Is the Hangman Noose tightening around Jerusalem’s Neck?

The issue of Jerusalem forms one of the most very basic factor behind the present Arab and Islamic struggle against the Israeli colonial policy to Judaise Palestine. Jerusalem, the symbol of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is being isolated from its Christian and Islamic roots to turn it into an exclusive area reserved only for the Jews because they are “the chosen people of God”! The Holy city is being transformed internally and externally into a Judaised area by systematically segregating its Christian and Muslim Palestinians in a ghetto completely infiltrated and surrounded by Jewish colonial settlements. The official policy of Israel is to encourage more and more Jews to ‘settle’ in the Arab/Palestinian sector of Jerusalem in order to gradually eradicate any Palestinian presence within or around the Arab city.

 The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has prepared a carefully researched report listing every unilateral move taken by Israel to change the demographic status of the Holy city in favor of the Jewish presence only. According to the report, the Apartheid (separation) Wall which surrounds Jerusalem was constructed to put the control of passage in and out of the Holy city in the hands of the Israeli occupying military. The city can be closed down in the face of Christian and Muslim Palestinians within a second by the jewish colonial occupiers, thus separating Palestinians from their churches and mosques located within the walled-in area of East Jerusalem. The Wall has placed tens of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites outside its perimeter, thus almost cutting them off from the city. It is, indeed,  part of the colonial policy of Israel which was drawn up in 1967 for the single purpose of eradicating any Palestinian Christian and Muslim presence right in the Holy city of Jerusalem which is now an isolated area facing complete Judaisation. The Israeli policy has made it impossible to establish the future capital of an independent Palestine state in the Arab/ Palestinian sector of the Holy city, in addition to shadow cast and uncertainty on the destiny of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites, to say the least.

 Forced migration is not new to Palestinians. They were subjected to it since the creation of the State of Israel that led to their displacement from their lands, homes and farms in 1948. Israel claims the Wall is intended to separate Israelis from Palestinians to ensure security, yet it is separating Palestinians from their lands and denying them their legitimate rights as human beings. Prof. Hanna Essa, an international Law Professor and the Secretary General of the Jerusalem Islamic/Christian Association explains the above in clear terms saying “the process of annexing Palestinian Lands in Jerusalem by the systematic colonial policy of the Israeli State aims to isolate Jerusalem from its Arab neighborhoods and to disconnect it from the West Bank, its geographical Palestinian extension, in preparation to completely annex it to the Israeli State”. He brings to our minds vivid memories of similar Israeli acts in the past when he says that “the future of the old city of Jerusalem has become an exact replica of what befell Jaffa and Acre, two Palestinian cities when in 1948, their Palestinian residents were forced by (Israeli) arms to leave to allow for an overwhelming Jewish majority there”.

Israel has approved plans to link the colonial settlements outside what is called ‘the Municipality of Metropolitan Jerusalem’ with others within the area to enlarge the Jewish presence within the Holy city. This colonial presence was linked by highways and tunnels with the Israeli colonial settlements within the West Bank and with the geographical areas of the Israeli ‘green line’ established in 1949. When the Wall is completed, it will encompass within the area of Jerusalem 12 large “settlements” containing more than 176 thousand Zionist colonizers/ “settlers”. East Jerusalem, the Arab/ Palestinian sector, will have 44% of its population made up of Jewish “settlers”, in addition to 27 “settlements” more surrounding Jerusalem from four corners. This would also allow the finished Wall to swallow more than 90% of the 1967 enlarged area of East Jerusalem, (equaling 70 km2) to be part of Israel proper.

The apartheid Wall is being built in a way to surround Palestinian villages and towns from three corners and isolate their residents from their annexed fields and farms, leaving them hostage in a big prison with an absolute restriction of movement. When construction is completed, the Wall would isolate around 225 thousand Palestinian Jerusalemites from the West Bank and lead to Israeli annexation of a 4km line deep in Palestinian territories (the West Bank of River Jordan) which would imprison nearly 200 thousand Palestinians within the area of Jerusalem and prevent a similar number from freely reaching Jerusalem from neighboring areas of the West Bank. To exacerbate the already deteriorating situation, a special project has been executed since August, 2003 to add to the Wall surrounding Jerusalem and make the isolation of Arab Jerusalem airtight. The purpose is to completely sever East Jerusalem from its Arab/ Palestinian neighborhoods and attain complete Israeli control over its growth and development in order to eliminate any Palestinian presence within the Holy city. With the hangman noose tightening around Jerusalem’s neck; what you, Muslims and Arabs, are planning to do?