It has been said before that anthropology is the handmaiden of colonialism.
Past colonial efforts often relied on anthropologists to offer a veneer of moral legitimacy to imperialism. For instance, the colonial endeavor is only to serve the native people by bettering their lot. And the colonial mission is only there to improve the status of women in the nation. Or the colonial mission is only there to better study the region and history.
That is what is happening today in occupied East Jerusalem. After the 1967 war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem. That annexation is deemed illegal by every nation in the world, including the United States. The annexation has been condemned by a United Nations Security Council resolution and the world considers East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. That is why every nation, again even the fanatically pro-Israel United States, refuses to open an embassy in Jerusalem. But Israel is defiant. And can afford to be as long as America protects Israel from international sanction.
But there is an international consensus on Jerusalem: East Jerusalem, the Arab half of the city, is occupied and should be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
This is known as the Clinton Parameters: Jewish neighborhoods to Israel and Arab neighborhoods to Palestine. This roughly breaks down to West mostly Jewish Jerusalem to Israel and East mostly Arab Jerusalem to Palestine. But Israel does not concur.
Most Israelis seek a Jerusalem, even the Arab east, under exclusive Israeli sovereignty. And the illegal settlers are trying to make that happen by engaging in a slow act of colonization. They hope to gradually place Jewish settlers in the middle of Arab towns in the eastern half in order to slowly drive out the Arabs. With less Arabs, the Palestinian claim to the city is weakened. If those Arab neighbors are colonization by Jews and slowly are becoming “Judaized” then, simply on a matter of technicality, the Israelis can now claim those neighborhoods as “Jewish neighborhoods” as well and prevent the Palestinians from both claiming the eastern half as a capital and all the while continuing to rid the city of its remaining Arabs.
It is rare that an American news program does an investigative piece on this. But 60 Minutes did one last night. Israeli ethnic cleansing of Arabs under the guise of conspicuous archeological work: