What does the future hold for East Jerusalem?

I took this photo last night at sunset at the top of the Mount of Olives, which looks over the whole of East Jerusalem. This Palestinian man was showing his son the Dome of the Rock, if you follow the man’s finger you can see the golden dome in the distance. This is one of the most contested sites in the conflict; Muslims believe that this is the spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, and the Jews believe that this is the place where the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments was kept. The Israelis are currently building tunnels underneath this beautiful mosque in order to undermine and sabotage this place of worship.

I took the photo below today at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem, and it shows a group of Eastern European Christian women kissing the tomb of Jesus. The site is said to be Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and contains the place where Jesus was buried. As one of my friends from ICS pointed out today, God could have done a better job at handing out holy sites, did he really have to congregate the Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy of holies within a one mile radius of each other? We constantly hear about the differences and antagonisms between these monotheistic religions but walking around Jerusalem today only served to highlight their similarities to me…

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6 thoughts on “What does the future hold for East Jerusalem?

  1. Hols, I find these accounts really insightful. I hadn’t appreciated that I am, like many others, being currently ‘hoodwinked’ by the broadsheet reporting of the position around the economy in Palestine. The newspapers would have us believe that there is some kind of economic miracle ongoing in the West Bank!! However, if you loooked carefully at the Dispatches programme this week it was very clear that this is very far from the position. Keep the updates coming and to coin a Graham Greene phrase of sorts, Our Woman in Palestine!! X

  2. Thanks babes – its what I was trying to explain to you the other day but I think I’m expressing myself better in writing! Enjoying writing this blog so much. Also a lot of the things that I’ve thought about/read about before are becoming so much more solid just through seeing the physical reality of the country and through talking to people who are SO knowledgeable. The separation wall is just mental – its ostensibly been built for ‘security’ purposes but it is clearly a land-grabbing exercise. We drove past some Jewish settlements the other day – they have built the wall so that Palestinians cannot access the water reserve, which means that agriculture has been made almost impossible. We have no hot water here at all, and even the water we do have is limited. Will keep you updated, am going in for my first day at Birzeit tomorrow and really looking forward to seeing the campus and meeting the people there! Love you lots xxx

  3. Going to try and find The Dispatches program online but our internet is really slow here, will let you know my thoughts when we’ve found it! xxxx

  4. hey holly!!
    you can certainly tell you were an english student, very persuasive writing. but why do you talk about “security” at checkpoints, it is surely in place for security? the wall, equally, is not simply a land-grabbing exercise but equally for security reasons? and “to undermine and sabotage” the dome of the rock by digging works in jerusalem!?! the only reasons i comment is that i personally would seek a balanced blog if i were writing, and that i feel i can say this to you and not be discounted as you are my friend. the picture of spiteful israeli soldiers you paint at checkpoints, opening beer purely so it goes off in the next article, is obviously terrible, though i implore you not to tar every israeli with the same brush as your writing methods may imply, or effectively you are as guilty as the border patrol who assumes every palestinian is a terrorist.
    and i would also implore you not to believe everything you hear, as an intelligent woman and former english student, i hope you are aware of the bias and propaganda war that rages on both sides of the wall.
    i say this as someone who does not support the occupation but defends the right of israel to exist, and sick of the hatred spewed across the internet of which i plead you do not become a part.
    hope its going well for you out there and is being as much an eye-opener as we all hoped, i look forward to hearing from you
    x

    • Hello babes,

      Thanks for your message – I have seen and heard a lot of different things since I’ve been here, and I think I have kept a balanced opinion as to what is true, and what is bias/propaganda – for instance there are some people here who seem to believe in a sort of Jewish conspiracy about world domination, and its things like this which have no backing which I’ve left out. I’m really trying to report things that have hard evidence and fact, I don’t think I’m particularly “spewing hatred”! As I mentioned in my post about couchsurfing – there clearly are Israelis who are against the occupation and looking for peace, however I think that if there are more people like you than they need to be A LOT more vocal in being anti-occupation, and be more active in trying to end it. With regard to security and the wall – what I can’t fathom is that the Israelis think that by building a huge bloody big wall this will solve so-called security problems, its only going to increase the alienation and hatred on both sides, and I really do think its an apartheid wall as its name does actually mean. I have been shown communities where the wall has been built through, cutting kids off from their schools, farmers from their land, and where vital water supplies have been cut-off and diverted to settlements. I’d be interested to know your take on settlements because this is clearly a land-grabbing exercise, taking land that was once rightfully Palestinians, and these settlements are often supported by the Israeli government. What I’ve realised is that the situation on the ground here has only become more complex in the last ten years, and at the moment its difficult to see a clear solution when the cut and paste of the country becomes ever worse…

      xxx

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