· Jerusalem is a pivotal city to all three monotheistic faiths. Shared worship in the city has been an essential part of its history and this plurality is facing increasing threats as Israeli policies on the ground continue to undermine all non-Jewish claims to the city.
· · Archeological digs have shown complete disregard for any Muslim or Christian legacies in the city. For the past three years, Israel has been digging in the Arab Silwan area of Jerusalem attempting to prove historic rights to this area (‘The city of David), however any evidence of Palestinian claims found in the digs are believed to have been covered up or disregarded.
· · The sacred Masjid al-Aqsa has faced numerous threats from extreme right wing Israelis who have attempted to storm the compound. These extremists have been escorted onto the sacred area by Israeli police and the result has seen clashes which have left many Palestinians wounded. Israel continues to impose restrictions on Palestinians wishing to pray within the holy sites.
· · Palestinian residents of Jerusalem continue to face the constant threat of having their homes demolished, and some have faced the nightmare of illegal Israeli settlers moving in to their homes. The result is abject misery for all the adults and children of the household.
· “Under Israeli occupation in the last few decades, the Muslim and Christian Palestinian heritage in the Holy City of Jerusalem has been undermined and threatened. Israel has deliberately orchestrated changes to the facts on the ground to ensure that there is Jewish majority in the city at the expense of Muslim and Christian citizens. Ancient heritage sites are being wiped out and Palestinians are helpless against the assaults of local police and army personnel. They can no longer protect or guard historic sites and documents, and it is up to us to ensure that their plight is brought to the world’s attention,”stated Ismail Patel, Chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa.
· The situation in Jerusalem cannot be ignored. Israel is physically changing the city beyond recognition leading to social and economical isolation from the rest of the West Bank. Palestinians who live outside of Jerusalem have almost no access to their city.