Jerusalem gets apartheid parking lot
From Haaretz, Feb. 3:
Jerusalem's Armenians outraged as city approves Jews-only parking lot in Old City
Armenian residents of Jerusalem's Old City are protesting a municipal decision to designate a parking lot in the area solely for Jews, although part of it stands on land belonging to the Armenian Patriarchate.
Parking is a major problem in the Old City, and some residents of the Jewish Quarter claim it is one reason secular families have been moving out. One of the parking lots serving this quarter is adjacent to the Armenian Quarter and is partially built on land owned by the Patriarchate, though the land has been leased by the Jewish Quarter Development Company since the 1970s.
For decades, the parking lot was open to all, though Jewish Quarter residents paid far less for a parking sticker than their Armenian neighbors. But around two years ago, Armenians were forbidden to park there.
"One day I came home from work and the lot was closed," said Mussa Marizian, an Armenian Quarter resident whose windows overlook the parking lot. "The quarter's management decided we shouldn't park there; they just got rid of us. Jews who live in the Muslim Quarter are allowed to park there, but I, who live right on top of the parking lot, am not allowed."
The development company subsequently asked the municipality for a waiver to enable the lot to be permanently used for parking, even though it is zoned as open public land under Jerusalem's master plan of 1978.
Wonderful. Not only another example of apartheid in "the Middle East's only democracy," and another reason for Armenians to be pissed at Jews in the struggle for Jerusalem. But also (and this is a point all commentators are sure to miss) another example of the inherent pathology of car culture. We'd like to see Jews, Armenians and Arabs join together, take shovel to this piece of asphalt and emulate the example of Berkeley's People's Park.
Free the Land!
See our last post on Israel/Palestine.