Struggle of Jerusalem: The Exhausted Balance between Occupation, Marginalization, and Frustration … in Order to Assert Existence 

“If a person corrupts his abilities, then his ethics and religion, his humanity becomes distorted and a mockery of truth.” (Ibn Khaldun)”

Tyranny distorts the balance of virtues, turning virtues into vices, and vices into virtues.” (Ibn Khaldun) 

Why did the visit of the Israeli municipality’s mayor to a youth investment project in the middle of Salah al-Din Street anger the residents of Jerusalem?

What is strange about it?

It is a youth- innovation- project that receives support from the Jerusalem Municipality (Occupation), and the mayor of the municipality comes to inaugurate it. Certainly, the new Israeli policy approach has become confrontational and direct, as these agreements and collaborations are no longer taking place behind closed doors. On one hand, the municipality, being the funder, has the right to showcase its cooperation as it sees fit (from its perspective). On the other hand, youth and people in the market think that they need financial support for their entrepreneurial projects, and what the municipality provides falls under the umbrella of rights. In the end, the citizens pay taxes, comply with laws, and spend their lives paying to stay in this city, so why shouldn’t they benefit from youth-sponsored projects?Of course, this sense of entitlement and dealing with the matter with such ease did not happen overnight.

It is certainly not the result of the marginalization policy that Jerusalem has suffered and continues to suffer from since Oslo, under the Palestinian Authority, which left the city and its residents in the grip of occupation alone.

What is happening is an integral part of a well-planned systemic approach that has been worked on since Oslo, and its “bitter” fruits are now ready to be harvested, and here we are tasting their bitterness. These young people have learned in municipal schools or schools that have become affiliated with Israeli knowledge. They graduated from school and learned in Israeli institutions. This system provided them with educational opportunities first, in exchange for the tragedy of the high school diploma and its failure, then it opened the doors of institutes and (Israeli) colleges for them, easy to join, access, succeed, and most importantly, it provided job opportunities. There is an age group that is no longer concerned with the Palestinian political reality that has afflicted Palestinian society and worsened its social and economic situation.There is a state of direct provision of opportunities, starting from education to entering the job market—(this is what the youth see, especially when comparing the situation in Jerusalem with the situation in the West Bank).

What do the youth want more?We no longer ask what education is or think about what is being instilled in our children’s minds. All parents and children want is the provision of opportunities for a future where young people can be financially self-sufficient. And we cannot blame anyone for this.The national project has become a private project for the authority and its beneficiaries. The ordinary citizen (the overwhelming majority) cannot afford private or foreign schools, and he cannot even think about their tuition fees. The ordinary citizen cannot consider a respected foreign university; he cannot even dream of enrolling in one. The ordinary citizen wants security and a decent life that keeps him away from poverty, especially when he sees the situation of his fellow citizen in the West Bank just a few kilometers away.

Who provides these things here? If the occupation system, with all its flaws, provides schools, institutes, and job opportunities, what makes the youth hesitate to seize the opportunities? While they see Israeli institutions on every corner, such as Kupat Holim, banks, national insurance, interior ministry, community centers, schools, and institutions. All of them open their doors thanks to a property owner from the city.What is the basis for renting properties? Who rents municipal schools? Who rents banks? Who rents medical centers? Who rents Israeli institutes and colleges?

Discussing the validity or invalidity of the matter seems unjustified today because the matter is settled. We all bear witness to what has happened, and only liars and hypocrites deny it. We all stand as false witnesses, analyzing and prohibiting. We turn a blind eye and plunder according to our interests. The matter is settled. It ended when the Jerusalem newspaper was replaced by an Israeli bank, when the Open University (Israeli) found its headquarters in the Chamber of Commerce building when the refugee girls’ school became a school under the municipality, and when renting Kupat Holim became a race for property owners to rent it. And there are many examples. Only the economic market remains for the residents of this city, and it has closed the file on education, settling in favor of Israel. What can young people and traders do? Israeli products are all that are available. The youth and traders no longer think of being anything more than marketers of Israeli products, from shoes to cosmetics. We ride public buses, and there is no longer a difference between a bus in Beit Hanina and the tram; transportation is one network belonging to the Jerusalem Municipality (Occupation). The consumer is left with only the choice of the price of the product he finds in the Israeli market, which is lower, leading him to refrain from the Palestinian market except for Israeli shops located in Arab shopping areas. Just passing through a mall in my country makes you feel like you’re in Mamilla or Malha, the same stores selling clothes, shoes, and cafes.

Why? Because the consumer has also lost trust in the service, product, and price. Therefore, it is better for him to enter a “trusted” store that knows how to buy the item from anywhere at the same price and same quality. Why have we reached this point? This is no longer a matter that can be analyzed; we have been exhausted and violated by excessive analysis. Everyone says, “I’m fed up,” except for those who have money or power. Money has become laundered and circulated, and power has become manipulation, seduction, and temptation. There is no security or safety, and the protectors are the robbers as far as the citizen is concerned. Those who claim integrity and abstain from using the occupation’s services monopolize the funds of donor institutions and give advice to the people in nationalism that starts and ends with them. With a different type of power and money, we now see the directors of institutions as owners of real estate and luxury cars, speaking about integrity and accountability without being held accountable. We curse the municipality and its services, we curse the occupation and its existence, but when we see crowds lining up to collect unemployment benefits, what can the youth and traders do? The properties have been sold, and we have become silent. Houses are demolished daily, families are robbed and displaced, and our days pass as if nothing happened. The clients have become the owners of centers, power, and status, and we have become their subordinates. The homeland has leaked out from among us, from our sides, above us, and below us.


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