Israeli Settlement in the Old City of Jerusalem

VOL. 21


No. 4
P. 32
Israeli Settlement in the Old City of Jerusalem


Since 1967, Israeli settlement policy in Jerusalem has been directed to- wards a single overriding goal: the consolidation of Israeli control over Palestinian East Jerusalem in order to prevent any future redivision of the city. In political and functional terms, this has involved declarations of a "united" Jerusalem as the "eternal" capital of the Israeli state, combined with the transfer of government offices and the extension of municipal authority and services to East Jerusalem. Demographically, it has meant strenuous efforts to construct housing and encourage the settlement of Israelis in the Palestinian parts of the city. [1] 

There have been four phases of Israeli settlement in the Old City. The first took place in the immediate aftermath of the June 1967 war and involved the demolition of the entire Magharib quarter and the eviction of its Palestinian residents. During the second phase, from 1968 to the late seventies, the Israeli government expanded the Jewish quarter by expropriating Palestinian and Islamic properties between the Armenian and Magharib quarters, evicting the Palestinian tenants and replacing them with Israelis. These two phases have been considered with other researchers. [2] 

Beginning in the early eighties, militant Israeli settler groups initiated the third phase aimed at establishing an Israeli presence in the heart of the Muslim quarters of the Old City and near the Haram al-Sharif. The fourth phase began in 1987 when the minister of housing, Ariel Sharon, occupied a property in one of the Muslim quarters. While the third and fourth phases are both characterized by intensified settler activity in the Old City, the fourth is distinguished by the beginning of overt support given to the settlers by members of the Israeli government.

The third, covert, phase of settler penetration of the Old City has received far less attention than Ariel Sharon's dramatic move or the establishment of huge settlements and housing estates in East Jerusalem that have been biting into the West Bank. This neglect is partly due to the clandestine nature of the settlement activities during this period. This article draws together existing studies, which are in any case extremely brief, [3] and presents the historical background to Jewish residence in the Old City, along with hitherto unpublished details about the settler groups.

Jewish Residence in the Old City

As of the early nineteenth century, a religiously motivated (as opposed to politically motivated) Jewish immigration, mainly from Eastern Europe, began to converge on Jerusalem. Figures vary widely: Ben-Arieh reports the Jewish population of Jerusalem as having grown from 2,500 in 1800 to 17,000 in 1880, the eve of the first wave of Zionist immigration. Other scholars would consider these estimates high; Schmelz puts the number of Jews in the city (citizens and foreign aliens) at 10,000 in 1875, and according to Schblch about half the European Jews coming to Palestine during this period left the country again because of the living conditions and attitudes of the authorities. Ottoman sources list 3,780 Jews in Jerusalem in 1871-72, but these figures do not include the foreign Jews (Ottoman statistics list 5,500 foreigners for the whole sanjaq of Jerusalem in 1895). [4] 

Whatever the precise figures, there is no question that there was a significant influx of Jews into the city starting from the nineteenth century. The Jewish immigrants congregated in a southern quarter of the Old City traditionally known as Harat al-Yahud (Jewish quarter). The small size of the Jewish quarter was much commented upon by Western travelers. [5] During most of the nineteenth century and up to 1948, it was bordered on the west by the Armenian cathedral and the Syrian and Maronite convents, around which clustered their respective communities, and four small quarters named after the Muslim families living there; on the north by the Tariq Bab al-Silsilah and the central market area; on the east by the Harat ash-Sharaf running along the slopes overlooking the Magharib quarter; and on the south by the city walls and another small Muslim quarter called Harat al-Maidun. [6] 

As well as being small and centered in one area, the Jewish quarter mostly comprised property rented from Palestinian Arab landlords and from waqfs, or Muslim religious endowments. [7] Ben-Arieh attributes this fact to the khazaka system of rental, an internal self-regulating system set up by the Jews themselves to prevent landlords and waqf administrators from exploiting the great pressure on housing that resulted from the continuing flow of immigration. The system kept Jews from competing over rents by enforcing an agreed-upon level, and also made renting a viable option. [8] As a result, property purchases were not significant; Benvenisti estimates that by 1948 no more than 20 percent of the quarter was owned by Jews. [9] 


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The area became so densely populated that some immigrants were compelled to move just north of the Jewish quarter across the Tariq Bab al-Silsilah and along the Aqabat Khalidiyya and Aqabat Saraya (see Map 2). By the 1880s, it had become known in the Jewish community as the "Hebron Mar- ket" area, since many of the immigrants came from the Jewish community in Hebron. [10] 

The usual pattern of Jewish settlement during this period was for a respected rabbi to donate funds for or himself to establish a kolel, or study group, in a community compound. A small kolel comprised a synagogue and residential units around a courtyard while larger ones would also include a library and teaching and study areas. In the 1860s, for example, Rabbi Fis- chel Lapin purchased two courtyards in the Harat al-Wad Muslim quarter, while in 1871 the Kolel Reissin was set up with funds from a famous rabbi, Sa'adia ben Yehezkel Shorr, in the Harat Bab al-Silsilah. [11] Other areas also attracted Jewish settlement. A small Polish community was set up in the Bab al-Hutta area, just south of the Bab al-Zahra, and was known as Bet Warsawa, while the wealthy Rabbi Moshe Wittenberg bought a large house near the Damascus Gate. [12] 

In the main, Jewish-Arab relations were cordial with considerable commercial and social interaction. Palestinian landlords and shopkeepers benefitted from the increased income that the Jewish immigrants provided. For example, the public bath at the bottom of the Aqabat Khalidiyya, Hamam al-Ayn, administered by the Khalidi waqf, contained a mikvaot, or Jewish ritual bath, whose resting room provided an important place for socializing. (The Hamam al-Shifr, nearby, also contained a mikvaot. Both were super- vised by rabbis.)

During the early part of the twentieth century, the expansion of the New City to the west and north of the Old City eased the Jewish demand on accommodations in the Muslim quarters. In 1929, intercommunal rioting led to the gradual emigration of Jews from the Muslim quarters to the New City. The tensions and rioting of the thirties accelerated this movement until finally in 1936 the last Jewish family left the quarters. [13] Properties which had been bought, as opposed to leased, by Jewish institutions were either sold or leased to Arabs, or abandoned. The Yeshiva Torat Hayyim, for example, in the Harat al-Wad, was abandoned by 1932. [14] 

In 1948, the empty former Jewish properties were occupied by Palestinian refugees from West Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. At first their residence was administered by the International Red Cross and then by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), particularly in the former Jewish quarter. [15] In 1950, all such properties in the Old City were placed under the legal jurisdiction of the Jordanian government's "Guardian of Enemy Property," whose responsibility was to collect rents and maintain the properties until a peace settlement was reached with Israel. Following the Israeli occupation of the Old City in 1967, most of the functions of the Guardian were assumed by the Israeli "Custodian of Absentee Property." Palestinian inhabitants of the Muslim quarters were recognized as protected tenants or given new leases in accordance with the municipality's policy of segregating housing rather than returning dwellings to their former Jewish owners or tenants.

Early Phases of Settlement in the Post-1967 Period

After the occupation of the Old City, one of the first acts of the Israeli military was the almost compete demolition of the Magharib quarter, also known as the Moroccan quarter, and the eviction of its inhabitants. This was done to create a large plaza for Jewish worshippers in front of the western wall of the Haram al-Sharif, the location of the Wailing Wall or Wall of Lamentations.

The expropriation and demolition began even before the June 1967 war had ended. By the afternoon of Wednesday, 7 June, the second day of the war, Israeli troops had captured the Old City and raised a flag on the Dome of the Rock. [16] Four days later on 11 June, before any cease-fire agreements, troops began dynamiting the houses in the Magharib quarter beside the western wall of Haram al-Sharif, clearing away the rubble with bulldozers. Residents had two to three hours to leave. [17] By 12 June, the whole quarter had been flattened.

In all, 135 houses were demolished [18] and approximately 650 people evicted. [19] Demolished buildings included the ancient al-Buraq and Afdali mosques and their zawfyas, or Sufi prayer halls and hostels. The renowned Khanqah al-Fakhriyya adjacent to the western wall was destroyed two years later by Israeli archaeological excavations. [20] 

Later the entire area was expropriated for "Jewish quarter redevelopment." "Owners" were offered compensation, but the offer was essentially meaning- less since it was well-established that the properties of the quarter were waqf and not the residents' private property. As administrators of the religious endowments, the Awqaf Administration and the Abu Maydan trustees (who controlled important properties around a nearby shrine of a Moroccan saint) were bound by shari'ah law not to accept any change in the status of the area, which acceptance of compensation would have entailed. [21] 

The second phase of settlement, the expropriation of properties by the government, commenced soon after. On 18 April 1968, the Israeli minister of finance, Pinchas Sapir, issued an order expropriating 29 acres (116 dunums) of the southern part of the Old City for "public purposes" as defined by the British Ordinance of 1943. [22] The purpose of this order was to develop the area to house Israeli Jewish families and to reestablish a Jewish presence in the Old City. The boundaries of the expropriation zone stretched from the western wall in the east to the periphery of the Armenian convent in the west, and from the Tariq Bab al-Silsilah in the north to the walls of the city in the south.

The expropriated area included 700 stone buildings, only 105 of which had been owned by Jews before 1948. The Palestinian properties seized included 1,048 apartments and 437 workshops or commercial stores. [23] The former mayor of Jerusalem protested:

By these new expropriations Arabs in the City will lose properties which have belonged to them for hundreds of years, and more than 6,000 Arabs will be evacuated from the City and dispersed . . . while more than 700 employers and workers will be deprived of their means of livelihood, and forced to swell the ranks of the homeless . . . while the landlords and beneficiaries of waqfs, who used to enjoy and live on the rent of their properties and waqfs, will be deprived of their sources of livelihood and forced to join the ranks of the needy, if not of the refugees. [24] 

The eviction of Palestinian tenants was not carried out in one day, as had been the case in the Magharib quarter. An Israeli company was created to renovate and rebuild the expropriated area as the new Jewish quarter. Given the title "Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter" (CRDJQ), it was directly accountable to the Israeli prime minister and the inter-ministerial "Committee for Jerusalem Affairs." The CRDJQ notified tenants of the expropriation and offered compensation to help with mortgages for alternative housing. Some tenants were happy to accept the terms, but many refused. In those cases, litigation and a long process of well- documented harassment and coercion followed. [25] In some cases where tenants refused to leave, access to their homes was blocked. In others, excavations were initiated around them, courtyard and house walls were demolished, and they found themselves having to live with the constant noise of drilling and danger of falling masonry. In the end, all but a few of the Palestinians departed.

The process of eviction extended over 10 years, partly because the Awqaf Administration, the mutawallis (stewards) of waqf dhurri (family waqfs), and most private landlords refused to accept compensation and thereby recognize the change of ownership that the CRDJQ required. In order to circumvent this obstacle, the Israeli government changed the law. In 1973, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Absentee Property Law [26] whereby if a tenant were to accept compensation, then all property rights would be liquidated and the government would recognize the transaction as a valid transfer of ownership. [27] This would apply even if the tenant was clearly not the owner of the property concerned.

Demographics of the Third Phase

To understand the success of the third phase of Israeli settlement directed at the heart of the Muslim quarters, one needs to appreciate the Old City's demographic context and housing conditions. Israeli government demographic planning in the whole of Jerusalem has been guided by the target of maintaining a ratio of at least 7:3 in favor of Israeli Jews. [28] In June 1967, Israel had redrawn the municipal map of Jerusalem to incorporate the eastern part of the city captured during war, at the same time greatly expanding the traditional boundaries of the city. Although the new boundaries were drawn in such a way as to exclude to the extent possible areas of Palestinian population density and to include to the maximum the areas of Jewish settlement, the very fact of absorbing the wholly Arab eastern part of the city made Israel's demographic target far more difficult to achieve. In pursuit of its goal, the government has invested considerable resources in housing estates and inducements to encourage Israelis and new Jewish immigrants to settle in Jerusalem. [29] At the same time, Palestinian-owned land was expropriated and planning restrictions were placed upon the use of remaining Palestinian land in an attempt to halt the growth of the Palestinian population.



Israeli efforts to reduce the percentage of Palestinians have not been entirely successful, as can be seen from the above table. The situation is even less encouraging from the Israeli perspective when one considers that the municipal authorities are planning not in keeping with the redrawn boundaries, but according to a "functional" city extending from Ramallah in the north to Bethlehem in the south. In this wider metropolitan area, only 52 percent of the population is made up of Israeli Jews. By the mid-eighties, planners concluded that without large-scale Jewish immigration, the only way to achieve a demographic balance in Jerusalem was to reduce the Palestinian population, [31] a conclusion with major implications for the Old City.

Writing in 1989, Thomas observed, "the demographic facts in the Old City present a disturbing picture for the Israeli government." [32] The proportion of Palestinians to Israeli Jews had remained high. In 1972, the population of the Old City had been 98 percent Palestinian. In 1981, this had lowered by only five percentage points, to 93 percent. [33] 

Meanwhile, the population of the Old City has grown from 23,500 in 1972 to 25,500 in 1983 to 27,500 in 1989, the last year for which statistics were available. [34] Municipal planners have set the optimum population for the Old City at 20,000. [35] Plans also call for the increase of the Israeli population of the extended Jewish quarter to at least 5,000. [36] In order to achieve these twin goals, taking into consideration the 1989 Israeli figures, which put the Jewish population of the expanded Jewish quarter at 2,300 (to which can be added about 200 Jews now living in the Muslim quarters) about 10,000 Palestinians would have to leave the Old City.

Housing Conditions

Given the demographic projections, housing conditions that encourage further Palestinian emigration are extremely significant. The uncertain political future of East Jerusalem and the Old City, the limits the Israeli government has placed upon the Jordanian Awqaf Administration's development activity, and Palestinian resistance to Israeli encroachment on their responsibilities and jurisdictions have resulted in severe urban blight in the remaining Muslim quarters. Overcrowded, dilapidated, unsafe in some areas, with few amenities or services, they are widely recognized as the slums of Jerusalem and now house only the poor. [37] 

The Israeli Jerusalem Municipality provides essential services such as water, drainage, sewage disposal, electricity, and television cables. But its virtual ban on housing construction in the "Arab sector" has caused over- crowding. Moreover, severe planning restrictions on repairs and maintenance have led to illegal, badly constructed and hazardous additions and repairs.

Other conditions make property management difficult. Under Israeli law a rent cannot be raised on a tenancy that predates 1966, other than the nominal increases set annually by the Israeli government. These increases do not match inflation, and the maintenance costs of these old buildings, in constant need of repairs not to say renovation, have in most cases exceeded income. The 1954 Tenancy Law also prevents changes in leases or the eviction of tenants for purposes of raising the rent, which leaves the landlords with little incentive to repair or refurbish their property.

A further problem for landlords is the prevalence of subletting. Most leases in the Old City contain a "sakin wa askan" clause, which entitles tenants to sublet all or part of the property they are renting. The clause prevents the landlord from dictating the choice of a subtenant (who may abuse the property), and it encourages tenants to view the property as their own, particularly if they have had very long occupancies. A tenant pays the nominal, controlled rent but can charge market rates to a subtenant. The landlord is still left with maintenance obligations.

Another problem is the question of key-money. Although the key-money system operates in other major cities, in the Old City it is bound by certain unusual regulations. Under the system, a tenant who wishes to vacate a property proposes a new tenant to the landlord and informs him of the sum, or key-money, the new tenant is prepared to pay for the "right of occupancy." If the landlord agrees to the new tenant, the sum will be divided between the tenant and the landlord, usually in a ratio of 2:1 in favor of the tenant, depending upon length of occupancy.

However, the 1972 Israeli Tenants Protection Law permits an old tenant to take the landlord to a tribunal for refusing to accept a new tenant, and the landlord must show "reasonable grounds" which do not include refusal to rent to a settler. If there are no "reasonable grounds" and the landlord still refuses, he must pay the old tenant the amount the latter would have received if the proposed new tenant had been accepted. The advantages of this clause for the Israeli settlers seeking to penetrate the Old City are clear: the settler groups are able to propose huge sums for key-money that the landlord is unable to match. Moreover, Palestinian landlords are reluctant to take ten- ants to Israeli courts to settle disputes, not only because they wish insofar as possible not to concede Israeli jurisdiction in the Old City, but also because given the political climate they feel they have no chance of winning their case, and the settlers are able to cause lengthy and costly delays in legal proceedings. The landlords are thus caught between the political unacceptability of agreeing to Israeli tenants and the prohibitive, indeed ruinous, costs of refusing a new Israeli tenant if the old tenant is won over by either inducements or harassment. All these factors add greatly to the disincentive to manage property in the Old City, leading to further neglect and dilapidation.

In keeping with the government's intention to reduce the Palestinian population, and taking advantage of the poor housing conditions, the militant settler groups have thus made considerable headway in their plans to establish a significant Israeli presence close to the Haram al-Sharif and in the Muslim quarters. In effect, with greater capital they are able to take advantage of a (politically engendered) depressed housing market to pursue their ideological goals.

Israeli Settlement in the Muslim Quarters

Following the success of the government's expropriation, extension, and development of the Jewish quarter, a number of Israelis became interested in former Jewish residences and sought to reactivate a Jewish presence in the Muslim quarters. A bookshop, the Ben Arza, opened on the lower end of Tariq al-Wad and was subsequently the target of an arson attack. [38] A yeshiva was established in the late seventies on the premises of the Yeshiva Torat Hayyim, also on the Tariq al-Wad. Attempts were made also by Sephardi Jews to occupy the Bet Maghrebim complex, a former hostel for North African Jews on the Aqabat Khalidiyya. These apparently sporadic and uncoordinated initiatives attracted little attention compared to Israeli settler activities in Hebron and elsewhere in the occupied territories.

By contrast, a number of ultra-nationalistic and religious settler groups surfaced during the eighties. Inspired by and composed of Gush Emunim members, these groups are committed to a Messianic vision of replacing the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque on the Haram al-Sharif with a Jewish temple. [39] The three main groups are Ataret Cohanim, Torat Cohanim, and the Young Israel Movement. Together they formed a non-profit consortium known as Atara L'yoshna in the eighties with the aim of acquiring property in the Muslim quarters. A fourth group, Shuvu Banim, is less organized but has a high public profile.

The low profile of the three main groups is due partly to their modest beginnings, but also to the political and ideological domination of Jerusalem's mayor, Teddy Kollek. He held the view the coexistence between Palestinians and Israeli Jews could best be served by a "mosaic" principle that recognized different lifestyles and, more importantly, favored residential segregation of the various religious and ethnic communities. [40] The mosaic principle provided the intellectual cover for the eviction and subsequent exclusion of Palestinians from the extended Jewish quarter and other parts of West Jerusalem where they had owned property. Kollek's idea is further entirely consistent with pragmatic Zionist occupation policy.

The rise of the settler groups, however, marked the end of Kollek's ideological hegemony and a decline in his political authority. The implications of this shift and the internal debate between the establishment Zionist position (as represented by Kollek) and the militant Zionist position (as represented by the settler groups) form the political backdrop to the third phase of Old City settlement. Another factor emerged after the 1977 elections, when the "Greater Israel" parties of Tehiya, the National Religious Party, and the Likud captured the ministry of religious affairs, the housing ministry, the office of the Custodian of Absentee Property, and the Israel Lands Administration.

Although the Likud government actively, albeit covertly, assisted settlement in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem during the late seventies and early eighties, Kollek's position on Israeli settlement in the Muslim quarters did not change. His "one Jerusalem" manifesto includes the following:

I don't believe in the infiltration of [Jewish] individuals in the Muslim quarter, and I strongly oppose this. Each yeshiva there requires more police- men than students.... Do you know how much property is registered in the names of Arabs in the western part of the city? What will happen if they come one day and demand to restore them? [41] 

His public position has been backed by a strict application of municipal planning regulations where necessary. A measure of Kollek's success in this debate is the opprobrium heaped upon him by the settler groups mentioned.

Nevertheless, Kollek's dominating influence had two weak points. First, it spared the government the necessity of taking a clear stand on the issue of settlement in the Muslim quarters, which meant that there was no official policy. This was a crucial factor when overt government intervention became necessary. Second, the settler groups were able to exploit their status as private non-profit organizations to obtain frequent exemptions from direct municipal control; they were also able to obtain grants from government ministries for housing projects, going over the heads of municipal officials.

Thus, as Kollek's influence was increasingly circumvented and the government remained officially inactive, the settler groups steadily expanded their activities in the Muslim quarters. In an editorial on 27 January 1984, the Jerusalem Post commented:

In the past two years, [the] mosaic pattern has been disturbed at its most sensitive point-the Moslem Quarter of the Old City. Some 200 Jews, most of them yeshiva students, have settled in formerly Jewish-owned buildings in the quarter .... Their presence in the Moslem Quarter constitutes a grave danger to the peace of Jerusalem-they are, as a senior government official has put it recently, "the fuse in the powder keg.". . The situation calls for urgent preventive action by the government. [42] 

Government action was finally prompted in 1984 by the behavior of the Shuvu Banim group, residing in the Hayyai Olam courtyard, just off the Aqabat Khalidiyya. Unlike the other Gush Emunim-inspired groups, Shuvu Banim has no concrete nationalist strategy. It is the members' manner of worship, their loud anti-Arab racism, and violent behavior that constitute the disruption. On several occasions they attacked Palestinian tenants living in the Hayyai Olam courtyard and disturbed the neighborhood by shouting prayers and chants throughout the night. The municipality was able to take action against them only when they illegally built a second floor to the premises. Eventually, the floor was demolished, but the municipality was not able to persuade the police or the courts to evict them. [43] 

The violent behavior of the Shuvu Banim yeshiva and the public wrangling over the illegal second floor generated unwanted attention that alarmed the other settler groups. This was particularly the case because the yeshiva had only recently acquired the property. The affair prompted the government to set up an interministerial committee on the subject of settlement in the Muslim quarters. The committee included representatives from the ministries of housing, justice, and interior, as well as from the municipality, army, police, the district archaeologist and the various settler groups. [44] The meetings were chaired by Mr. Ephraim Shilo, coordinator of activities for Jerusalem affairs in the ministry of interior.

Four secret meetings of this committee were held and the minutes were classified as confidential. According to a report in the Israeli daily Ha Aretz, the following decisions concerning settlement in the Muslim quarters were agreed upon, with only the representative of the municipality dissenting:

a) buildings classified under municipal regulations as "dangerous" would be demolished, not renovated;

b) the settlement of Israeli families would be given priority over the establishment of institutions;

c) no settlement or renovation would take place near the Haram al-Sharif;

d) no settlement would take place in property sealed off by the army;

e) only properties close to the enlarged Jewish quarter would be occupied and renovated;

f ) no government support would be available to properties not close to the enlarged Jewish quarter,

g) a follow-up committee would be set up and coordinated by Ephraim Shilo of the ministry of the interior.

The extraordinary, overall point about these decisions is what they indicate about how much had already been conceded to the principle of Israeli settlement in the Muslim quarters, completely overriding the policy of the municipality. The decisions signified that, despite some restrictions, the broader aims of the Israeli settler groups had government backing.

More specifically, the decision to demolish rather than renovate "dangerous" buildings was designed to reduce the Palestinian population in line with the government's and the municipality's general demographic policies. But points (e) and (f) mark the beginning of a covert government policy to ac- quire properties contiguous to the enlarged Jewish quarter, the "Hebron Market" area in settler parlance, presumably eventually to absorb those areas into the Jewish quarter. Points (c) and (d) were probably included at the insistence of the army and police to avoid the possibility of religious provocation. Well aware of the Messianic vision of the settler groups, the military would wish to avoid antagonizing the religious sensibilities of the Palestinian population: It is likely that to obtain this concession from the settlers, the military and police had to support settler activities on other points.

The success of the committee in regulating the activities of the settler groups in the Old City was limited. During this period, the agreement was contravened a number of times. For example, in 1985 Ataret Cohanim occupied a former Jewish property on the Tariq Bab al-Hadid, close to the Haram al-Sharif. [45] Furthermore, the follow-up committee that had been called for was never established and Shilo, who was known for his pro-settler sympathies, resigned as chair of the original committee. These secret meetings indicated, however, both the waning of Teddy Kollek's influence and the growing support for the settler groups.

The Settler Groups

Settlement activity in the Muslim quarters continues to this day to be dominated by the settler groups. It is therefore useful to review each in some detail.

Ataret Cohanim

Ataret Cohanim was founded in 1978 following a series of seminars on Jewish temple lore. It was a period of great introspection for the settler movement as a result of the ideological confusion brought about by the Camp David agreement and the evacuation from the Sinai. The seminars, held in Jerusalem, were organized by an orthodox Jewish army veteran named Mattiyahu Ha-Cohen, a settler from the Golan Heights. He was sufficiently encouraged by the response to the seminars to initiate an independent yeshiva on the subject. The yeshiva leader is Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, former rabbi of the Golan settlement of Keshet and now rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

Drawing its members from the religious-nationalist camp, Ataret Cohanim, or "priestly crown," has been described as an elite Gush Emunim yeshiva. [46] It is dedicated to the Talmudic study of the priestly rites that took place in Solomon's temple. It follows the teaching of the rabbinical scholar Hafetz Chaim, who believed that the Cohanim, or priestly caste, of Judaism must prepare for the coming of the Messiah by being ready to carry out the rituals of animal sacrifice and conduct the services according to traditional law.

In 1983, the Jerusalem Post estimated that the yeshiva numbered  students. By 1990, there were approximately 200 students, 86 of whom lived in a hostel in Tariq Bab al-Hadid and another 30 in apartments along the Tariq al-Wad. Their main study center is on the upper floors of the former Torat Hayyim premises on the Tariq al-Wad.

Following the 1984 interministerial committee meetings described above, Ataret Cohanim began to receive considerable government support. By providing courses under the aegis of the ministry of education, it received subsidies for each student and in 1986 obtained a grant of $250,000 from the ministry of religious affairs. In the same year the ministry of housing pledged $40,000 towards the acquisition of more apartments in the Muslim quarters. According to the Jerusalem Post, these funds were not officially approved in the budget. [47] 

Despite the success during the mid-eighties of both its educational and acquisition activities, Ataret Cohanim tried to maintain a low profile. It avoided the highly publicized demonstrations against Muslim control over the Haram al-Sharif that groups such as those organized by the Faithful of the Temple Mount, and professed cordial relations with Palestinians in the Muslim quarters even while pressing for their eviction and pursuing new acquisitions. Publicly, the group took a laissez-faire policy on the issue of the Jewish temple. The director of the Ataret Cohanim courses was reported to have said, "We want to raise the public's spirituality. If the public wants the Temple to be, it will be." [48] Similarly, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner disavowed the terrorist methods espoused by other members of Gush Emunim for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement by the Temple. But he confirms that Ataret Cohanim will be ready to conduct the services when it is built. Their strategy during this period, therefore, was to develop an ideological culture through property acquisitions and an educational program that would legitimate the establishment of a Jewish temple in the Haram area.

Torat Cohanim

Sources differ on the date of the founding of Yeshivat Torat Cohanim, although it was in either 1979 or 1982. Like Ataret Cohanim, the group also evolved out of Mattiyahu Ha-Cohen's seminars, and their beliefs closely resemble each other. The two groups appear to have the same twin goals of studying temple lore as laid down by Hafetz Chaim and acquiring property in the Muslim quarters of the Old City. Torat Cohanim, too, identifies with the national-religious political right and Gush Emunim, but tends to attract hesder students, the orthodox Israelis who do not serve in the army on recognized religious grounds but enter a yeshiva instead. Their first rabbi was Rabbi Petrover, and they received the formal endorsement of Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzal, the rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem. In 1983, it was estimated that the group comprised 15 students, but by the end of the eighties this had trebled to nearly 50. With Ataret Cohanim they participate in the property consortium Atara L'yoshna (described below). They are based in the Bet Ma'aravim on Aqabat Khalidiyya, where they have established a library. Other members live in apartments nearby in the Diskin Orphanage and above the Khan Ez-Zeit in Kolel Galicia.

The Young Israel Movement

The focal point of this group is Rabbi Nachman Kahane, the brother of Rabbi Meir Kahane. He, his wife, and some students took up residence in a former Jewish property known as Kolel Georgia on the Tariq al-Wad. It contains a small synagogue, a library, and a number of small rooms for accommodation leading off a courtyard. Rabbi Nachman Kahane teaches a mixture of Greater Israel theology and temple lore. The Movement is the smallest of the settler groups, with no more than 30 to 40 students. A pro- cession organized in April 1983 by the Movement for the installation of a Torah in the Kolel Georgia synagogue provoked a violent confrontation with Palestinian neighbors. During the same week, the son of Rabbi Nachman Kahane was charged with firing an automatic rifle into a crowd of Palestini- ans in the Old City.

The Young Israel Movement has a small information center in the post office in the Jewish quarter. During the mid-eighties the group initiated tours of the "Temple Mount," the enlarged Jewish quarter, and sites of Jewish interest in the Muslim quarters. These tours have been known to be ex- tremely disruptive to the life of Palestinian residents; the Movement has been charged with fascist nationalism. The group also sells postcards of the Haram al-Sharif with an impression of the proposed Jewish Temple superim- posed on the Dome of the Rock.

Shuvu Banim

It was the activities of this group that precipitated the formation of the interministerial committee. They regard themselves as followers of the Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, a mystical offshoot of mainstream Hasidim. However, their extreme and violent behavior is regarded as aberrant by other Bratslav Hasidim. Members of the Yeshiva Shuvu Banim believe in attaining a "communion with God" by wandering about in open spaces shouting their thoughts and emotions and by praying loudly with drums in the yeshiva premises. It is unclear to what extent their beliefs are Messianic, although in the absence of a Jewish Temple they believe that a synagogue should be constructed in the Old City in such a way as to be the highest building in the surrounding area; hence their attempt to build an upper story on the premises they occupied off the Aqabat Khalidiyya.

Many of the members are reformed prisoners newly converted to orthodox Judaism. They have no living leader, although the group admits to being counseled by Rabbi Leizer Berland. The financial patron of the group is a New York entrepreneur, Abraham Dwek, a close associate of Ariel Sharon. The property they have occupied, Yeshiva Hayyai Olam, is managed by Atara L'yoshna. This was done without the agreement of the constituent groups of the consortium, but their presence has been accepted so as to avoid damaging publicity. It seems likely that, as a new and controversial group, Yeshiva Shuvu Banim was unable to find a suitable foothold in the enlarged Jewish quarter and therefore exploited the opportunities created by the activities of other settler groups to obtain premises in the Muslim quarters.

Atara L’yoshna and the Acquisition of Properties

The most important vehicle through which Israeli demographic aims in the Muslim quarters have been realized since the mid-eighties is the "Society for the Renewal of Jewish Settlement Throughout the Old City of Jerusalem," or Atara L'yoshna. Founded in 1979, the organization was established, ac- cording to its own literature, to "redeem, rebuild and restore Jewish settlement in those areas which are no less 'Jewish' than the 'Jewish' quarter itself." [49] Among the patrons and founders of the society were the Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel and the rabbi of the Old City. [50] 

The society is registered as a non-profit organization and served as a real estate arm of the three main settler groups operating in the Muslim quarters. The early days of the society were characterized by rivalries between the settler groups which led to disputes as to their respective rights and entitlement to properties. [51] By the late eighties, it was clear that Ataret Cohanim had become the dominant group within Atara L'yoshna.

Atara L'yoshna's settlement program has five distinct stages:

a) location of former Jewish properties;

b) purchase or lease of the properties;

c) removal of protected and unprotected Palestinian tenants;

d) renovation and reconstruction of the properties;

e) allocation of selected families into the renovated residential units.

Much research goes into the location of former Jewish sites. The lawyer and amateur historian Shabia Zacharia coordinated for Atara L'yoshna the tracing of documents and matching deeds and leases with specific locations in the Muslim quarter. His research was published in 1985 in a booklet entitled "Jewish Houses and Institutions in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem." He subsequently researched locations in the Christian quarters. Once the properties are located, Atara L'yoshna goes about acquiring the properties in some form.

As noted, following the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem in 1967, the government transferred the jurisdiction of former Jewish properties from the Jordanian Guardian of Enemy Property to the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property. [52] Despite the fact that the Custodian passed responsibility for many of these properties to the Israel Lands Administration, which has the right to sell or lease the properties to Jews only, there was no immediate retrieval by the former Jewish owners or tenants. There were a number of reasons for this. Prior to the Camp David agreement, settlement was concentrated elsewhere in the occupied territories, and the influence of Mayor Kollek dissuaded many would-be settlers from approaching the Muslim quarters. Not all the former owners or tenants were easily traceable. The main reason, however, was that because Israel recognized the rights of protected tenants and many of the Palestinians living in those former Jewish properties had that status, the Israeli Custodian was obliged to recognize it. [53] Former Jewish owners or tenants could not, therefore, immediately move into properties after the 1967 war.

Nevertheless, cooperation between Atara L'yoshna on the one hand and the Custodian's office and the Israel Lands Administration on the other developed in the mid-eighties to such an extent that Atara L'yoshna was officially recognized by the Israel Lands Administration for its work. An official letter sent by Yehuda Zeev, the director of the Israel Lands Administration of the Jerusalem district, authorized Atara L'yoshna to conduct negotiations both with Palestinian tenants and the Awqaf Administration in the name of the State of Israel. In addition, it was authorized to take over the management of properties hitherto managed by the Israel Lands Administration, thus acting in effect as an official arm of this state institution. [54] Meanwhile, the Israel Lands Administration was able to act through Atara L'yoshna with- out the political repercussions direct intervention would have excited. The municipality was effectively deprived of any role in the planning of Israeli settlement in the Muslim quarters. It is important to note that the goals of Atara L'yoshna go beyond settlement in specifically former Jewish-occupied properties.

The process of evicting Palestinian tenants from buildings acquired by Atara L'yoshna was expensive and slow. In the main, Palestinian tenants were legitimate and thus theoretically protected. However, those whose tenancy could be disputed, in that they had not identified to whom they were to pay rent or that they were children of protected tenants rather than protected tenants themselves, were summarily evicted. Others were offered generous inducements. Sums amounting to $50,000 for one- or two-room apartments were not unusual. [55] 

When tenants refused compensation, their lives were made extremely unpleasant and at times dangerous. Apartments were not properly maintained and unhygienic conditions were allowed to develop. Settlers also took it upon themselves to harass and intimidate tenants. For example, many apartments in the Old City lead off from central inner courtyards. Settlers occupying part of a courtyard would replace the main door and locks to the courtyard, thereby shutting out the Palestinians still living there.

An example of the lengths to which Atara L'yoshna was prepared to go is illustrated by the Rsass waqf case.

The Rsass family waqf managed a small property on the Aqabat Khalidiyya. The adjacent property also on the Aqabat Khalidiyya was the Bet Maghrebim, a Jewish hostel established in the late 1890s and abandoned in the 1920s. [56] After the Israeli occupation in 1967, the Bet Maghrebim was placed under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property. In 1981, Atara L'yoshna negotiated a lease with its former owners, the Maghrebi community of Jerusalem, which allowed them to restore and use the buildings for twelve years.

On the western side of the Bet Maghrebim lay the narrow strip of property belonging to the Rsass waqf, whose waqfilya dates from 1715 A.D. (1127 A.H.). From 1932 to his death in 1983, Mr. Amin Jabber leased this property. Immediately following his death, Atara L'yoshna occupied the building and began to make alterations. The mutawalli of the waqf, Mr. Fakhri Rsass, was not informed of Jabber's death and only learned of it after the building had been occupied by Atara L'yoshna. He notified the police but they would not act without a court order. In the meantime, Atara L'yoshna proceeded to build two additional floors to the Rsass property, without a municipal permit. [57] 

In February 1984, Rsass engaged Advocate Mazen Qupti, who secured a municipal injunction prohibiting construction in the building and up to three meters from the Rsass property in compliance with municipal regulations. Atara L'yoshna agreed to evacuate the property if the waqf could prove ownership. Qupti was able to do this, but Atara L'yoshna did not respond. He then sought an eviction order, which he was obliged to do twice because Atara L'yoshna, which had been operating under the name of one of its constituent groups, Torat Cohanim, at that point changed its name to Atara L'yoshna so all legal documents had to be changed. During the period 1984-86, there were eight sessions regarding the eviction proceedings, to no avail. Atara L'yoshna recommenced construction on the Rsass property in January 1987, and Qupti tried unsuccessfully to secure another municipal order and was forced to obtain a court injunction. Atara L'yoshna contested this injunction, claiming that work was now so advanced that cessation would be a danger to human life and that, in any event, the whole case against them was based on political grounds. The next month, construction work recommenced despite the fact that the injunction was still valid pending a hearing on the case.

In March 1987, Qupti secured the official "opinion" of the Custodian of Absentee Property that the Bet Maghrebim hostel did not extend into the Rsass property, undercutting the claims made by Atara L'yoshna, which was thus forced to drop that part of its case against the court's injunction. Nevertheless, in May 1987 it submitted a new plea to prevent the injunction being upheld: it argued that the Rsass waqf had to prove that it held the property as mulk (privately owned land) before the endowment was made. Qupti believed that this new argument was concocted for two reasons: Atara L'yoshna was trying to buy time so that it could finish its construction work, and it wanted to transfer the case from the magistrates' court to the district court, where it hoped to receive a more sympathetic hearing.

From this case, one can see how little the municipality actually helps Palestinians in conflict with the settler groups despite the protestations of senior officials against settler activities. The settlers are also able to flout municipality building codes with impunity. Furthermore, the settler groups are able to exploit the lack of clarity over ownership documentation, and through a series of arguments can keep cases pending indefinitely. Finally, to respond to these constantly changing approaches, lawyers defending Palestinian cases are forced to carry out considerable historical and archival research for which they have neither time nor training and which their clients cannot afford.

During this period, and despite its low profile, Atara L'yoshna embarked upon an ambitious renovation program. Its renovation budget exceeded $1.5 million, and applications of up to $1.8 million were made to different government departments. Work began on the Bet Warsawa in the Harat Bab al- Hutta, the Diskin Orphanage, the Yeshiva Hayyai Olam, the Bet Maghrebim in the Aqabat Khalidiyya area, the Kolel Georgia on the Tariq al-Wad, and in Kolel Galicia on the roof of the central market area. Some of these projects were extensive. The Kolel Galicia, for example, was designed to include a small synagogue, shops, and sixteen apartments.

In order to facilitate this renovation program, Atara L'yoshna established a subsidiary construction and management company called Binyan Yerushalaim. The company supervises the day-to-day renovation work and is able to dispense with contractors, cutting costs considerably. [58] Only Jewish workers could be employed "unless there is no alternative." Atara L'yoshna also embarked upon a fund-raising program in the United States. In 1986, its director, Israel Feuchtwanger, launched the "Bricks for Jerusalem" drive in which donations could be earmarked for specific projects in the Muslim quarters. Contributions were tax-deductible.

The last stage of Atara L'yoshna's settlement program involves selecting and placing suitable people in the renovated properties. Priority is given to families, but, for security reasons, single young men are settled in the sites farthest from the enlarged Jewish quarter. Promotional material of the group indicated that those with an ideological commitment to "redeem" the Muslim quarters are in particular demand. It is interesting to note that, despite their close cooperation, Atara L'yoshna refused a request by Yehuda Zeev, director of the Jerusalem District of the Israel Lands Administration, that he have a representative on the selection panel. [59]


The third, covert, phase of settler activity in the Old City was symbolically brought to an end by Ariel Sharon's much-publicized occupation of the former house of Moshe Wittenberg on the Tariq al-Wad on 15 December 1987. [60] The occupation of the Hospice of St. John in the Christian quarter with government financial support was yet another signal of the integration of the settler activities into formal government policy. [61] 

The achievements of the settler groups during the third phase were significant and strategic. They had acquired more than thirty properties, some containing many apartments, and began renovation or occupancy. More sites had been located throughout the Old City and approximately thirty other acquisitions were in the offing at the time the phase ended. Thus, by the time Ariel Sharon moved onto the Tariq al-Wad, the primary purpose of the groups-to create a Jewish presence in the Muslim quarters-had been achieved. Their continuing, and intensive, activities are merely a consolidation.

As important as the actual foothold established was the support the groups received from government officials and senior politicians, ranging from official endorsements from leading figures in the religious establishment to active collaboration of state bureaucrats and to direct financial assistance in the acquisition and renovation of property. The foundations laid by the settlers during this period made the reduction of Israeli settlement in the Muslim quarters in subsequent years unthinkable. In many ways, the growing acceptance of the settlers' aims, as opposed to Kollek's "mosaic" principle, mirrored the drift to the right in the Israeli polity and entrenched the settler gains even more.

In addition, the strategic nature of settlement in the Muslim quarters is significant. As we have seen, properties near or adjacent to the enlarged Jewish quarter have been targeted as priority areas. From the Kolel Galicia down the Aqabat Khalidiyya on to the Tariq al-Wad, a whole string of former Jewish properties and their neighboring buildings have been partially or fully acquired. From this position, "in-filling" has been easier, and the possibility of absorbing this area into the enlarged Jewish quarter has become more real. Professor Ne'eman of the Tehiya Party has called already for the renewal of the charter of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter and for its work to be extended to the whole of the Old City. [62] The pattern of establishing such chains of properties in the Muslim quarters can also be seen along the Tariq al-Wad. From the house of Moshe Wittenberg to the Ben Arza bookshop, properties have been acquired and occupied. From this stage the process of taking over adjacent properties can be expected. This, indeed, has been taking place during the present phase.

What these "successes" have done is place within reach the long-term plans of the government to reduce the Palestinian population in the Old City and therefore help achieve the demographic balance sought for the whole of Jerusalem. Discussion of the need for "slum clearance" and "open spaces" has been extensive, but stymied due to the political sensitivity of the issue. With the activities of the settlers producing a momentum that the intifada has managed to brake but not to stop, other factors emerge as significant. The gradual encirclement of the Old City by Israeli housing estates will gradually separate it from its West Bank hinterland. Curfews and restrictions on travel have exacerbated this development so that, in the long run, its role as a Palestinian commercial center will be undermined. Confrontations with the settlers are likely to be met by further security measures including the sealing of houses and the eviction of families. The recent large-scale settlement of Soviet immigrants in East Jerusalem has accentuated both these trends.

One can conclude, therefore, that the future of the Old City of Jerusalem lies in the precedents set by the Israeli government in the Old Cities of Jaffa and Acre. There, Palestinians were either removed or restricted in order to develop Israeli "artist colonies" or "museum cities." The third phase of settlement in the Old City of Jerusalem has heralded its transformation from a vibrant Arab and Islamic political and cultural center into a small Palestinian enclave inside an Israeli city, serving as a picturesque backdrop for Western tourists.


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Michael Dumper, Ph.D., is an honorary research fellow in politics at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. He is currently conducting research on present-day Jerusalem. 

1. Although the Jerusalem Basic Law was passed in 1980, this merely confirmed what already had been established by the Law and Administrative Ordinance (Amendment) Law and the Law and Municipal Corporations Ordinance (Amendment) Law passed in 1967.

2. Dib, G., and Jabber, F., Israel's Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: A Documented Report (Beirut: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1970); Khatib, R., "The Judaization of Jerusalem and its Demographic Transformation," in Jerusalem. The Key to World Peace (London: Council of Europe, 1980).

3. See, for example, two articles by S. Graham-Brown, "Jerusalem," Middle East, no. 134 (December 1985), and no. 136 (February 1986); R. Thomas, "Demography and Settler Politics in the Old City of Jerusalem," Khamsin 1(1989), pp. 82-89; A. Vitullo, "The Resistance Mounts," Inquiry (January 1987), pp. 18-19; A. Nadeem, "Watch over Aqabat," Inquiry (February 1987), p. 18.

4. Asali, K.J., ed.Jerusalem in History (New York: Olive Branch Press, 1990), pp. 231-32; Schmelz, Modem Jerusalem's Demographic Evolution (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1987), p. 120.

5. See, for example, T. Tobler, Denkblatter Aus Jerusalem (Constance, 1853), pp. 125-26; J.T. Barclay, The City of the Great King. or Jerusalem as it was, as it is, as it is to be, (Philadelphia, 1858), pp. 432-44, cited in Y. Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem in the 19th Century. the Old City (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984), pp. 317-18.

6. See Map 1 from Tibawi, The Islamic Pious Foundation in Jerusalem: Origin, History and Usurpation by Israel (London: Iraqi Cultural Centre, 1985).

7. See 'Arif al-Arif, Mufassal tarikh al-Quds (Jerusalem: Ma'ari Printers, 1986), pp. 431-32. See also C. Ritter, The Comparative Geography of Palestine and the Sinaitic Peninsula (Edinburgh, 1866), p. 191, cited in Tibawi, op. cit., p. 44.

8. Ben-Arieh, op. cit., pp. 327-28.

9. Benvenisti, M.,Jerusalem: The Tom City (Minneapolis: Israelitypset Ltd. and University of Minneapolis, 1976), p. 239.

10. Ben-Arieh, op. cit., p. 377; S. Zachariah, Jewish Houses and Institutions in the Muslim Quarter, the Old City, Jerusalem [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem, 1985), pp. 7-9; see also Y. Goldman, "Jerusalem Quartered," Shma Yisrael 1, no. 2 (Winter 1975).

11. Ben-Arieh, op. cit., pp. 377-79.

12. Ibid., pp. 378-79; Zachariah, op. cit., pp. 90-95.

13. Zachariah, op. cit., pp. 8-9.

14. Ben-Arieh, op. cit., pp. 382-83.

15. Interview with Anthony Bakrijian, historian, former UNRWA official and resident of the Old City, 10 March, 1989. See also Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 44; Tibawi, op. cit., p. 38.

16. Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 18; Hirst, D., "Rush to Annexation: Israel in Jerusalem,"Journal of Palestine Studies, no. 3/4 (1974), p. 4.

17. Tibawi, op. cit., p. 35, says two hours, Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 306, says three hours and the Jerusalem Post, 19 June 1967, says two days.

18. Tibawi, op. cit., p. 35; Khatib, op. cit., p. 114. Dib and Jabber calculated that 290 rooms were demolished, op. cit., pp. 217-27. 

19. Tibawi, op. cit., p. 35; Khatib, op. cit., p. 114; Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 306, gives a figure of 119 evicted and Hirst, op. cit., p. 10, mentions 1,000 people or 129 families being evicted. Dib and Jabber, op. cit., p. 227, and the Jerusalem Post, 19 June 1967, estimate the number at 220 and 200 families respectively.

20. Burgoyne, M., Mamluk Jerusalem: An Architectural Study (London: World of Islam Festival Trust, 1987), p. 263. See also al-'Asali, K., Muahida al-'ilmfi bayt almaqdis (Amman, 1981), pp. 113, 339.

21. Tibawi, op. cit., p. 38. Although in Muslim shari'ah law an exchange of waqf property for one of equal or more value, known as istibdal, is permitted, this was not offered by the Israeli government.

22. Official Gazette, No. 1443, 4 April 1968, cited in Tibawi, ibid., p. 37.

23. See Dib and Jabber, op. cit. Document No. 67, p. 176.

24. Ibid., p. 176.

25. See, for example, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 March 1975, "A bulldozer battle for Jerusalem"; International Herald Tribune, 21 April 1975, "Arabs fighting ouster in Jerusalem Old City"; Tages-Anzeiger, 2 June 1975, "Planners drive Arabs out of Jerusalem";Jerusalem Post, 1 January 1977, "The case of the hole in the wall" and the letter by Anglican clergy in Jerusalem that this article prompted in Jerusalem Post, 31 January 1977.

26. Absentee Property (Compensation) Law, Laws of the State of Israel 27 (1972/73).

27. Ibid., Article 14.

28. Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 250.

29. See Thomas, op. cit. p.83; 1. Mattar, "Israeli Settlements and Palestinian Rights," in N. Aruri, Occupation: Israel over Palestine (London: Zed Books, 1984), p. 138.

30. Statistical Yearbook, op. cit., p. 107.

31. Hyman, B., 1. Kimhi and J. Savitzky, Jerusalem in Transition: Urban Growth and Change, 1970s-1980s (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1985), p. 37.

32. Thomas, op. cit., p. 85.

33. Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, no. 3 (1984), (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1985), p. 107.

34. Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, no. 8 (1989), (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1991), pp. 34-39.

35. Sharon, A., Planning Jerusalem: The Old City and its Environs (Jerusalem: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1973), p. 82.

36. Thomas, op. cit., p. 86.

37. This and following paragraphs are based on field work between 1985 and 1988.

38. Jerusalem Post, 18 February 1974.

39. See descriptions in G. Halsell, Prophecy and Politics. Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Co., 1986), p. 90ff.

40. Kollek's position in the mid-seventies is clearly stated in "Jerusalem," Foreign Affairs (July 1977), pp. 701-16.

41. Cited in Ha'Aretz, 23 April 1986, article by N. Shragai, "Who will buy, who will buy me a house" (Hebrew).

42. Jerusalem Post, 27 January 1984.

43. Articles in Jerusalem Post, 13 December 1983, 14 December 1983, and 24 January 1984.

44. Ha'Aretz, 25 April 1986, article by N. Shragai, "One House after the Other" (Hebrew).

45. Graham-Brown, op. cit.

46. See articles in Jerusalem Post, 9 December 1983 and 30 December 1983.

47. Jerusalem Post, 27 March 1986, report by Avi Temkin, "Yeshiva gets $40,000 to buy Moslem flats."

48. Jerusalem Post, 12 December 1983.

49. Leaflet issued by Atara L'yoshna Organization, no date.

50. Brochure issued by Atara L'yoshna Organization in 1986.

51. Letter sent to Mr. Ehud Shilat, the registrar of nonprofit organizations, Ministry of Interior, Jerusalem (updated, but probably 1979), disputing the right of a rival group to call themselves Torat Cohanim; "their aim is to jeopardize the existence of our association and then take hold of the properties listed above as well as the yeshiva."

52. Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulation) Law (Consolidated Version), 1970, clause 5.

53. There is evidence, however, to suggest that the Israeli Custodian and Israel Lands Administration were preparing the ground for the eviction of Palestinian tenants. In many cases property was poorly maintained and tenants were prevented from improving the safety and sanitation of their apartments. There was also considerable confusion to whom rent should be paid; failure to pay rent could be cited as a reason for eviction.

54. Ha'Aretz, 23 April 1986, op. cit.

55. Copy of letter in brochure issued by Atara L'yoshna Organization in 1986.

56. Zachariah, op. cit., p. 51.

57. Interview with Mazen Qupti, lawyer to Rsass family waqf, 12 June 1986, and subsequent interviews.

58. Leaflet entitled "Binyan Yerushalaim: Group for Building Projects founded by Atara L'yoshna Organization." No date, but obtained in 1986.

59. Ha'Aretz, 23 April 1986, op. cit.

60. Los Angeles Times, 16 December 1987.

61. Jerusalem Post, 12 April 1990.

62. Thomas, op. cit., p. 89.