge new apartment complex in that part of the city, and a plan to raze 88 Arab houses to make way for a tourist park. She is concerned about the disparity between the “ramshackle” Arab homes and a well-appointed Jewish visitor’s center, and the possibility that Israeli obstinacy about the area is a “cynical attempt to make East Jerusalem as ‘Jewish’ as possible and foil any future attempts to divide the city as part of a future peace deal.” She interviews a researcher who worries what will happen to “the fabric of Arab-Jewish relations by inserting armed camps into Arab Jerusalem,” although he understands “the impulse to focus on a Jewish narrative in the face of Palestinian denials of a Jewish historic connection to the city.”

And then there’s this, which might assuage some of Kraft’s worries, although it’s worrisome in itself: Blogger Lara Friedman at Americans for Peace Now is skeptical of the claim that Israel’s been let off the hook when it comes to East Jerusalem expansion. The Haaretz reporter who broke the news, Barak Ravid, has been irresponsible before, she says, noting that “in this kind of high-stakes political poker, a lot of what we hear in the press is spin (and bluffing).”

The Jerusalem Puzzle: Jewish Enclaves in Arab Neighborhoods [Faster Times]Don’t Believe What You Read [JTA]
Earlier: U.S. Drops Call for E. Jerusalem Settlement Freeze