A reader writes:
I’m confident that you’ll hear from many on this, but I must take issue with today’s “The View From Your Window” picture listing Har Homa: (a) as a settlement; (b) in "Palestine." My objections are as follows:
1) "Palestine": Currently there is no State of Palestine. The name of the territory administered by the Palestinian Authority is the "Palestinian Territories," not Palestine. So even if I was to concede (and I don’t; see #2 below) that Har Homa was not in Jerusalem, Israel, it would be in the Palestinian Territories, not a State of Palestine.
2) “Settlement”: While certainly there are settlements in the West Bank (such as Ariel, Beit El, Efrat, etc.), Har Homa is not one of them. Its 460 acres is entirely within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.
Therefore it is not a “settlement,” but a neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is true that Har Homa was built upon the part of Jerusalem that was ruled by Jordan until 1967; however, these parts of Jerusalem have been annexed by Israel (in contrast to the West Bank, which has not been annexed). Other such parts of Jerusalem include the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. By designating Har Homa a settlement in “Palestine,” you by default also designate the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter as “settlements” in “Palestine.”
It should also be noted that Har Homa is not in Arab East Jerusalem (it is rather in Southern Jerusalem) and that is not built upon formerly Arab-owned land. Rather most of the land was expropriated from Jews to build the neighborhood. No homeowners, Jewish or Arab, were displaced by construction. Also, construction was approved by Shimon Peres, hardly a hawkish figure in Israeli politics! Finally, during construction, the U.S. repeatedly vetoed United Nations resolutions calling for a halt to construction.
One final note: I do not believe that that this picture is even the view from anyone’s window in the first place. It appears to be a picture of the neighborhood from afar (either from a point in the Judean desert for from the outskirts of Bethlehem, I guess) and not from anyone’s window. My hunch is that someone submitted this picture, with the designations “settlement” and “Palestine” to make a political point.