Professor William A. Jacobson asks "What if Palestinians Were Settlers?"
Barack Obama's insistence that Israel cease all building in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, calling such neighborhoods "settlements," raises an interesting question. Who are the settlers in Jerusalem.
In support of his contention that it isn't quite clear who are the "settlers " in Jerusalem he describes the background of George Bisharat, Professor at Hastings School of Law and a leader in the forces seek to delegitimize Israeli claims to Jerusalem:
* Bisharat's grandfather was from what now is Jordan: "My grandfather, whom we all called ‘Papa', was born in 1893 in as-Salt, now in Jordan, although then a part of an Ottoman district called the Belqa', that straddled the Jordan River."
* Bisharat's great grandparents were from Nablus, now under Palestinian Authority control, not Jerusulem or any part of what now is Israel: "[Bisharat's grandfather] Ibrahim, and two uncles, Salti and Saliba, had settled there [as-Salt] only 15 years or so before , having migrated eastward from Rafidia, a village adjacent to Nablus."
* Bisharat's grandfather went to Jerusalem to study: "My grandfather, Hanna Ibrahim Bisharat, was the fourth of Ibrahim and Fida's seven children. At some point in his youth, Papa came to the attention of Father Maurice Gisler, a Swiss missionary and archaeologist, perhaps during one of the latter's digs around Madaba, near Um al-Kundum. Gisler apparently recognized something special in my grandfather, and invited him to come to Jerusalem to study...."
* Bisharat's grandfather left Jerusalem in 1908: "Hanna studied in the Schneller's Boys School (also known as the ‘Bishop Gobat' school) in Jerusalem, gaining fluency in English and French to complement his native Arabic and Turkish. Around 1908 he was sent, under Father Gisler's auspices, to an institute outside Freiberg, Switzerland to study agricultural engineering."
[...]While Bisharat's family may have lost title to the rental property they owned in Jerusalem (similar to the homes lost by Jews who fled Arab countries), Bisharat's family was not indigenous to Jerusalem, and had a short history in Jerusalem. Did that make them settlers?