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Video: East Jerusalem Palestinians fear new Damascus Gate checkpoint marks change in status quo of the city

Israel/Palestine
on 47 Comments

EAST JERUSALEM –Two months after US President Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem are expressing renewed fears of a changing status quo in the city.

Earlier this month, Israel completed construction of a permanent watchtower checkpoint at the entrance of Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

The checkpoint is the first of three of its kind set to be erected in the area, which was the site of several attacks during a wave of unrest that began in October 2015, which was largely characterized by small-scale stabbing attacks against armed Israeli forces.

A number of Palestinians were also shot and killed in the area by Israeli forces in alleged attempted attacks.

While Israeli media and authorities have lauded the checkpoints as deterrents of “lone wolf attacks” — which the current right-wing Israeli government has attributed to “online incitement” — the more than 300,000 Palestinian residents of the area vehemently dispute the Israeli narrative.

Palestinians have attributed the unrest to frustration brought upon by decades of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and its treatment of Palestinians in Jerusalem as second-class citizens.

Nevertheless, Israel has moved forward with its new security strategy in East Jerusalem, prompting residents to brace for an escalation of unwarranted stops and searches, arrests, and mistreatment at the hands of Israeli forces.

“It’s not just Jerusalemites who enter through Damascus Gate, but everyone who visits Jerusalem from the West Bank and 1948 Palestine, Hanadi Halwani, 38, a resident of East Jerusalem, told Mondoweiss.

“This checkpoint will greatly reduce the number of people that come here,” she said, adding that the watchtower was “threatening” and created “an atmosphere of fear” amid the backdrop of what she called all the “field executions” carried out against Israeli forces against Palestinians in the area.

According to Ma’an News Agency, between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016,  236 Palestinians were killed by Israelis, while 34 Israelis were killed in the same time period.

Of the 236 Palestinians killed, 36 were killed in Jerusalem — 19 of whom were killed in the Old City.

For many Palestinians like Halwani, the constant presence of armed Israeli soldiers in front of Damascus Gate is a daily reminder of the violence that has taken place in the area.

Nasser Isa, 49, also a resident of East Jerusalem, told Mondoweiss that the construction of the watchtower is a clear step towards Israel establishing full control of the city.

Israel’s watchtower at Damascus Gate, by Carlos Latuff

“This tower reveals the occupation’s security strategy for the city and the people who live here, and how they don’t believe in the freedom of expression, the freedom of movement, and the freedom of worship,” he told Mondoweiss.

For Isa, Israel’s militarization of areas such as Damascus Gate is part of its ongoing policies that aim to drive out the local Palestinian population and further what groups have called the Judaization of Jerusalem.

“They have no claim to the city demographically, culturally, or historically, because the Palestinians who live here have protected these things So, they are now trying to militarize the area,” he said.

Extensive research from rights groups such as Israeli NGO B’Tselem have detailed Israel’s attempts to shape the demographic reality of East Jerusalem.

Since Israel’s annexation of the territory in 1967, and its subsequent military occupation of it, Israel has expropriated huge swaths of Palestinian-owned land for the construction of Jewish-only settlements, severely restricted Palestinian construction through the denial of permits and declaration of national parks, and demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes under the pretext of being built without Israeli licenses.

“Israeli policy in East Jerusalem is geared toward pressuring Palestinians to leave, thereby shaping a geographical and demographic reality that would thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty there,” B’Tselem said in a 2017 report.

“Palestinians who do leave East Jerusalem, due to this policy or for other reasons, risk losing their permanent residency and the attendant social benefits. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the permanent residency of some 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem under such circumstances,” the group added.

Despite decades of policies aimed at pushing out the Palestinian population, many locals like Dr. Kareem Amr, 60, say they have resisted Israel’s push for years, and will continue to do so.

“The occupation has many ways of attacking Palestinians and making life hard for us. These watchtowers are just one of the ways they do that,” he said, highlighting the extensive network of surveillance cameras, military watchtowers, and Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“The thousands of watchtowers and checkpoints across Palestine are not for security, as Israel says. They are meant to strangle the people and all aspects of our lives — from our economy and education, to our worship and freedom of movement.”

Referencing Israel’s previous attempts to install metal detectors inside the Al-Aqsa compound — which was met with a widespread civil disobedience campaign among Jerusalemites — Amr told Mondoweiss that the new watchtower was just another face of the same coin.

“They took the metal detectors out of Al-Aqsa to appease people, but now this is something bigger, because they are not just controlling the mosque, but all of the Old City,” he said.

“Through these cameras and checkpoints, Israel thinks they can take the love of Jerusalem out of the hearts of the Palestinian people, but this is impossible.”

Video by Akram al-Wa’ra & Saleh Zghari

yumnapatel
About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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47 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    February 27, 2018, 3:19 pm

    “Israeli policy in East Jerusalem is geared toward pressuring Palestinians to leave, thereby shaping a geographical and demographic reality that would thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty there,” B’Tselem said in a 2017 report.

    “Palestinians who do leave East Jerusalem, due to this policy or for other reasons, risk losing their permanent residency and the attendant social benefits. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the permanent residency of some 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem under such circumstances,” the group added.”

    14500 is minimal if as per usual Israel thinks it can force Palestinians to leave. The policy is deluded.
    Jews prayed for Jerusalem. Palestinians live there . They ARE Jerusalem.

    • Emet
      Emet
      February 27, 2018, 7:03 pm

      Maghlawatan, Jews are willing to share. What are you prepared to do? Are you prepared to support Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount? You will of course answer no. So we really have little to talk about until you do. You sound almost hysterical. You know, if you don’t start talking about sharing instead of “its all Muslim”, you will land up less and less. Why are you so afraid of Jewish prayer when Jews and Muslims pray to the same God?

      • annie
        annie
        February 28, 2018, 2:57 am

        Jews are willing to share al aqsa? we know all about that kind of so-called sharing. the kind where fanatics who want to blow up the temple are allowed to use storm troopers clear the site to make way for settlers on a holiday. let’s share what’s yours instead.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        February 28, 2018, 7:03 am

        Afraid of jewish prayer? You’ve got to be kidding! israeli jews don’t pray to God, they pray for power, land and death of palestinians. They pray to their zionist idol. It isn’t up to palestinians to prove good faith emek, it’s up to israeli jews to prove their intentions aren’t to destroy Aqsa and continue to squeeze palestinians out of al Quds. The orgasmic joy expressed by israeli jews and evangelicals of all stripes at the possibility of making al Quds the capital of zioland shows everyone who isn’t brain dead that the zionist state is a virulently racist one and has no intention of being anything else. You pray to the devil. Obviously.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        February 28, 2018, 7:22 am

        No way Emet.
        Moshe Dayan wasn’t stupid. The temple Mount/Haram has to be off limits.
        And Jews in Israel pray to the god of trauma.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 28, 2018, 9:44 am

        Maybe the ‘saving clause’ in the Balfour Declaration and is successors doesn’t mean much but if it means anything at all it would, both by the ideas of human rights of that time and of ours, mean that the non-Jewish inhabitants would have continuing use of all their existing places of worship. Mind you, I think that in practice this right will not be denied them in this case, though it has been in connection with the Ibrahimi Mosque. The Temple Institute and suchlike are way out fantasists, possibly with three armpits.
        Taking half of someone’s property is not sharing.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 28, 2018, 2:34 pm

        @Emet

        For your edification.

        Camp David Summit 2000 Summit:
        “Even during the period following the Oslo agreement, the Palestinians considered that they were the ones who had come up with creative ideas to address Israeli concerns. While denouncing Israeli settlements as illegal, they accepted the principle that Israel would annex some of the West Bank settlements in exchange for an equitable amount of Israeli land being transferred to the Palestinians. While insisting on the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to homes lost in 1948, they were prepared to tie this right to a mechanism of implementation providing alternative choices for the refugees while limiting the numbers returning to Israel proper. Despite their insistence on Israel’s withdrawal from all lands occupied in 1967, they were open to a division of East Jerusalem granting Israel sovereignty over its Jewish areas (the Jewish Quarter, the Wailing Wall, and the Jewish neighbourhoods) in clear contravention of this principle.” (Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, “Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors,” The New York Review of Books, 9 August 2001)

        Regarding the very difficult matter of East Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister and chief negotiator at Camp David, Shlomo Ben-Ami , revealed that “he spent considerable time after Camp David trying to explain to Israelis that the Palestinians indeed did make significant concessions from their vantage point. ‘They agreed to Israeli sovereignty over Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, 11 of them’, he said. ‘They agreed to the idea that three blocs of the settlements they so oppose could remain in place and that the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter could be under Israeli sovereignty.’ ” (Deborah Sontag, “Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed,” New York Times, 26 July 2001)

        Needless to say, Israel ignored the Palestinians’ offers.

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      February 27, 2018, 11:14 pm

      And the English certainly do like to sing about it!

      A SPECIAL EDITION MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the purveyors of new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine™ Inhalable: “Dream-castle Israel is just one exhilarating breath away!”
      Blake’s Jerusalem (by Billy Bragg)

      DamienWimborne
      Published on Nov 19, 2010
      A visit to Knowlton Church nr Wimborne, Dorset
      Filmed by Arthouse Weddings http://www.arthouse-weddings.co.uk
      Category: Music
      License: Standard YouTube License
      Music: “Blake’s Jerusalem” by Billy Bragg

      LYRICS – http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858519826/
      ABOUT THE LYRICS:
      • Blake’s Jerusalem – http://socialistreview.org.uk/372/blakes-jerusalem
      • A Short Analysis of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ – https://interestingliterature.com/2017/04/26/a-short-analysis-of-william-blakes-jerusalem/
      • And did those feet in ancient time – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_did_those_feet_in_ancient_time

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 28, 2018, 2:13 am

        But the one they sing about is the New Jerusalem to be built in Britain. (By Clement Atlee, and destroyed by M. Thatcher.)

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 28, 2018, 8:57 am

        ” the New Jerusalem to be built in Britain. (By Clement Atlee, and destroyed by M. Thatcher.)”

        it was built and it is called Milton Keynes, it was designed so that new it prefigured itself as a ruin, you don’t have to drive too far north to attend raves in the ‘dark satanic mills’,

        and Wilson, Callaghan, Healey and Crossman built the pedestal to which Thatcher ascended, you know her first job was finding ways to sell air as ice cream then she sold it as ‘policy’, mind you she was twice the man May is.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        February 28, 2018, 2:08 pm

        May is pretty harmless. Thatcher is an avatar of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and of Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec God of chaos.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        February 28, 2018, 6:43 pm

        Jeanette MacDonald “Jerusalem” The Holy City

        Jim Qualls
        Published on May 25, 2008
        Jeanette MacDonald from “San Francisco” with Clark Gable 1936

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        February 28, 2018, 6:58 pm

        ◙ JERUSALEM SONG

        MikeandEdo
        Published on Jan 20, 2012
        FULL ALBUM AVAIABLE ON ITUNES AND GOOGLE PLAY FOR SALE 2. 99 EURO
        https://itunes.apple.com/it/album/masileyo-soundtracks-for-real/id806454220
        music by MICHELE VILLETTI, drummer percussionist , composer

  2. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    February 27, 2018, 4:22 pm

    I don’t like all the concrete bollards going up around my city in Australia but that’s “just another face of the same coin.”

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      February 28, 2018, 3:55 am

      “Mayhem”,
      Your city in Australia? Ostr-aliyah?
      We MW readers had no doubts at all about your Zionist commitment and you now down the mask and out comes the usual coward who can’t even go occupy Palestine like a brave little war criminal and perhaps become the rare stopper of a homemade rocket?
      Shame on you.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 28, 2018, 12:04 pm

        “around my city in Australia”

        Gee, Australia seems awful far from Zion. Oh well, as “Mayhem’s” profile says:

        “I don’t mind admitting I am a Zionist, but would like to say there are Zionists and there are phony Zionists.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 28, 2018, 12:19 pm

        “the usual coward who can’t even go occupy Palestine”

        He doesn’t want to take a chance on getting slapped.

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        March 1, 2018, 5:15 am

        @echinococcus, @mooser – lovely snide hypocritical comments. When are you going to join the rock throwing propaganda brigade in Nabi Saleh?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        March 1, 2018, 4:29 pm

        The Mayhem thingy might be special even among the Zionists for hisherits lack of thinking. I never advocated the Zionist invasion and genocide of faraway Palestine while staying comfortably at home. Mayhem did, and if hesheit is human he should put hisherits body on the line. Besides, if I were fighting on the Palestinian side I wouldn’t use rocks.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        March 1, 2018, 6:24 pm

        “@mooser – lovely snide hypocritical comments.”

        That’s not true. I have no anti-currency feelings.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      February 28, 2018, 12:01 pm

      @Mayhem

      Not remotely similar. I don’t believe for a second you are stupid enough to think it’s comparable.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 28, 2018, 12:13 pm

        || oldgeezer: @Mayhem … I don’t believe for a second you are stupid enough to think it’s comparable. ||

        Mayhem’s not the smart one – Jackdaw is. Just ask Konrad Lorenz.

  3. just
    just
    February 27, 2018, 5:14 pm

    “Jews prayed for Jerusalem. Palestinians live there . They ARE Jerusalem.”

    Amen!!! (may I borrow that, Maghlawatan?)

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      February 28, 2018, 8:37 am

      Sure

      Ithfaddali. Just.
      I hate the way Israel treats the Palestinians as aliens.
      Jerusalem should have the chilled and welcoming atmosphere of a city like Beirut. Instead you can feel the paranoia and hatred of the Zionists.
      The Nazis are still winning.

  4. Emet
    Emet
    February 27, 2018, 6:56 pm

    Notice how the Arab in the video, Nassar Isa, says that Jews have no historical connection to the city. As long as Nassar and Co are allowed to believe this, either from their own lack of research and lack of study, or having been manipulated by Arab elites for political purposes, the further apart the sides will continue to drift which means, zero chance for real peace.

    • annie
      annie
      February 28, 2018, 2:50 am

      Notice how the Arab in the video, Nassar Isa, says that Jews have no historical connection to the city.

      he said nothing of the sort. he said you have no “claim” to the city (through history, demographics, or culture) because it was the palestinians who lived there who protected these things (for centuries i might add). that is a perfectly valid argument. a colonizer should not be allowed to prance in and claim a city and turn it into some kind of holy land amusement park.

      As long as Nassar and Co are allowed to believe this

      well, last i heard the zionist entity has yet to figure out how to control what palestinians are allowed to believe. you can lock them up and throw away the key, but you can’t dictate what goes on in a persons brain. that statement says a heck of a lot about you emet. that you could even fathom what it is palestinians are allowed to think. and how hypocritical under the circumstances, considering how many of your brethren have been “manipulated by .. elites for political purposes” intentionally causing the furthering apart of sides with the very intent to prevent any chance for real peace.

      breathtaking statement of yours.

      • Emet
        Emet
        February 28, 2018, 10:16 am

        Annie, it is the Arabs who have connected the Temple Mount to the entity that you call the “city”
        The two are inseparable in their eyes. You continue to fail to understand that the conflict is all about control of the Temple Mount. One day it may begin to dawn on you. I won’t hold my breath. As the Arabs continue to deny the connection and history that Jews have to the Temple Mount, this leaves Israel with no other option but to continue to control the entire region for security and other reasons. But first and foremost is security. The Arabs have violent plans for Jews. Is this news for you?

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 28, 2018, 11:05 am

        @emet

        Now you’re unhinged.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 28, 2018, 12:14 pm

        ” Now you’re unhinged.”

        “oldgeezer”, it is very, very hard for Zionists to confront the fact that the world is not as philo-semitic as they were led to believe.

        “Emet” simply cannot comprehend that any request or demand prefaced by “The Jews…” won’t be instantly acquiesced with.

      • annie
        annie
        February 28, 2018, 1:07 pm

        this leaves Israel with no other option but to continue to control the entire region

        Emet, ‘As long as you are allowed to believe this, either from your own lack of research and lack of study, or having been manipulated by Jewish elites for political purposes, the further apart the sides will continue to drift which means, zero chance for real peace.’

      • annie
        annie
        February 28, 2018, 1:28 pm

        it is the Arabs who have connected the Temple Mount to the entity that you call the “city”
        The two are inseparable in their eyes. You continue to fail to understand that the conflict is all about control of the Temple Mount.

        don’t play games with us emet, just scroll up. the article is about East Jerusalem and the Damascus Gate. it is you who appear in the second comment asking “Are you prepared to support Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount? ” so who is it inserting Al Aqsa into this discussion? Nassar Isa, whom you bring up, was not discussing Al Aqsa, he was discussing “Israel’s strategy to take full control of the city”.

        and what does this mean “the entity that you call the “city””? you’re being absurd. jerusalem is a city. and now you’re peddling the idea the entire conflict is about control of al aqsa! if that was the case israel would have stolen it too in 67. what fools do you take us for emet. now that israel has conquered everything it possibly can and your extremist looney tune temple fanatics are trying to change the status of al aqsa you tell us, as if nothing else matters, it’s merely control of al aqsa and if israel doesn’t get their way they’ll just have to control the whole region? and what about Ibrahimi Mosque? was that just chopped liver? but now that you’ve carved it up w/guards and schedules all over the place it’s irrelevant and everything centers on control of al aqsa?
        oh, everybody so buys that garbage– not. and what’s next, the theft of the jordan valley is because of al aqsa?

        just stop will you, nobody takes your blathering seriously.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        February 28, 2018, 2:10 pm

        Émet

        Brzezinski said that Israeli control of the region was a wild dream. Every thing done to Gaza will be done to sabras. All systems collapse. There is no God watching Israel”s back.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 28, 2018, 3:16 pm

        @Mooser

        I think he has more of the violent extremist racist supremacist mindset.

        When we say something is ours, you share (ie give it to us) or we will be forced to take it by violence and take more besides. It’s all your fault as you wouldn’t share.

        The Palestinians are expected to recognize the Jewish connection which in zionist speak means Israeli sovereignty even though that’s a totally different concept. Israel may be the only Jewish state but it has no right to things that have a Jewish connection given it does not represent all Jews.

        In the end Israel is a rogue outlaw expansionist state (as evidence by it’s flouting of international norms and laws as well as it’s annexations, past and in process).

        It’s time to stop appeasing it and hold it to account. The last time fascists were appeased it didn’t work so well. Particularly for the civilians living under fascist rule.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 28, 2018, 3:39 pm

        ‘Connection and history’ – I’d agree that any objective history of the Jews in ancient times would refer to the Temple Mount. The criteria for the truth of this kind of statement, which I can’t imagine many Palestinians, even those most angry with the Israelis, would deny, are really minimal. They don’t imply any significant Jreish rights in the present, if you go for a version of ‘historical connection’ so charged with detailed claims and moral. value judgements that it did imply major Jewish rights as of now, I would hardly expect the Palestinians not to challenge it. It couldn’t be an obvious truth.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        February 28, 2018, 5:10 pm

        @mhughes

        It is more than likely that the Palestinians are the descendants of the biblical Jews. There was no mass expulsion in AD70. Peasants tend to hang around and adapt to the requirements of conquerors. The Turks are not all ethnically Turkish. Most of them are Anatolian ex Byzantines , for example.

        By contrast there is zero Askhkenazi link to Jerusalem that trumps the Palestinian presence. And guns don’t change that.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 1, 2018, 10:18 am

        The Palestinian presence – the presence of human beings with political rights – cannot be trumped by any amount or account of ancient history, even an account consisting solely of true statements about injustice to Jews after Bar-Kochba.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        March 1, 2018, 5:36 pm

        MHughes, please repeat that every time Jewish history gets mentioned.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 27, 2018, 7:06 pm

    RE: “The thousands of watchtowers and checkpoints across Palestine are not for security, as Israel says. They are meant to strangle the people and all aspects of our lives — from our economy and education, to our worship and freedom of movement.” ~ Dr. Kareem Amr

    SEE: “Permanent Temporariness”, Alastair Crooke, London Review of Books, March 3, 2011

    [EXCERPT] . . . The fear is that if Israel became a Jewish majority state with fixed borders, the inevitable demand for full equal rights for minorities would herald the end of Jewish special rights and of Zionism itself.

    A two-state solution therefore does not solve the problem of how to maintain Zionism, it compounds it. The size of the non-Jewish population of Israel would be reduced from 40 or 50 per cent to 20 per cent if a Palestinian state were created, but the inherent contradiction of a non-Jewish minority with equal rights would undermine it as a Jewish state. Israel’s only answer is to keep its borders undefined while holding on to scarce water and land resources, leaving Palestinians in a state of permanent uncertainty, dependent on Israeli goodwill.

    A decade ago, I was a member of Senator George Mitchell’s staff on his first foray into the region, after he was asked to head a ‘fact-finding committee’ into the causes of the second intifada. Even then, Livni’s vision was evident in the Israeli strategy of excluding Palestinians from the body politic while making them subject to its methods of control. The Occupied Territories assumed an elastic, shifting geography in which the rule of law was suspended under cover of the law. It was Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. Maintaining control of the Occupied Territories keeps open to Israel the option of displacing Palestinian citizens of Israel into the Territories by means of limited land swaps. It also ensures that Israel retains the ability to force future returning refugees to settle in their ‘homeland’, whereas a sovereign Palestinian state might decline to accept the refugees. It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence.

    Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe Ya’alon, was candid when asked in an interview this year: ‘Why all these games of make-believe negotiations?’ He replied:

    Because … there are pressures. Peace Now from within, and other elements from without. So you have to manoeuvre … what we have to do is manoeuvre with the American administration and the European establishment, which are nourished by Israeli elements [and] which create the illusion that an agreement can be reachedI say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew … and we in the government know how to make use of time. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 27, 2018, 8:02 pm

    RE: “Two months after US President Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem are expressing renewed fears of a changing status quo in the city.” ~ Yumna Patel

    SEE: ◙ “Israeli Settler Group Plans Zip Line Over East Jerusalem” | By Nir Hasson | Haaretz.com | Feb 27, 2018 9:14 AM
    • Critics of the idea say it’s a tourist trap that turns Jerusalem into ‘a cheap amusement park with attractions like in Disneyland’

    The Elad nonprofit group has just been awarded a permit for building the longest omega, or zip-line for children, in Israel. The installation will be 784 meters long, beginning at Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv promenade and ending at the Peace Forest in the Abu Tor neighborhood.

    Opponents of the project claim it will deface the unique view of the historic “basin” which includes the Old City and its environs, and that it will be a tourist attraction that is incompatible with the city’s character.

    Elad, which operates in East Jerusalem, has two main focuses: settling Jews in the largely Arab Silwan neighborhood and running tourist and excavation sites. The chief tourist site is Ir David – the City of David – which it runs for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Elad has also been in a legal battle with the government over a planned archaeology park next to the Western Wall.

    The permit was granted two months ago and work is expected to begin soon. The installation will include two 4-meter-high concrete pillars covered in wood, with the cable passing between them. For the sake of comparison, a zip line at the Manara cliff in the Upper Galilee is only 200 meters long.

    Elad did not submit a special proposal for constructing the installation, but was granted permission as part of a plan that was approved 40 years ago, a plan intended to preserve open spaces around the Old City of Jerusalem while allowing the construction of recreational and sports facilities, without requiring specific plans for each one.

    “It’s as if this zip line is like some picnic tables and slides for children,” says Hagit Ofran of Peace Now. “Elad is transforming the most precious asset in this country, the Old City of Jerusalem and its surroundings, into a cheap amusement park with tourist attractions like in Disneyland, and state authorities continue giving them these sites on a silver platter. The Jerusalem municipality made a snap decision while bypassing planning authorities, giving Elad a building permit without informing the public or asking for its input,. They completely ignored any orderly urban planning process” said Ofran.

    The zip line joins other attractions mostly connected to Elad, all of which will completely change the landscape around the Old City. Other projects include a rope bridge that will span the Hinnom Valley between Abu Tor and Mount Zion, and a cable car that the municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority are promoting. The cable car will start at the Ottoman-period train station, going through Mount Zion to the City of David and Silwan.

    Elad said in response: “The Ir David Foundation continues to work with the Jerusalem Municipality, the Tourism Ministry and others to strengthen the touristic anchors in ancient Jerusalem. More than half a million visitors visited the City of David this year and we intend to double the number of visitors in the area within five years, while combining historical, experiential and touristic values.”

    SOURCE (paywall) – https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/rightist-israeli-ngo-to-build-zip-line-in-jerusael-1.5850472

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      February 28, 2018, 7:28 am

      Trump threw the Zionists a bone in Jerusalem but there is no way forward for Israel. Apartheid is slowly killing them. Israeli society is a catastrophe.

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    February 27, 2018, 8:39 pm

    Palestinians live in Jerusalem and Jews live in Jerusalem.

  8. mondonut
    mondonut
    February 27, 2018, 10:42 pm

    If nothing else perhaps the much needed security improvements will be a dose of reality for residents who think Jerusalem is Palestinian Territory, or that fail to understand that Israel already has full control of the city.

    And denying Jewish demographic, cultural and historical ties to Jerusalem makes as much sense as labeling the increase in Arab population (both in number and percentage) as an Israeli plot to drive out Palestinians.

  9. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    February 28, 2018, 9:25 am

    @Yonah Friedman
    “Palestinians live in Jerusalem and Jews live in Jerusalem”
    Around 300,000 Native Palestinians live in Jerusalem a city in their native land.
    Around 500,000 Jews , the vast majority of them colonising foreigners, live in Jerusalem in another people`s land.

  10. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    February 28, 2018, 1:45 pm

    @Emet
    “As the Arabs continue to deny the connection and history that Jews have to the Temple Mount, this leaves Israel with no other option but to continue to control the entire region for security and other reasons”
    As in Adolf`s Lebensraum.

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