Need To Know
For months the local press has called it a “silent intifada.” Well, that's no longer the case. This most recent uprising among Palestinians is about to get loud.
Palestinians in East Jerusalem are seething, and few paying attention can blame them. East Jerusalem has been occupied by the Israeli government since 1967. At the time, a few residents chose to become Israeli citizens. The vast majority did not. Members of that majority are now not allowed to vote in Israeli elections and are subject to lose their status if they leave East Jerusalem.
“Neighborhoods in the east receive less funding than the predominantly Jewish west, and municipal services are scarce. Building permits are expensive and difficult to obtain, and Palestinians who build illegally often have their homes destroyed,” writes Gregg Carlstrom from Jerusalem.
In the nearby overwhelmingly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, meanwhile, Jewish settlers have begun moving in. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing ahead with a plan to build 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem. US President Barack Obama has tried to prevent this. But, as GlobalPost's Timothy McGrath writes, apparently there is only so much influence $3.1 billion in annual aid can buy you.
The tension is real. And things could get very real, real fast.
Want To Know
Then there's that whole Palestinian statehood issue, a compromise for peace that looks as far away as it could possibly look right now. Palestinian leaders, feeling like options are few and hope is dim, have tried to force the issue at the United Nations.
In November 2011, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, accepted a bid by the Palestinians for state recognition. The move was mostly symbolic since UNESCO's primary role is to anoint and maintain “World Heritage Sites.” But it got a ball rolling, sort of. A year later, the UN General Assembly passed a motion that changed Palestine's status from “entity” to “non-member observer state.”
It wasn't quite statehood, or even remotely, but it was another step in that direction: On Thursday, Sweden became the first major European country to officially recognize Palestine as an independent country. Israel promptly pulled its ambassador from Sweden. And Israel's foreign minister derided the country, saying the Middle East is “more complicated than self-assembly furniture,” a reference to Swedish superstore IKEA.
It would be hilarious if people weren't dying and losing their homes with no end in sight.
Strange But True
It's Halloween. So here's a look at the most haunted places in the whole world. There are enough lunatic asylums, old forts, castles and spooky forests here to distract you for a little while from the horrors of real life. The world is a creepy place.