1. The Temple Mount is not in a bubble, it is in Jerusalem/AlQuds (this much you know). But did you know:
2. If you are not Jewish in Jerusalem you do not have citizenship and do not have the right to vote for government. Palestinians have residency and although the majority of families have been stewards of the city for generations they do not have the right to vote for any national government.
3. Jerusalem Al/Quds is the largest Palestinian metropolis and capital, but as a central business district it has been cut off from the workforce in the suburbs — causing over 5,000 business to close in just one decade (since the Wall was built) and in some area’s causing unemployment rates to rise over 75%.
4. It is illegal for the first time in over 2,000 years to sell fruits and vegetables from local farmlands in the old city market. Instead, Palestinian shop owners are forced to sell imported Israeli Tnuva products, a militarily captive market, not a “free market”.
5. Israel has used age old divide and conquer tactics to boot the historic political leadership out of town and construct the 24 foot high wall which has fragmented the city. Approximately 30% of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents live on the other side of the wall. Thus, they receive no municipal services but continue to pay taxes so as not to lose their legal status as a resident of the city.
6. Israel has withheld civil services to non-Jewish (Palestinian) neighborhoods systematically for decades, leading to mass home demolitions, inaccessible healthcare and poor to no educational opportunities. The Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction in Jerusalem. No political body is designed to argue on behalf of over 360,000 Palestinians in the largest Palestinian city. Long term plans about anything from waste-management to playgrounds to healthcare do not have a political address.
7. Instead: The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) coordinate civil service provision through International NGOs in Palestinian Jerusalem. So, in other words:
a- Mostly western, short term NGO employees, accountable to a boss not an elected representative decide the fate of the city and its Palestinian inhabitants.
b- Services provided through humanitarian programs administered as if to a natural disaster use most often annual programs and funding. No one discusses long term employment, health care, education, master planing needs in the largest metropolis and capital. Leaving the planing playing field empty for Zionist colonialist groups to move full speed ahead with expansion plans.
8. Netanyahu guaranties the right for Jewish Israeli citizens to live anywhere in Jerusalem, and indeed over to 250,000 now live on occupied and stolen Palestinian lands east of the green line. However for young Palestinian families it is legally and economically practically impossible to purchase an apartment in Israeli neighborhoods and settlements in Jerusalem. While no new Palestinian neighbourhood has been built since 1967, consecutive Israeli governments support Jewish supremacist group to push Palestinian families from homes in almost every Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem.
9. The Israeli government at best turns a blind eye towards, or at worst actively supports, Jewish supremacist youth groups to spread racist propaganda, regularly enabling incitement to reach new peak levels all over downtown Jerusalem.
Israeli policy since this summer is designed to “Hebronize” Jerusalem; to bring it to such peak tension and violence that the Temple Mount Noble Sanctuary, the most holy of places for Palestinians will shut down, as described by Netanyahu- “equally”, so that it can be reopened “equally” to government supported Jewish supremacists who are openly planing to build the 3rd Jewish temple to replace it. Palestinians are not permitted to visit let alone pray at the Western Wall, also known as Hait AlBuraq- where the Prophet Mohammed’s winged horse took flight to the seventh heaven.
10. If you still think this is about peace and coexistence between two peoples – get over it. Peace is an empty, useless word here.
Indeed Jerusalem/AlQuds can be one of the most amazing cosmopolitan metropolis capitals of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but not until FREEDOM of movement is restored, EQUALITY guaranteed and JUSTICE is valued for all by all.
I feel compelled to clarify this because while what is happening in Jerusalem should not be considered genocide, it sure as hell- is gradual ethnic cleansing. Contrary to (successfully decreasing) global common belief, Israeli policies are neither democratic nor Jewish. If at all, it is a democracy for Jews… and even so, a system inherently racist to nonwhite Jews.
I write this as a proud Jewish Jerusalemite, but a very embarrassed Israeli. EVERYONE HERE DESERVES BETTER, but there is a colonial arms industry in the way of our happiness!
Unspoken inspiring Palestinian leaders choose to participate. They are active in every neighbourhood in Jerusalem on both sides of the wall to revive a heritage and remain here, knowing that existing is resisting… the definition of unarmed resistance.
They live and work under hypocritical international double standards, an unforgiving media magnifying, searching, highlighting any Palestinian violence, while Israel arms 18 year olds to control a civilian population and forgives routine massacres in Gaza and systematic race based policies across the Holy Land.
Tragically it’s a reality that millions are missing. Even more tragic than that, unless we, as in you, me and the rest of us step up now to participate and demand an end to race based policies and a free Jerusalem…. it is a historic and sacred city that will not be here for much longer…
Start with BDS, and as my friend and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb says: Do a mitzvah, end the occupation!
Micha Kurz was born and raised in Israeli Jerusalem, after his military service he was one of the co-founders of Breaking the Silence and has since worked with numerous human rights organizations including ICAHD and Ta’ayush. He co-founded and works at Grassroots AlQuds, a platform for community based mobilization and advocacy, developed to map, network and amplify Palestinian community and activist voices in Al-Quds and around the world. He works for an open cosmotropilis Jerusalem, free of racist systemic oppression. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a uniform ever again, unless it was a rainbow one.