Jerusalem: A Rock and a Hard Place (Part 1)


Al Jazeera English – TRANSCEND Media Service

31 Mar 2019

“There’s never been an Arab state here with the capital of Jerusalem,” says Daniel Luria. “There’s never been a Palestinian state here. This talk about Palestine, Palestine … I’ve never heard of anything more absurd.”

Luria is the executive director of Ateret Cohanim, a settler organisation working to create a Jewish majority in the city of Jerusalem. Raised in Australia, Luria says Israel is his only home, in spite of only having moved there 25 years ago. He is one of more than 850,000 people residing in Jerusalem.

After a peaceful period under Ottoman rule, where Islam, Christianity and Judaism coexisted in relative harmony, the decline of the empire and consequent victory of the British in Palestine during World War I set the stage for the eventual takeover of the city.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jewish forces captured West Jerusalem as the eastern half became part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Almost two decades later, the 1967 Six-Day War would see the Jewish state claim rights to the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and all of Jerusalem.

Since then, Israel has established over 200 illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land with about 600,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

In this two-part film, Al Jazeera’s Awad Joumaa follows a cast of characters – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – that call Jerusalem home. A Muslim scholar; a Christian Palestinian researcher; a former Israeli soldier and former Zionist turned professor; a self-described Zionist settler; a peace activist; an actress and her artist son; and a father, whose son is under home detention, fighting to hold on to his house in the Old City. These are some of the key characters, sharing their stories and thoughts on the city’s past, present and future. This is the story of Jerusalem as told through its own people.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 May 2019.

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