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The Judaisation of Jerusalem

Aug 15,2015 - Last updated at Aug 15,2015

Haj Zaki Al Ghoul, the exiled mayor of Jerusalem who is currently in Amman, has issued a statement about the deteriorating situation of Arab Jerusalemites. 

Since 1967, Israeli authorities have been working on what they claim to be a development project that incorporated the Arab sectors of the holy city to be a marginal part of a unified Jerusalem, with one-million inhabitants. 

The project entailed encouraging ultraorthodox settlers, through financial incentives, to move to the city. So far more than 300,000 settlers have shifted to new homes in confiscated Arab apartments, or given municipality licences to build in areas near Al Aqsa Mosque. 

New zoning laws have changed the character of Jerusalem from an Arab city into a traditional Jewish one, where any Arab presence was defaced, and an Israeli road sign was erected to show that the spot had been a part of the Jewish fight against the Roman legionnaires. 

New synagogues were built in areas adjacent to Islamic Waqf mosques in an effort to emphasise the Jewish architectural legacy  of the city. The final target for the city planners is to show that the Dome of the Rock Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are the aberrant spots in the landscape.

The Arab population in Jerusalem makes up nearly 41 per cent of the total residents of the city. But 5 per cent of them have received municipality orders to evacuate their houses, either because they have not paid the exorbitant Arnona tax, or did not have a permit to build, in addition to any flimsy justification regarded as an obstruction to the master plan for developing New Jerusalem.

The education authorities admit that the highest percentage of dropouts are among Arab students aged between five and sixteen, which this year stood at more than 3 per cent.

Israeli courts have so far sentenced hundreds of young Palestinians in Jerusalem to prevent them going to Al Aqsa Mosque for several months due to their confrontations with ultraorthodox rabbis who stormed the mosque, in an attempt to change the exclusively Islamic character of the complex.

 

It is befitting in this saga of confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem, to cite what Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit wrote in his 2013 book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel”: “I wonder how long we can maintain our miraculous survival story. One more generation? Two? Three? Eventually the hand holding the sword must loosen its grip. Eventually the sword itself will rust. No nation can face the world surrounding it for over a hundred years with a jutting spear.”

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