Monthly Archives: April 2015

It is another time when I look around me and think: ” God, I am scared” . Could it be that helplessness of being a mother ? That continuous scene of children leaving home not to ever come back again ? Is it the fact that children grow and accidents happen , just like a car accidents, earthquakes, there is also Israel? I have been asking myself since last night , it all should be about fate . the boy can just go and anything may happen , it just happened that we live here and under occupation . So it maybe ,that our fate is not as different than those Nepalese that were lost yesterday under a deadly earthquake, or those Syrians, IRaqis, Yemenis that are perishing daily under terrorist groups who seem to be going out on hunting seasons of human beings. or those who die in poverty and so and so …
but yet , i couldn’t convince myself .. .maybe it is this part of being so self centered .. we Palestinians seem to believe that the world runs around us and for us . it was definitely more than feeling the gravity of earth on Jerusalem . It was that feel of helplessness, loss of security , fearing the spontaneous-ity of becoming the next target… the deceased victim .
The tears of the mother of the the 17 years old Ali Abu Ghannam (who was shot to death on the checkpoint while going to a wedding of a relative on Friday) her seemingly distant words of slight unreal-ness of what took place, the forced voice of rationality in a bleeding heart of a mother , who just lost her child . as if israel insists to remind us each and every time: it is occupation ,and that is what occupiers do . they kill you . they kill your children.
maybe it is the distance. the not far away scene from what is home . the age of that young man . the resemblance to what maybe happening to my children . that hollow daily journey to a checkpoint , through a checkpoint… as if it is a reserved ticket to a grave. to eternal hell…or paradise….
it is another moment where words stop from gathering around my head . Feeling blocked and in awe. tears are frozen like ice in my eyes. I am afraid to think . to feel . to cry . to scream. to even look into that bereaved woman’s eyes or listen to her words.
it is just another moment of confused emotions …. is it fear? is it just insecurity ? is it just an eternal state of bankruptcy ?
Or is it just a need for more faith? to realize that in this world there has been some organization for destiny. Some have earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis,floods, and some have Israeli occupation .

لن ابدأ من مكان

فانا هناك

في مكاني

في مكاني الذي نسجه لي الزمان

منذ ذلك الزمن البعيد

في تلك الغربة التي احاتطتها ازمنتي ومكاناتي

في متاهات ما كنت البث ادخلها حتى اخرج منها متسارعة متراكضة

مهرولة الى مكان اخر

باحثة عن زمان لي في مكان لي

عبثا باحثة

تائهة في غيابات الامكنة الغريبة

مسترشدة بنور بداخلي

كان ما يلبث مدكنا محبطا من شدة ظلمة غابات ازمنتي

هائمة في زمان ليس بزماني

قاطنة في مكان ليس بمكاني

تائهة في غربة استنفذتني

حتى باتت حياتي غربة تكسو وحدتي

تيه كاد يمسي طريقا

غربة كادت تصبح وطنا

اشباه اناس

اشلاء اوطان

april 2010

Jerusalem, Between Urban Area and Apparition
From Multi-ethnic City to nationalism?
Jerusalem in the early 20th century



Introduction :

Jerusalem, City of Collision. Home to the most sacred sites to all three religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; that embraces within it the Western Wall, a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest place in Judaism, the Holy Sepulcher and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

A city that is highly significant to Palestinians and Israelis alike, regardless of how each side sees it –a crucial focal point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A town of symbolism that is critical to Palestinians and Israelis, both of who see Jerusalem as their nation’s capital, in which both justify the conflict over the city through religious and historical motives that are empowered by political ones.

However, to live in Jerusalem is to be constantly reminded of the raw tensions running just beneath the roughly hewn Jerusalem stone, where every action and what often seems like every step is fraught with political, cultural, religious and ethnic consequence. Unsurprisingly, even the dead in the Holy City are subject to the conflicts of the living.

Since the occupation of Israel to Jerusalem, Israel has been building and expanding colonies beyond the Green Line, and as of the 1990s, it has been settling Jews in the middle of densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods.

Jerusalem became a unified city, in which an unprecedented separation between its residences occurred. Arabs and Jews are entirely separated, culturally, socially and of course politically.

The scenes of separation are as well very apparent to the eye. Arab neighborhoods are separated from the Jewish ones, in what is called east and west sides of the city. Within integrated parts, that is enforced within planting Jewish radicals inside Palestinian neighborhoods, such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and Mount of Olives. The Jewish residents (settlers) are surrounded by their elegant surroundings that are entirely excluded from the Arab ones.

As one walks in the city, roads also form what became a natural separation between Arabs and Jews. The infrastructure is different; facilities are obviously distinct from both sides.

Commencing with the beginning of the 1960’s, Israel apparently began “encroaching” on the Mamilla cemetery. Initially, a road was paved connecting Hillel St. and Ben Sira St. at the northern tip of the site. After that, the plot created to the north of this road was re-zoned, which, in 1976, led to the necessity of the re-parallelization scheme of the entire bloc, mentioned above. Some buildings were erected on this northern tip of the site, and the parking lot was established, with only the northern part of the parking lot involving groundbreaking and construction, with the southern part of the lot only being paved over, with no underground construction.[1]


Mammilla from an Israeli view:


Mamilla was originally established in 1890 just west of the Old City by Muslim and Christian Arabs but during the 1920s was inhabited by Jews as well. The Mammilla district was an important commercial area, site of the municipal buildings as well as the first post office outside the Old City walls.

As a result of the 1948 war, The War of Liberation in 1948 with its heavy shelling left many buildings severely damaged and deserted; as a result, the neighborhood turned into a border area and suffered decay, becoming a home for the poor of Jerusalem. The King David Hotel and the YMCA at the edge of the district maintained some of the neighborhood’s prestige, however.

After the Six Day War, when the area became safe, the residents were evacuated to other sectors so that a major overhaul of the community could be undertaken. Since 1990, Mammilla has developed into the site of many prestigious residential projects. The new projects, beginning with David’s Village and now King David’s Residence, the Alrov project with its promenade of cafes and stores, and the rebuilding of the famous Palace Hotel by the Reichman family have brought elegance and life back to the area.[2]

Mamilla from an international scholarly view

The Jewish chosen-ness led to genocide time and again. Outside of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate (Bab al-Khalil), there was once a small neighborhood called Mamilla, destroyed by real-estate developers just a few years ago. In its place they created a kitschy ‘village’ for the super-rich, abutting the luxurious Hilton Hotel. A bit further away there is the old Mamilla cemetery of the Arab nobles and the Mamilla Pool; a water reservoir dug by Pontius Pilate. During the development works, the workers came upon a burial cave holding hundreds of skulls and bones. It was adorned with a cross and the legend: ‘God alone knows their names.’ The Biblical Archaeology Review, published by the Jewish American Herschel Shanks, printed a long feature by the Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich on this discovery.[3]

The dead were laid to their eternal rest in AD 614, the most terrible year in the history of Palestine until the Twentieth Century. The Scottish scholar, Adam Smith, wrote in his Historical Geography of the Holy Land: “until now, the terrible devastation of 614 is visible in the land, it could not be healed”.

In 614 local Palestinian Jews allied with their Babylonian co-religionists and assisted the Persians in their conquest of the Holy Land. 26,000 Jews participated in the onslaught. In the aftermath of the Persian victory, the Jews perpetrated a massive holocaust of the Gentiles of Palestine. They burned the churches and the monasteries, killed monks and priests, burned books. The beautiful basilica of Fishes and Loaves in Tabgha, the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, St Stephen opposite Damascus Gate and the Hagia Sion on Mt Zion are just at the top of the list of perished edifices. Indeed, very few churches survived the onslaught. The Great Laura of St Sabas, tucked away in the bottomless Ravine of Fire (Wadi an-Nar) was saved by its remote location and steep crags. The Church of the Nativity miraculously survived: when Jews commanded its destruction, the Persians balked. They perceived the Magi mosaic above the lintel as the portrait of Persian kings.

This devastation was not the worst crime. When Jerusalem surrendered to the Persians, thousands of local Christians became prisoners of war and were herded to the Mamilla Pool area. The Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich writes:

They were probably sold to the highest bidder. According to some sources, the Christian captives at Mamilla Pond were bought by Jews and were then slain on the spot. It had come at length, the long-expected hour of triumph and vengeance; and the Jews did not neglect the opportunity. They washed away the profanation of the holy city in Christian blood. The Persians are said to have sold the miserable captives for money. The vengeance of the Jews was stronger than their avarice; not only did they not scruple to sacrifice their treasures in the purchase of these devoted bondsmen, they put to death all they had purchased at a lavish price. It was a rumor of the time that 90,000 perished.[4]

An eyewitness to the massacre, Strategius of St Sabas, was more vivid:

Thereupon the vile Jews… rejoiced exceedingly, because they detested the Christians, and they conceived an evil plan. As of old, they bought the Lord from the Jews with silver, so they purchased Christians out of the reservoir… How many souls were slain in the reservoir of Mamilla! How many perished of hunger and thirst! How many priests and the sword massacred monks! How many maidens, refusing their abominable outrages, the enemy gave over to death! How many parents perished on top of their children! How many of the people were brought up by the Jews and butchered, and became confessors of Christ! Who can count the multitude of the corpses of those who were massacred in Jerusalem!’

Strategies estimated the victims of the Holocaust at 66,000.[5]

The holocaust of the Christian Palestinians in year 614 is well documented, and you will find it described in older books. It has been censored out of new guides and history books. Elliott Horowitz explained, in his brilliant expose of the Jewish apologia how almost all Jewish historians suppressed the facts and re-wrote history. The cover-up continues even now. [6]

The Sixth Century was a century of strong Jewish influence, and it had more than its fair share of genocide. Just a few years before 614, in 610, the Jews of Antioch massacred Christians. The Jewish historian Graetz wrote:

[The Jews] fell upon their Christian neighbors and retaliated for the injuries which they had suffered; they killed all that fell into their hands, and threw their bodies into the fire, as the Christians had done to them a century before. They shamefully abused the Patriarch Anastasius, an object of particular hate and his body dragged through the streets before he was put to death.[7]

After the Arab conquest, a majority of Palestinian Jews accepted the message of the Messenger, as did the majority of Palestinian Christians, albeit for somewhat different reasons. For local Christians, Islam was a sort of Nestorian Christianity without icons, without Constantinople’s interference, and Greeks. (The Greek domination of the Palestinian church remains a problem for the local Christians to this very day.)

For ordinary local Jews, Islam was the return to the faith of Abraham and Moses. They had not been able to follow the intricacies of the new Babylonian faith anyway. The majority of them became Muslims and blended into the Palestinian population.

The Mamilla Cemetery and Palestinian view:

Mamilla Muslim Cemetery straddles both the one-time geographical seam line and the still-relevant cultural seam line between east and west Jerusalem. The cemetery has filled its current role for hundreds of years; it dates back to Byzantine Jerusalem when it housed both a church and the resting places of the monks who live there, and it gradually became one of the preferred burial grounds for Jerusalem’s Muslim community. Within the cemetery grounds are several impressive mausoleums for prominent regional Muslim sages, squat, domed buildings with beautiful Arabic calligraphy in bas-relief.

Rashid Khalidi writes:

“For over six centuries, many of my ancestors have been buried in a historic cemetery that holds the remains of some of the most prominent public figures and military leaders ever to live inside the Holy City of Jerusalem.  The Mamilla cemetery is said to contain the remains of Muslims who walked alongside the Prophet Muhammad, fought in the Crusades, and influenced the city over many centuries.  It is one of the largest remaining Muslim heritage sites in the Holy Land.”[8]

When Israel was established, much of the cemetery had fallen into considerable disrepair, and parts of it had been either paved over or made part of a public Park, schools, and a municipal parking garage was raised on cemetery grounds.

Graves uncovered there were removed so they would not impede construction. In the course of renovating the current-day Waldorf Astoria and during its construction, workers unearthed more graves. [9] There was no systematic excavation, research, or preservation in the process, and as a result, many graves were destroyed without trace or any record whatsoever. The cemetery shrunk from 200 dunams to 20, mostly surrounding the pool. In recent years the Jerusalem Municipality and the State of Israel have been developing building and landscaping plans for the area, the best known of which is the project to build a Museum of Tolerance on much of the cemetery’s grounds.

Archaeological digs at the site intended for the museum revealed hundreds of Muslim graves. Archaeologists responding to the findings recommended ceasing the excavations for construction and preserving the cemetery as a heritage site.

Gideon Sulimani, a senior archaeologist with the Antiquities Authority who carried out initial excavations, told Haaretz: “They call this an archaeological dig, but it’s a clearing-out, an erasure of the Muslim past. It is Jews against Arabs.”[10]

Rafi Greenberg, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, was also critical. “In another country, they would devote years to such an excavation, and also build a special lab to analyze the results.” He accused the antiquities authority of betraying its role as the guardian of the country’s historical assets and instead promoting the “wellbeing of entrepreneurs.”[11]

Despite the public debate that ensued, at the end of the legal battle, Israel’s High Court approved the construction of the museum. Policy makers and the Israeli public do not view the cemetery as a significant heritage site testifying to the city’s rich genealogy, but as vacant and prime real estate. A combination of political and economic interests, ignorance, and disregard for the historical legacy has led to the approval of the construction of the Tolerance Museum.

The cemetery offers the most substantial evidence of Muslim history in West Jerusalem; it appears that the desire to eradicate this history from the western part of the city was among considerations leading to the resolve to build here. A hasty archaeological dig, assembly-line style, was conducted at the site. Speedy work on a vast area made proper research and investigation impossible.[12] Some 10 00 skeletons were taken out of the cemetery, and some areas were damaged, but today one can still find tombstones from many periods and a great variety of designs. Some of the graves have been identified as Crusader graves.

The excavation points to about 1000 years of burials in four strata. The styles and tombstones bear witness to the vibrant and colorful nature of Jerusalem’s Muslim communities over the past millennium. “Hundreds of sets of remains have been disinterred and carted off for disposal in unmarked mass graves in unknown locations, or worse. The Jerusalem municipality has enabled this effort with the approval of the Israeli Antiquities Authority. This project is a grotesque attempt to erase the well-established history of a continuous Muslim presence in the city that dates back over a millennium.”[13]

To show that these claims are patently false, one need only look to the Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry’s 1948 declaration of Mamilla as “one of the most prominent Muslim cemeteries, where seventy thousand Muslim warriors of [Saladin’s] armies are interred along with many Muslim scholars… Israel will always know to protect and respect this site.”  As recently as 1986, in response to a UNESCO investigation regarding Israel’s development projects on the location, the Israeli government stated, “no plan exists for the deconsecrating of the site… the site and its tombs are to be safeguarded.”[14]

Complexity, double standards and radicalism

It’s no small wonder, however, that a similar case exists not far from Mammilla. Just as the large, famous, ancient Muslim cemetery in Mammilla is in the heart of Jewish-Israeli Jerusalem; the large, important, ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives is in the center of the Muslim-Palestinian city. The two cemeteries can be seen as mirror images of each other.[15]

In the 1960s, Israel destroyed part of the Mammilla cemetery and built a parking lot on it. During those same years, the Jordanians destroyed part of the Jewish cemetery to build a gas station. Over the past decade, workers have returned to both sites. On the Mount of Olives, a major project is underway to restore the part of the cemetery that was destroyed. At Mammilla, excavations have been undertaken to remove skeletons to make room for the Museum of Tolerance. Both moves are a mistake.[16]

As much as “The gravestones on the Mount of Olives are a fiction. They are a theater set off a cemetery because no one knows where the people are buried; fragments of their headstones lay in piles left by the Jordanian bulldozers. But removing the skeletons from the Mammilla cemetery is also a mistake.”[17] The other side in the fight over the cemetery is the Islamic Movement’s the Islamic Movement has been renewing and renovating the remaining grave sites. Since many tombstones have been moved over the years, and quite a few have been found lying around the place, the Movement is working to attach stones and inscriptions to the graves. This work continues though there is no way of knowing if the stones are assigned to the correct graves.

Despite the rushed excavations, work on the museum has yet to begin. It has been delayed by the departure of Frank Gehry, the project’s world-famous architect, and financial troubles caused by the global economic downturn.[18]

With all the debates and the historical facts and reality. Israel doesn’t seize to continue with its discussions and claiming another side of the story in mobilizing the Israeli public and the international towards another version.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the Founder, and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance describes the issue as follows:

“It is the epitome of chutzpah and a double standard for those who were prepared to exhume the remains of the entire Mammilla Cemetery in order to build a bank and factory, to tell the Simon Wiesenthal Center not to build a Museum of Tolerance on a parking lot that the Supreme Court of Israel unanimously concluded: “For almost 50 years the compound has not been a part of the cemetery, both in the normative sense and in the practical sense…. During all those years no one raised any claim, on even one occasion, that the planning procedures violated the sanctity of the site, or that they were contrary to the law as a result of the historical and religious uniqueness of the place….  For decades this area was not regarded as a cemetery by the general public or by the Muslim community….  No one denied this position. “In fact, the entire area of the Mammilla Cemetery had long been regarded by Muslim religious leaders as ‘Mundras’ (abandoned and without sanctity).[19]

And he would continue:

“…Hence, they spun fables – they would take media to the adjacent tombstones, pose for photographs, and pretend that that is where the Museum was being built.  Then they argued that the Muslim community knew all along that the nearby car park that we’re building on was a part of the Mammilla Cemetery.  For 50 years, Muslims, as well as people of all faiths parked cars there – you don’t park cars on cemeteries.  Next, when some bones were found, they said that under Islamic law, bones could not be re-interred.  Now we see that in 1945, the Supreme Muslim Council itself was prepared to exhume all the bones from the actual Mammilla Cemetery just to build a business center.[20]

The last calls went as far as claiming that dozens of new tombs are being added to the ancient cemetery, but no one is buried beneath them. Jewish observers and sources in the Jerusalem Municipality started claiming the graves as say “pretended-graves” that are simply a Muslim project for grabbing land.

In an investigation held by the Israeli channel 7. Interviews revealed to the Israeli public that trucks, tractors and other heavy machines come and go, dumping building materials, which workers then shape into Muslim-style tombstones with no one buried beneath them. Dozens of these faux-graves are being created on the eastern end of the park, in row after row, where only bare earth and grassy areas existed until now. Some of the fake tombs have been completed, and others are in the process of being built.[21]

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem David Hadari heard about the matter from Arutz Sheva and was dumbstruck by the news. “I am in a state of total shock,” he said. “Arutz Sheva has discovered the naked truth, and I intend to immediately turn to the Municipality Director to make use of all of the municipal enforcement arms so that while honoring the Muslim’s deceased, we will not accept Muslim fictions that are just intended to capture more land in eastern Jerusalem.”  
MK Nisim Ze’ev (Shas) said the matter was a far-reaching one. “The Jerusalem Municipality is allowing complete abandonment of territory and assets,” he said. “The Arabs are trying to conquer the Land of Israel in every possible way. If we do not wake up to their conniving ways, we will find ourselves before a gaping chasm. We need to plow the area and take down all of the fictitious tombs.”[22]

However, according to Haaretz, the antiquities authority oversaw a five-month excavation last year at the museum site that was carried out in record time as three teams did shifts around the clock amid great secrecy to excavate graves and rebury the remains nearby.

No Palestinians were employed, and all workers had to sign a confidentiality agreement. They were searched for any electronic devices, including phones, before entering the site, were not allowed to leave during their shift, and were watched at all times by security cameras.

The measures, the Haaretz report suggested, were designed to ensure that no word leaked out about a large number of graves found there or that promises to the courts about treating the graves with the utmost respect were being violated.[23]


Conclusion and Recommendations

“Peace is the best thought of not as a single or simple good, such as an absence of war or violent conflict, but instead as a complex and variable process. Longer lasting peace’s involve aspects of legitimacy, political participation, social integration and economic development. The Mamilla case is a mere reflection of how peace is still far away from being achieved. On the other hand, the Israeli government’s pretentious merge of society doesn’t fool observers. Hence it still affects mere spectacles and children, who might think there is some harmony or equality.But even if this was achieved, one cannot define peace as the achievement of economic justice or social harmony without losing an understanding of peace as something different from and, possibly, less demanding than those other worthwhile goals.

The fundamental connection between the levels of peace is the principle that conflict should be resolved, or managed, as close to its source as is feasible, whether on the factory floor or in the local community”. [24]

Censored history creates a distorted picture of reality. Recognition of the past is a necessary step on the way to sanity. The guardians of the Jewish conscience, Amos Oz, and others have objected to the destruction of ancient remains. No, not of the tomb at Mammilla. They ran a petition against the keepers of the Haram a-Sharif mosque compound for digging a ten-inch trench to lay a new pipe. It did not matter to them that in an op-ed in Haaretz, the leading Israeli archaeologist denied any relevance of the mosque-works to science. They still described it as ‘a barbaric act of Muslims aimed at the obliteration of the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem.’ [25]

Both conflict and change are a normal part of human life. Conflict is continuously present in human relationships, and the fabric of these relationships is constantly adapting and changing. Before discussing practical approaches to conflict transformation, it is important to understand the link between conflict better

And change.

After the great destruction undergone by the cemetery, it is imperative to preserve and cultivate what remains of it. Integrating the cemetery into Jerusalem’s urban fabric would give back something of the city’s Muslim past to its residents, thus strengthening all of them – regardless of religion or belief systems. The cemetery’s location creates a unique opportunity for the city’s Israeli residents to discover and learn something about Jerusalem’s great Muslim past, and to recognize this history as part of the regional heritage that belongs to us all. The continuity of burials in the cemetery teaches a great deal about the city’s evolution over the millennium. It is vital to conduct proper preservation here and put up signposts that will allow the presentation of one of Jerusalem’s intriguing burial grounds to the wider public

It is important to acknowledging the common patterns and impact of social conflict. And later recognize the need to identify what our values and intentions may be as we actively seek to respond, intervene, and create change. As long as we are still unable or identify with the different dimensions that affect conflicts.

The personal dimension referred to changes effected in and desired for the individual. This includes the cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and spiritual aspects of human experience over the course of the conflict. From a narrative perspective, transformation suggests that individuals are affected by clashes in both negative and positive ways.

The original dimension highlights the underlying causes of conflict and stresses the ways in which social structures, organizations, and institutions are built, sustained, and changed by conflict. It is about the ways people make and organize social, economic, and institutional relationships to meet basic human needs and provide access to resources and decision-making. At the descriptive level transformation refers to the analysis of social conditions that give rise to conflict and the way that conflict affects social structural change in existing social, political and economic

The cultural dimension refers to the ways that conflict changes the patterns of group life as well as the ways that culture affects the development of processes to handle and respond to conflict. At a detailed level, transformation seeks to understand how conflict affects and changes cultural patterns of a group, and how those accumulated and shared patterns modify the way people in a given context understand and respond to conflict. Prescriptively, transformation seeks to uncover the cultural patterns that contribute to violence in a given context and to identify and build on existing cultural resources and mechanisms for handling conflict.

We can easily find ourselves responding to a myriad of issues without a clear understanding of what our responses add up to. We can solve lots of problems without necessarily creating any significant constructive social change at a deeper level.

Until both sides are able or identify with such dimensions, and recognize the rights and the wrong doing . Until each side is able or genuinely accept the presence and the existence of the other. Until each side can forgive and face the past without censoring or denying this conflict will still be far away from the horizon of being resolved.


“The Vengeance of the Jews was Stronger than their Avarice.” Jewish Social Studies 4. the university of Indiana, ed.

What to do with the graves. Haaretz, 2010.

history of the Jews (Berlin: ARani), 1998.

Arutz Sheva (Channel. “Exclusive: Arabs Faking Graves to Grab Jerusalem Land.

A.Nagar. “Jerusalem Mamilla.” Hadashot Arkheologiyot, 2010.

Arieh, YosheaBen. The Ad Hoc Committee Against the Construction of the Tolerance Museum. http\\, 2009.

Bloomfield, David. Transformation, Social Change, and Conflict. Edited by Berghof Handbook Dialogue Series. Vol. 5. 2006.

Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas. Edited by Cambridge University.

Desecration, Jonathan CookMamilla Cemetery. ( 2010.

Halper, Jeff. Between Redemption and Revival. Westview Press, 1991.

Hasson, Nir. Museum of Tolerance Special Report. Haaretz, 2010.

Hier, Marvin. “Mamilla Cemetery Chutzpah and the Museum of Tolerance.” 2 2010.

Khalidi, Rashid. “tolerance of Whom?” The Daily Beast, April 2012.

Milman, Henry Hart. History of the Jews (Oxford University).

Oz, Amos. Here and There is the Land of Israel.

Smith, George Adam. Historical Geography of the Holy Land. Glasgow, 1896.

The report, Woodstock. An Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics. Woodstock Theological Center, 1996.


[2] ( id=53)

[3] “The Vengeance of the Jews Was Stronger Than Their Avarice”: Modern Historians and the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 (published in Jewish Social Studies Volume 4, Number 2, Indiana University)

[4] Henry Hart Milman, History of the Jews, Oxford University

[5] ibid

[6] “The Vengeance of the Jews Was Stronger Than Their Avarice”: Modern Historians and the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 (published in Jewish Social Studies Volume 4, Number 2, Indiana University)

[7] Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis Auf die Gegenwart: 11 vols. (History of the Jews; 11853–75), import. And ext. ed., Leipzig: Leiner, 1900, reprint of the edition of last hand (1900): Berlin: Errani, 1998,

[8] Rashid Khalidi: Tolerance of whom? The Daily Beast – 10 April 2012

[9] A. Nagar, “Jerusalem Mamilla,” Hadashot Arkheologiyot, 122, 2010

[10] Mamilla Cemetery Desecration – Round Two By Jonathan Cook in Jerusalem, – 13 June 2010

[11] ibid

[12] Nir Hasson, “Museum of Tolerance Special Report,” Haaretz, May 18, 2010

[13] Rashid Khalidi: Tolerance of whom? The Daily Beast – 10 April 2012

[14] ibid

[15] Nir Hasson: Mamilla Cemetery – What to do with the graves?May2010

[16] ibid

[17] ibid

[18] Mamilla Cemetery Desecration – Round Two By Jonathan Cook in Jerusalem, – 13 June 2010

[19] RABBI MARVIN HIER, Mamilla Cemetery Chutzpah and the Museum of Tolerance, February 19, 2010 israel/article/mamilla_cemetery_chutzpah_and_the_museum_of_tolerance_20100219/

[20] ibid

[21] Exclusive: Arabs Faking Graves to Grab Jerusalem Land

Muslim land-grabbing creativity knows no bounds: in central Jerusalem, Arabs are building a fictitious cemetery where no one is buried. Arutz7

[22] ibid

[23] Mamilla Cemetery Desecration – Round Two By Jonathan Cook in Jerusalem, – 13 June 2010

[24] David Cortright, Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas Cambridge University –

[25] Haaretz, 28 April 2001

Presentation, 2014

Peace Building under Occupation : peace as a value vs education for peace

The ongoing conflict is about occupation; a nation/state occupying another nation.

It is not about if the Israelis have a historical right or if they are the same ancestors of Moses or Abraham.

It is not about if the holocaust took place or didn’t.

Israel has managed to drive us out of the context of the conflict into making it a historical debate, that doesn’t concern the situation mainly.

And instead of fighting for our rights in ending occupation, we got entangled in proving our right in living in our own country , and denying or undermining irrelevant historical occurrences to our issue.

The fact that the Israelis /Jews were in the country 2000 or 5000 years ago, or the fact that millions were massacred doesn’t disempower our position.

If they have a right of a Homeland after 2000 years then we have more chances of a Homeland after 60 years.

The fact that they were expelled and massacred doesn’t mean that they should expel other nations and kill them.

I believe in the pedagogy of the oppressed as a design of a future education.

In order to build peace we need to build peace for us first.

Israel can only discuss peace with us when we are in full awareness and tolerance towards our strengths and our confrontations with our weaknesses.

Our strengths are made as well out of the shortcoming of history towards the Israelis.

Israel after all behaves (claims) towards itself as a democracy, and human rights are major in their approach. The moment we Palestinians start sounding like humans towards them they will start acknowledging their shortcomings towards us.

The only time we Palestinians can face the Israelis is when we can understand their background , their fear , their insecure areas. When we can admit that history also treated them unfairly.

In order to make them see us as (fellow) human beings, as equal human beings we need to see them as human beings as well.

In order to defeat them, we need to understand them. We need to analyze them in and out. We need to try to put ourselves in their place. We need to get to their mindsets .

We also need to understand ourselves properly. What happened, and where and why did things go wrong. Who is accountable to our situation.

We need to define our dictionary of concepts, ( peace, resistance, struggle, Terror,…) and learn when and how to use them .

We need to unite our discourse, not only in blaming the occupation , but in defining our cause .

The liberation of the oppressed is a liberation of women and men, not things. Accordingly while no one liberates himself by his own efforts alone, neither is he liberated by others. Liberation, a human phenomenon, cannot be achieved by semihumans.

(Paulo Freire)

 Peace and Occupation are two notions that cannot live in harmony together. In order to find peace, one needs to be liberated first .

The most successful liberation acts all along history, are those that started from liberating their own people.

The course of liberation is found when we begin as a nation to acknowledge our environs, to divulge our own errors, to fray self-depreciation, to comprehend that liberation does not come through a revolution of forces, but through tolerance, self-awareness, education and peace-building that includes mutual understanding and justice.

As long as we remain unaware of the causes of our condition, we fatalistically “accept” our exploitation.

Changing society starts by changing individuals, so that they could struggle to bring about social changes .

People are not fully free until they are in a struggle for justice.

Ending the occupation is a social act, not just a political one. Our politicians can never proceed as long as we as a nation are occupied from within.

Peace will start the instant we are able to liberate ourselves from

the cultural, tribal, ethnic occupation that has occupied our minds and hearts and prevented us from even facing our reality.

We can never grow to become a liberated nation as long as we are prejudiced to our gender issues, as long as we are wedged with our tribal thinking, as long as we are intolerant , as long as we don’t address children as future leaders and women as equals.

Ending the Occupation starts when our people start nourishing themselves into a more tolerant, educated, liberal, knowledgeable, self-aware nation.


The struggle begins with men and women’s recognition that they have been destroyed. Propaganda, management, manipulation — all arms of domination — cannot be the instruments of their re-humanization. The only effective instrument is a humanizing pedagogy in which the revolutionary leadership establishes a permanent relationship of dialogue with the oppressed. (Paulo Freire)

June 2013

Ir Amim, Divided Jerusalem or United

Talking Jerusalem,

Living under occupation has always been a striving drive towards maintaining an identity that shapes Palestinians in general and in Jerusalem in particular despite the situation.

In spite the fact that it might have been a weakness decades along that we Palestinians pretended the non-existence of Israel; we were fighting a country that we considered a phantom, non-existent, until it finally dawned on us; we found ourselves going from one phase of recognition after the other with strange resilience somehow from one hand; in holding up tighter as always on our identity, and, giving up one piece after the other of what Palestine is to us on the other hand .It started with the declaration of independence in 1988 and was crowned in Oslo in 1993.

On the other side, and as Michael Ben Yair says:”Israel keeps ignoring history’s continuous lessons that teach us that no nation is prepared to live under another’s domination and that a suppressed people’s war of national liberation will inevitably succeed.”

Moreover, as exactly what Ben-Ami once observed: “Maybe what we lacked was not time. Maybe what we lacked was the readiness of both parties to reconcile themselves with the others. “

As much as a Palestinian in the mainstream Israeli view represents at his most a terrorist and at his norm a laborer with no education or class. An Israeli in the opinion of the mainstream Palestinian accounts for a soldier that at his best would assault him less, and at his norm a colonial; degrading, uprooting my presence, if not my existence.

It is sorrowful that we both as people failed to see each other. It is sad how most of us could do more than being brainwashed and controlled by facts imposed on us with no sense of propriety and respect to our humanity, to our presence to the least on the same land.

As much as I have, on a personal level failed to see Israel in the eye of an Israeli, in his thrive to make it happen, to finally have his fellow people in a place that they can call home; something I will maybe find forever hard to swallow, but we have gone a long way, with the recognition that our leadership has declared since Oslo. With all its good and bads, despite the enormous size and blockade Israel enclave us with, but we started recognizing its existence.

A harsh existence; it is true. Occupation cannot be decorated. It cannot but stay demonized. However, reconciliation can occur. However, reconciliation cannot take place when Israel is failing to recognize that what is happening in Jerusalem is not a unification of a city, but assault and discrimination of a city.

Today, Israelis are more in denial about the fact of occupation that restricts us all from moving towards reconciled agreement.

Reconciliation means that we can see each other; see each other on the same eye level, not a superior for an inferior. It means that we can look together for what is just for both of us.

Moreover, justice is not the eradication of Israel. Justice starts when Israel admits its fault towards the Palestinian people. Recognizing our mistakes is the first step towards reconciliation, the first step towards equality, the first step to unification.

Only then, it would not matter if a city were east or west. A wealthy West is not safe with a poor east.

Jerusalem today stands as the poorest city in Israel. Isn’t this a disgrace for capital.It does not matter if its the capital of Israel or Palestine, what is important is that what stands as the holiest place on earth for three religions, is shattered and fractured in poverty.

Jerusalem air is filled with vibes of frustration and passionate feelings against the other.

It is true that we Palestinians are weaker in given terms of seized control. A Palestinian can barely breathe the breath of survival. The non-stop consecutive attempts of Israeli governments to alter the character of Jerusalem in its eastern part by fostering a critical Jewish mass, both territorial and demographic.

The Palestinians are surrounded by a system that consists of a municipality, ministry of interior, court system, police and other governmental bodies, as well as non-official bodies as settler associations that do the ‘dirty work.’

All these factors only promote anger and hatred. Submission is just a temporarily act, that will change in the proper opportunity into a revolution.

It is true that people are striving to make a healthy living, and what we do is merely live. It appears like we try to adapt, imitate or follow Israeli more modern, democratic, the way of living. People are confused between a Palestinian state of affairs and a more stable Israel.

However, and despite all, in Jerusalem, Palestinians share what Rashid Khalidi states clearly about Palestinians as a whole: “It is not about emulating Israel, but to preserve an identity and set of institutions that are both Palestinian and Arab.

“ For Palestinians the contrast could not be greater: they have yet to achieve self- determination, independence, or statehood, they are only now painfully integrating their feeble Para-state, which grew up in exile, In an administration with the limited powers the Israelis allow them; they have an economy in a shambles after three decades of occupation and several years of intifada, they control virtually no resources and have no real allies in the world .the Palestinians, of course, do have one asset despite everything; a powerful sense of national identity, which we have seen they were able to develop and maintain despite extraordinary vicissitudes .”

Again, the word occupation should be the keyword that both sides should hold up to. Israel theoretically unifying the city does not serve it much. Regardless or the international laws, and the UNSC declaration in 1971 regarding Israeli de facto annexing of East Jerusalem: “ All legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change the status of the city of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties, transfer of the occupied section, are totally invalid and cannot modify the state. “

Even in 1980, when Israel aimed at legally entrenching the annexation, the UNSC again issued an explicit declaration regarding the invalidity of the actions under international law. “ All legislative and administrative measures and procedures were taken by Israel, the occupying power, which has altered or purport to alter the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem, and, in particular, the recent “basic Law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith .“

As well as the numerous resolutions outlawing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

So for Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel is de facto state of occupation as well.

I am not sure how much Israel behavior towards Jerusalemites in both entrenching and encroaching rights and obligations is serving itself in unification.

Palestinians are more than ever separated from Israelis. It is true that Palestinians struggle to maintain services they receive from the municipality and other governmental institutions, both maybe for staying steadfast in the city, and receiving better life opportunities, through different sectors and means. The walls and barriers that were built inside Jerusalem neighborhoods, as well as obstacles and fences outside the city separating Palestinians from Israelis, succeeded in creating real psychological barriers as well between both people.

It is true that a Palestinian seek to learn at the Hebrew University, speeds to learn Hebrew, apply in Israeli different working places, Palestinians stand in lines for social security services, and health care. Some even race to get Israeli citizenship. However, this is not for the love of Israel, it is for survival amid a little Palestinian leadership that seems to have neglected Jerusalemites and left them behind, amid their internal chaos for sustaining their continuation, and an Israeli apparatus than never seize an opportunity to get rid of them.

However, one can not say, that a significant opportunity is there, regardless of what the plan is, from both Palestinian and Israeli leadership. Jerusalem can never be annexed or divided. It is a city that for thousands of years survived all kinds of intrusions and invasions, and yet remained, as resilient as its people. Moreover, its inhabitants have never seized to be of one race or ethnicity. It is a city that will continue to embrace people’s faiths in all shapes.

We Palestinians cannot and will not get rid of Israelis; it is neither a possibility nor a wish. We need to stop nagging on what we assessed before and after. We need to look for a common ground that puts us together in a living condition that gives Jerusalem what it deserves.

The possibilities for solutions and common grounds exist and lay around us. At the end of the day, we have more in common than from what we have the world around us. We both found ourselves here to stay.

If Israel does not recognize my right as a human being, that is equal to its citizens; it will soon find itself in a situation where it will find it impossible to control those masses of what will become a majority sooner than later. Israel cannot continue to pretend that Palestinians are nothing but a less equal people that will take what is thrown or them, and the more entrenched they are, the better they behave.

Even if tomorrow a state of Palestine is declared with East Jerusalem as a capital, Israel still needs neighbors that can be lived with. The current situation makes it impossible for a separation or living.

As long as we exist, we will continue or fight or have our freedom. Moreover, our freedom is not just in a state of Palestine; freedom is in dignified life and equal opportunities and rights.

Our Palestinian life is about commemorating one tragedy after the other.

In a place we claim holy; while celebrating religious holidays can at some point if given the chance mount to each of the year days. . So are our political dates. While we politicize our religious holiday, we tend to holicize our political ones.

This year marks a notable date for our misfortune. It is 67 years of occupation since 1948, and 48 years of another occupation since 1967.

And as part of being perfectly confused, the numbers’ game seems to add a flavor to it all.

And in between those two dates we continue to commemorate our life in this place. A massacre after the other, all before even the existence of the current state of Israel. Diaspora. Expulsion. Prison. Occupation. Massacres. Genocide. Invasions. Uprooting… …whatever… A land stolen here… An olive tree stolen there. In this country all is subjugated to something even trees…. And in reality this overwhelming exaggeration is not exaggerated after all…. After all who steals trees from one land and plant them in another same land??? Well, on the other side of the map … or maybe actually inside a roaming circle of the same spot that became eventually called: settlements.

Settlements or Colonies? Occupation or Colonization? Expulsion or Fleeing? Nakba (Catastrophe) or Atzmaut (Independence)?

For the last 48\67 years. . And as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Here, numbers are in the agony of the speaker. We have been generating dates that mark more of our tragedy as people and as a nation.

Yet, to make it worse… our life as a nation has become exactly like the map of what once we called homeland. While the occupation 67 or 68, it doesn’t matter continue to chop up the land. Cropping apiece here and planting a settlement there. Surrounding the map with a wall; apartheid, separation also whatever. A checkpoint here and a border there; flying or permanent; also it doesn’t matter. Uprooting a tree or a human being. Demolishing a house or expelling people .A highway, a freeway, a railway or also whatever. Encircling, enclaving, seizing or capturing …however….

We Palestinians “miraculously” find only time to declare winning or loss on our own tribal fractioned stupidity and immense failure as a nation.

We left all and busied ourselves in a threat of an assumption of “dreamy” elections when the “other” will win. The other is not the Israeli settler or occupier or invader or jailer. It is the other Palestinian from that other group that assumingly may win in a fearful democratic operation called elections.

The winning of the Islamic font (Hamas) in Birzeit University’s student elections. Points yet another time how decayed Fateh has become. And yet, instead of learning the lesson, which definitely wouldn’t be learnt, they are looking for reasons and accuses to de-estimate what happened.

As much as the elections in Birzeit University shouldn’t indicate anything except another university union body elections. It is a serious indicator to where Fateh is heading. Or where it has already headed. And Birzeit as an indicator is the most important because Birzeit University is the oldest and historically, it has always served as the community engine and leadership maker.

Of course what happened wasn’t a surprise, but actually is a very normal consequence of all the inner and surrounding destruction of Fateh in the last years.

And exactly like the historical Palestine map that has been cropped and chunked in the last decades into what is an actual divided cantons of un-soveiregn sovereignties and (the enemy) security safeguard. The war on un-sovereign entity and power within the Palestinian society is a micro level of a disaster, Nakba, of the Palestinian People, this time caused by Palestinian so-called leadership(s).

في السكوت قد يكون سكون
يهدئ روع قلب محتار
بين صمت أخرس
وصمت اغتيال
في السكوت لربما رثاء
لكلمات لم تعد
ولعبارات لن تجد مكانا
على فراش سكنه الصمت
خوف ربما
هلع قد يكون
هروب من اقرار
بفشل او خديعة
بانهزام او خنوع
في السكوت قد يكون سكون
يطفيء نيران كلاما تطاير كالشظايا بالهواء
احترق بنفسه
وسقط رمادا
في احضان اشلاء نار
اشعلها عشق
خامدا وهج لم يكن بالاصل موجود
ينطفئ وهجا تدريجيا
وتبقى خامدة
معلنا وفاة
من كان بالاصل غير موجود

بينما وجدت نفسي غارقة بكمبيوتري الخاص اتصفح دفائنه … رايت رسالة كتبتها لحسن. وليس لدي ادنى فكره من هو حسن. ولكن ما استوقني في رسالتي احسن المجهول لي ، انه ومرة اخرى يتشابه اليوم بالامس . قد يتغير حسن ولكن لا تتغير الاحداث، ويبدو ان هذه الرسالة جاءت ضمن موقف مشابه لما حدث بالامس من فوز للكتلة الاسلامية بجامعة بيرزيت…. الا انني تغلبت اليوم عن محاولة فهمي وتحليلي فالامور كلها واضحة خالصة

عزيزي حسن,

قد استعجل الحكم على ما اقرأه بين كلماتك , ولكن لا استطيع ان اتغاضى عن اخر جملة في اكثر مقالاتك التي قرأتها , والتي بها دائما رسالة مبطنه مباشرة لحماس .

قد اكون جاهلة في عالم السياسة , وقد لا افقه من الخبرات السياسية شيئا غير ما اقرأ . ولكن اذا ما اخذت نهج السلطة وحللته في كلمتين , فالنهج الوحيد الذي يتفق عليه الجميع وبلا استثناء هو مهاجمة حماس.

كم تمنيت ان يكون نهجنا موحدا في محاربة اسرائيل , حتى ما يكمن في جعبة المخضرمين من مفاوضينا وسياسيينا في ذم او محاربة اسرائيل هو نفس الكلام , استطيع ان اعرف ما سيقوله فلان وفلان وفلان من بعد اول جمله, وهذا ليس ذكاءا ولكنه فن التكرار الذي اتقنه هؤلاء حتى اصبح كمن ينفخ في بوق , يصدر انغاما باتت مملة احيانا ومزعجة وحتى متلفة للسمع باكثر الاحيان .

لا اعرف اذا ما كان هذا يسمى فلسا سياسيا بالمطلق, او هو فلس فكري , ام فلس ثقافي.

ما اصعب ان نكون قد افلسنا سياسيا وثقافيا وفكريا .

كنت اعتبر نفسي كانسانة فلسطينية , باني فتحاويه لان فتح هي نبض الشارع الفلسطيني , حتى عاشرت ابناء فتح , ولا اكاد اصدق حتى هذه اللحظة صعوبة ما رأيت من تعصب اعمى لفكر غير موجود ومنطق لا يمت للمنطق بصلة وقبلية عمياء تسيطر على هذه الشبيبة. كلامي لا يعني التعميم المطلق بالطبع, ولكن الفكرة في الانعكاس المخيف بين كل اطياف هذه الحركة لمردودات نفس الكلام والمواقف , حتى بات عدونا حماس وليس اسرائيل , واعلان دولتنا على الابواب وكأن الجدار الذي يحيط بأنفاسنا اصبح اما جزءا من جغرافية الارض او وهما لا نراه .

وهذا التردد لا يمثل ابناء فتح فقط ولكن يمثل كل من له علاقة بالسلطة , حتى اصبح نهجا وحيدا واضحا فقط في هذه النقطة .

كم كنت اتمنى ان تتوحد الصفوف من اجل جملة واحدة نتزن ونتفق على استعمالها في شأن الاستيطان . فبدأ نتانيهو بايقاف وتطور لتجميد وهرع سياسيونا بعد امريكا باستعمال نفس الكلمات . الحمدلله ان الامور تعثرت الان لكي يصحى مفاوضونا وسياسيونا على استخدام كلمة وقف من اجل الضغط. لقد نسوا بان الاستيطان ليس فقط ايقافا او تجميدا, لقد نسوا ان الاستيطان ازالة كاملة من اراضينا .

في موضوع اعلان الدوله , الجميع هرول وراء مسمى جديد , بدون دراسة او تعمق, فقط ردة فعل لفعل اعظم .

سنذهب الى الامم المتحدة لعرض مروع دوله غير معد اصلا , واذا ما كان هذها المشروع هو نفس مشروع فياض المنبثق عن مشروع نتانينهو للسلام الاقتصادي , فيا فرحتنا بهذه الدولة .

اتعرف لما احترم حماس, لانها تشكل ناقوسا لكل ردود الافعال الغير منتظمه ومدروسة من قبل اسياد سلطتنا .

ولا يهمني ان احكم عليها وعلى نواياها , لان حماس بالنسبة لي تحمل مخططا اخطر لهذا الشعب , والسعي وراء مخططات حماس تشبه ازالة الجدار اليوم . حماس ليست المشكلة .

اذكر حينما راهن شارون على بث حرب اهلية في غزة بعد الانسحاب , ظننته متعجرفا لا يفهم البيت الفلسطيني المكون من كل الاختلافات الحزبية , فكان الخ حماس والاخ الاخر فتح والثالث شيوعي والكل يجلس على مأدبة واحدة يتسامر ويختلف.

اليوم اذا ما ذكرنا كلمة حماس فنحن منشقون , ولست بصدد ان اعرف ما يصدر من حماس , لان حماس ليست الا نتيجة لفساد وافلاس فكري وسياسي وثقافي, استطاعت ملء قلوب وعقول البسطاء منا المتعطشين لادنى شعور بالكرامة والحرية بسجايا الهية تكون اقرب الى الانسان من ربه المرجو وجوده من تلك الحقيقة البالية المتهاونة التي تعفنت ولم نعد حتى تحمل رائحتها.

Humanitarian Tourism…

Living in a life full of contradictions.

Injustices and integrity.

Prejudice and gender equality .

Regimes being destroyed,

autonomies being occupied under liberation notions and emancipation. Dictatorship supported under rule of law conceptions and shadows of democracy. Men, women, children… dead bodies spread all over the world.

Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Palestine …..and a long list of victims granted to notions of liberation and oppression.

A blended identity between the defender and the oppressor .

Those who are supposed to protect in daylight kill at night and vice versa…

and then ,

at the end of each day or night…

connecting with our virtual world,

we sit behind those screens and start recreation .

The tyrant becomes a liberator.

The dictator becomes the democrat.

The thief becomes a preacher .