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Wadi al-Joz and Her Sisters: Jerusalem Communities
April 04 2022


"This is Jewish land, Jewish area," Yonatan Yosef yelled at the Palestinian residents of the Shaykh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem one winter evening in 2021. 


"You are against the bible…God says this area belongs to the Jewish people," he shouted outside the home of the El-Kurd family, one of several Palestinian families in the neighborhood at risk of losing their homes to make way for Israeli settlers. 

The man who was shouting is Yonatan Yosef, a Jerusalem Councilman, member of the local Planning and Building Committee, and a man who has been responsible for blocking dozens of Palestinian requests for building permits in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian residents Yosef was berating captured the world's attention last year through their resistance against the planned expulsion from their homes.

Consisting of twenty-eight houses, this section of Shaykh Jarrah is one of several neighborhoods featured in this collection of essays, drawing attention to the social, political, and historical factors that have shaped Jerusalem's communities.

In 'Shaykh Jarrah: A Struggle for Survival,'  Nazmi Jubeh argues that the recent struggles waged by the residents of Shaykh Jarrah ushered in a new era in the Jerusalem front line of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. In his article, Jubeh examines the history of the neighborhood and the continuous displacement of its Palestinian residents who are at the mercy of policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, under the guise of Israeli legal proceedings.

A few kilometers from Shaykh Jarrah, throughout the neighborhood of Silwan, murals up to four meters tall depicting the eyes of local Palestinian heroes, international leaders, philosophers, activists, revolutionaries, writers, and artists are visible from miles away. The eyes 'dare to look back at the occupying forces and bear witness to the colonial violence that is wielded against the Palestinian people,' according to Susan Greene in her Letter from Jerusalem. In 'I Witness Silwan: Who is Watching Whom?', Greene examines the art installation throughout the East Jerusalem neighborhood. She also discusses the social and political context of Silwan, which is slated for the construction of an Israeli national park. 

In a piece from a 1998 issue of the Jerusalem Quarterly Martina Rieker and Dalia Habash focus on Wadi al-Joz, examining the history and development of the area. They argue that Wadi al-Joz was particularly impacted and shaped by the 1948 and 1967 wars, discussing how the past shaped the present character of the neighborhood.

Arab-Jewish relations prior to World War I are the subject of Abigail Jacobson's article, 'The Sephardi Jewish Community in Pre-World War I Jerusalem: Debates in the Hebrew Press,' which provides insight into the Zionist approach towards the Arab population in pre-World War I Palestine and towards the future of Jews and Arabs in the country expressed in the Sephardi newspaper ha-Herut between 1912-1914.

These articles, published between 1998 and 2021, make up the third of a series of files or Dafater from the Jerusalem Quarterly. Find below the entire collection, dedicated to Jerusalem's communities.

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