This film demonstrates the transfer policies that the Israeli occupying authorities and entities have practiced against the Palestinians in Jerusalem since the 1967 occupation, through the occupation of the whole city and displacement of Mughrabi Quarters
Jerusalem, The city of god. The holy city of the major three religions. Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Without anyone's denial it remains the land of power conflict. In 1948 Israel occupied approximately 78% from the Palestinian land including the west side of Jerusalem city.
In 1967, Israel finished occupying the rest of the Palestinian land, including eastern Jerusalem, to announce Jerusalem the eternal capital of the Jewish state. Therefore, Israel started demolishing the Arab identity of the city.
Immediately after the occupation, Israel worked in destroying the Moroccan Quarter. Or as it called ( hay al- maghareba) and displacing its residence .
Until this day, Israel practices the methods of transferring against Arabs, the original citizens in many different ways.
Naief kastero:I have always lived in Jerusalem ( Al- Quds),not from yesterday and for sure not from today. I have been her for the past 37 years. I went to school in Jerusalem ( Al- Quds) . And now I work here as well, I have never left Jerusalem( Al- Quds). Jerusalem ( Al- Quds) is my life. I cannot describe better than this. It's my life!
The life of Naief kastero and his Arab people who live in Jerusalem ( Al- Quds) which are approximately 275,000 are also 35%of the overall population of the city . it would have been a normal life for them if it wasn't for the occupation , which narrows al the ways of living even in there own homes .
Naief kastero:This area, where I walked out of is called Hosh El- Helow. Hosh El- Helow is one of the most ancient neighborhoods in Jerusalem( al- Quds).
There are some Jewish settlers' houses. The house they took is the highest house. They took it in order to control the entire neighborhood.
Look my dearest, her is another house which the Jewish settlers took in the mid 80's, which means during the first Intifada. This was one of the most targeted houses which they took. This is Hayy Essaraya, Assaraya neighborhood. In the Israeli's point of view Hayy Essaraya street goes back to the early days of Solomon's Temple. They claim that they lived in Jerusalem( al- Quds) 5000-6000 years ago . I just do not understand how. Come on. For God's sake!
This is also one of the most targeted streets in the old city of Jerusalem ( al- Quds) . Here there is another part of the house . And another one here. And another one here. Lets walk a bit forward . And this house is theirs as well. Look how big this house is .
Naief kastero:I built this house in 2001. I didn't really built it , it was already built . What I did is adding the part we are sitting in , because the house is an old building. I finished building in 2002. After 2002 I got married in it and lived in it since then. In 2003 I received the first court warning. And in 2004 I went to the court for judgment . Of course the court system was long . They said to me that I didn't earn the permission to build on the top of what I already owned.
It is not easy for Arabs to expand their won houses , even if thy inherited it from their parents or ancestors. To the occupied state of Israel these Arabs which are the original citizens of the city are only residences who resins in Jerusalem.
Dawood al- Alamy:I got married in Jerusalem and all of my children were born her too in … and they got married as well and still live in Jerusalem( al- Quds) and I live in Jerusalem( al- Quds) from the day I was born till today.
I never think in my life to leave the sity of Jerusalem( al- Quds) .
So I brought one of my children and give him the room to live in it
Amjad al- Alamy.So, after I got married my father thought of giving the room to me to live in it with my family
Now, above this room there was another wooden room built on top of it . so my father tore the wooden room down and replace it with a cement room
Dawood al- Alamy:When my sons family got bigger with children I decided to tear down the wooden room and build a cement room for him . I did not apply for a permission to build on my building because such a permission costs about 100,000 USD. Firstly I do not have such amount and what is more important is that Israel dose not give permission in our neighborhoods.
In 2006 a group of the city's employees come to me and asked me " where is your permission to build ?"
I answered that I do not have one . they said: " don’t you know that this is illegal?"
I answered there was a wooden room already here, and all I did was replacing the wood with cement .
They said:" even if you replaced it, you should have gotten a permission to build" . so they give me a ticket and gave me a court date and made me pay a fine with an order to demolish my room. I petitioned the order to destroy the room first and second time , sadly I couldn’t proceed more than this. At the end they gave me the choice of either bring the room down or I will be jailed with a fine
.When I received the order to destroy my room I did not receive it by hand , instead it was posted on my front door . I was shocked to the point I was talking to myself. I called the city of Jerusalem( al- Quds), the inspector , the engineer of the city . when I went to see them I found that the notice was really for me ,
So, I asked why should I destroy room? Whwt happened? They said:" you are building without permission" .
I said:" what do you mean without permission"
The city said that they do not inspect houses unless a complaint has been filed .
They said:" you have about 130 to 140 complaints against you ".
I got surprised .. who are these people who filed these many complaints against me ?
They said that there is an organization called Ateret Kaohanim , this organization has filed all the complaints in court against you.
What is this organization, I asked, who they represent ? what political party they belong to ?
They are not in my neighborhood, not even close to my area.
They asked :" are you sure you don’t have any Jews living around you?" . I said : yes, there is one Jewish neighbor .
They said :" yes, this neighbor is a member of this organization, his organization brings these Jews to the city and they stay for 6-7 years as a national duty or a religious responsibility .
This organization is in charge of the houses they take from the Palestinians by force
Naief kastero:The city gave me a hearing court date for pre court hearing , this was in April 2004.
In the end, they fined me and postponed demolishing my room for 2 years under the condition of getting permission and getting a permission to build my room is impossible
Dawood al- Alamy:So, when I went to the court, I asked the judge to give me a chance because I don’t have any other place to live with my son. The judge replied:" I do not care who lives in your house, what is important to me is that you did not get permission to add to this house".
I tried through my nephew who is an engineer to help me get the permission but the city requested impossible things.
I found myself at the end without a choice but to destroy my own house.
In order to keep the original house below I told them I will destroy it my self.
Honestly, as result of fighting court dates and paying fees and demolishing my house with my own hands I had a stroke, I could not believe the fact that I destroyed what I had built with my own hands.
I was forced with my dad and brothers to go up to the room and demolish it, which was my bed room. You probably know that the Israeli government will charge me more if they destroy it, we decided to destroy it .
Amjad al- Alamy:Truly, the process of destroying my house took me about 2 weeks. and I destroyed it.
Naief kastero:Honestly, one of the most difficult decisions you could ever make is destroying your own house with your own hands . the reason was because I built every block in it, and I want to take it down.
The decision of destroying my house was as follows: in 2008 I received the last warning from the court it stated that I did not appear in the court and that I am disobeying the rules and laws of the city .
So , based on this they made this decision, among the decision there was a condition which affirmed a deadline to destroy my house.
If I don’t destroy it, they will destroy it for me in addition of fine of 80,000 shekels and the cost of destructions of another 80,000 shekels with an order to jail me for 3 months, and additional 6 or 7 other months.
Naief kastero:If I leave this area tomorrow, Jews will come and take my place, what dose the Palestinian authority waits for? .
Do they want us to leave Jerusalem so they can take it?
I don’t understand!
We hear that there are a financial support for Jerusalem residents.
You hear in the news that they pay for our water and electricity.
How do they come up with these lies?
I ruined 5 pairs of shoes going back and forth from and to the city to collect some money to help recover what I lost. I don’t understand where they go with the money they get, you hear there are financial support for Jerusalem . for Gods sake, where is it? This makes me sick
Naief kastero:All this was my place , it was brought down.
This is the room
My bedroom , or what is remind from it,
Here was my bedroom , there was a closet here . I split it to make a space for a living room
We don’t have any bedrooms furniture anymore , we have a mattress as you see.
Imagine how big my house was, now look; this is it.
Count with me: one ,tow, three and a half steps by one ,tow, three and a half , 3.5 by 3.5. happy holiday.
My kids sleep here, my wife and I sleep here
When we eat we bring a small table and put here
During winter, we bring a small stove and we place it either in this corner or this corner
This room becomes a kitchen, a bedroom and living room.
This is what remained from my house. This is the old part , this is it as you see it is not big, but for me it was a castle.
Over there by the two windows this was a roof. These Jewish built on it another apartment and they added to this side.
And the back side in order to over look the neighborhood.
Now anyone who builds in the neighborhood higher than them will be forced to bring down what he built .
Even if I put a plastic cover, they will bring me the cops the next day , they even bring them the same day, they will not wait.
Osama al saadi .From 1967 until this day, Israeli government destroyed thousand of houses claiming that the owners did not have permission
I say, every responsible government should provide housing for it is residents and citizens
This is a basic need in any society, but here in Jerusalem, permissions are not given to Palestinians
Therefore, we see life here stronger than anything and we see people building houses in their own lands not government lands
What is strange lately is that the Israeli government places fines on Palestinians who lives in Jerusalem who built without permission and force them to demolish the building and pay for the cost of demolishing the house .
Imagine, the Palestinians choose to destroy their houses with their hands to avoid demolishing by Israeli government and paying tens of thousands of shekels
Prof.Efraim Inbar:I think that is of course preferably, decision is reached not to demolish the house. And not to bring police . And not to bring government bulldozers and let the inhabitant let's say built it illegally to destroy it . I think it’s much better generally for jaws and Arabs.
Dawood al- Alamy:The Israeli government applies the law on the Arab cities more than the cities of Israeli residents some Jews steal lands and built houses on them and brings foreigners from Europe and Ethiopia who can not ever speak the language, let they claim Palestine their homeland. The house ,lands, trees, are all mine ,not theirs what we inherited from our ancestors are not ours anymore .
Prof.Efraim Inbar:It is … you know, after all Jerusalem was built by jaws. We built here two temples . We have a long history in this city. And Palestinian or Arabs are new comers to the region. After all it's only since the seventh centaury when Arabs invaded the middle east and came from Saudi Arabia . Palestinians are here ,but the have been a minority for 150 years.
Naief kastero: Now, we are the new comers, we are the foreigners after 5000 years we are now the new settlers come on people, this is unbelievable I have come to believe that if the Israelis take out all these walls and leave me with tiles on the floor , I will sit under an umbrella and refuse to leave .
Narrator :Israel is tries to erase the Arabic identity and prevent Arab residents from the west bank their right for visiting Jerusalem or resin in it , because they are afraid from increasing the number of Arab Muslims and Christians in the city. Israel refuses to renew the residency for (suhail dawany) who was officially the bishop for the Anglican church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Bishop suhail dawany:I was elected as a bishop in 2005 , and in 2007 I was installed as the fourteenth Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, since that time I am here living in Jerusalem with my family. And Jerusalem is a very important city because the cathedral, saint Jones cathedral, we call it the mother church for the Anglican communion. and the Anglican communion in the world are about 90 million believers . And the Anglican bishopric in Jerusalem as I said that it's very important, spiritual center for all the Anglican Episcopalian all over the world. In 2007 when I was insulted as the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, of course the Israeli authorities recognized me as the fourteenth bishop of the Anglican church in Jerusalem and they granted me the residency permit for me , my wife and my daughter . and this residency has to be renewed every year. So it has been renewed in 2008 and 2009. when I went to the office of the ministry of the interior in august 2010 I was very much chocked when the director , the manager of that office said " your residency permit is being revoked" I said " what are the reasons?" so ha gave me a letter from the ministry of interior In Hebrew of course . The he explained to me what's in that letter because I don't read Hebrew . it's mention in that letter that the Israeli government accusing me of transferring Jewish lands to the Palestinians and to the church and at the same time ….. some documents. I told the director that I was choked and I laughed and said " isn't there anything more than this to accuse me ?! I told him this is baseless . So we tried our best since august 2010. we tried in low profile very quietly to resolve this issue with the ministry of interior and then our churches outside ,they started putting some presser on the Israelis ,on the prim minister. The archbishop of Canterbury said a very strong letter for the prim minister her. Mr Netanyahu and to the ministry of interior and to the embassies telling them that it is not acceptable. Now all the churches started really writing letters of condemnation for the government here to the ministry of interior. Even the counsel of the head of churches in Jerusalem they send two letter to the prim minister asking them to resolve the matter . with all our efforts internationally and locally we were unable to resolve this issue . after six months or even more than six months the only way I found that ,I have to go to the Israeli court , because that is a court that exists here and have to …. And through an Israeli lawyer in (Tel Aviv) I submitted my petition in twenty pages to the ministry of the interior telling them that this is injustice for something I didn't do. And they have to give me back my ( ID) and my family. And I've written in this statement about the whole issue since it started in august till now . And I'm trying to show that this is our case that I'm still strongly defending myself that I committed nothing wrong against anybody. That's why I told the Israelis: if you have any evidence to show it to me .
Osama al saadi :The law in Jerusalem is very complicated ,the international law does not recognize adding Jerusalem to Israel, nor does it recognize the implementation of the of the Israeli's law in the Palestinian land in Jerusalem because these lands according to international law are part of the land which was reoccupied in 1967 the Israeli law combined Jerusalem under the authority of Israel in 1967 and stated Jerusalem its eternal capital according to Israel the Israeli constitution is the reference to any decisions the Israeli's constitutions dose not recognize international laws
Israel has a good case in claiming that all the territories are disputed lands rather than occupied land. Second I will definitely reject any international low ruling that it will make me an occupier in the western wall or in the temple mount which is the holiest place to Judaism. So I think we should be pragmatic. and we should understand what is the weight of history for we bayed by international ruling , and our lawyers don't know always what's happening on the ground.
Bishop suhail dawany:The letter which I was given to me by the ministry of interior m, it was in august 24th . It is mentioned in that letter that I have to leave Jerusalem within one month. They gave me one month to leave Jerusalem. Then I went back to my office , the third day I received some people , three people from the ministry of interior . They came to my office and I told them that this is unacceptable. It is unacceptable what are you are doing to me. This is a fouls accusation. I do not accept this and it's very insulting to me as the head of the church, as a bishop, as an Arab Christian Palestinian living in Jerusalem here. Well I said you gave me one month to leave Jerusalem and I 'm not going to leave Jerusalem . Come and take me from here. They said : bishop we will not do this. You can go and come and we will not do anything. So the decision to leave Jerusalem was – in a way- frozen because it's very clear that there is nothing in their hands to accuse me.
Well, I believe that there isn't any thing against me personally. i think that the Christian presence in Jerusalem is not welcomed , that the Christian presence is very much dwindling or as to say shrinking. In 1948 we used to have.. The Christian population were about 27% of the total population. We were about 165 ,000 Christians . if you look at the present situation now we are less than 1% of the total population here in Jerusalem, and this is something to worry about , because we are very much afraid that this presence will continue shrinking and we will lose many Christian families from here from Jerusalem . I have to say that there are thousands of Christians here in this city ,who don't have any legal document or (ID) to stay here in Jerusalem. We have divided families. There are wives who don't have Israeli (ID)her in Jerusalem and they are living here just using permit, temporary permits. So these people they are insecure because they can't stay here.
Prof.Efraim Inbar: We have to understand that Palestinians are part of group of people that fights Israel. So we have to be careful with people that are the enemy. It Simple that we are living in an area were there is a conflict and the national identity is important component in this conflict.
Bishop suhail dawan:.I'm fully legal according to my believes that I belong to this land .but to the Israeli authorities I'm living here illegally. So this effects very much my ministry and my life . And I think it is very difficult and it's real suffering to feel that you are unwelcome in your own land and your own city . if you looked to Jerusalem ,you can see that there are many steps that has been taken in order to restrict the movement of the Arab Palestinians , whether they are Christians or Muslims. And also by building a wall around Jerusalem is really something unacceptable to the Arabs here and to everybody .
Narrator :The wall which divided Palestine also divided Jerusalem and isolated many towns controlled by the city. One of the towns is the town of ( Anata)which have it's residence roughly 20.000 people carry a Jerusalem (ID)which is known as the blue (ID)card that the occupation gives to Arabs ,the original citizens, to resin in it. These citizens were isolated by the wall geographically from Jerusalem, the very same wall that forbid the Arab Palestinians who don't carry the blue residence (ID)card from entering the city .
Musa Khalil:The geographical size Anata as town is the biggest in Jerusalem , which is 38.000 km2 there are at least 3 settlements in Anata
Anatot and Elmon settlements from the east and bezgat zeev from the west and on land of Anata.
Over 50.000 original Jerusalem residents are suffering because of the wall. Humiliation on the check point, harassment for women who are either giving birth or are on their way to a hospital for treatments
The wall method is the last method Israel used in order to demolish the Arabic identity in Jerusalem
Prof.Efraim Inba: During the terrorist campaign which was initiated by the Palestinians in 2000 exacted great civilian costs from the Israelis and they were forced to build a defensive major, to build a fence, a security area between us and the Palestinians . I think that it's our right to build a boarder . it's not the nicest architectural feature in the region ,but it has been successful in reducing suicidal bombing in Israel .
Amin Olian:Israel dose not care about what happening to us when they built the wall or another check point
They don’t care if they split our field into two parts or split the country to pieces.
Israel just dose not care.
We faced many problems an difficulties when they were building the wall.
Musa Khalil.Over 2/3 of our field was eaten by the wall. Israel dose not care.
Narrator :The wall won't prevent the players of ( Anata) club to practice soccer . The players insist to keep their playing field stand in the remaining part even if the ball flew over the wall .
Musa Khalil" good job guys"
Every time we practice I must remind you to keep the ball in the ground
We have lost so many balls over the wall
Please play low and do not kick the ball high
-Murad, hoe many balls did you lose this year?
- " I lost ten"
- and you Shafi?
- "5-6 balls"
So 600-700 shekels were gone over the wall
And you cost us over 800 dollars kicking balls over the wall
How long would this stay like this?
How many times do I have to remind you of this?
You guys have cost the club so much to get new balls every time you kick the ball over the wall
Keep it low…low
Amin Olian :If we bring any soccer players from anywhere in the world to play in a field with a wall splitting the field into halves k of course he will not accept to play in it
Aside from requesting him not to kick the ball over 10 or 20 meters
Just 5 meters!
He will not agree to play in such a field.
Before, when soccer balls went over the wall
There was a tunnel in it which allowed us to retrieve them from it.
Now after the Israelis found out about these tunnels, they closed them
So we could not get the soccer balls anymore
Mohammad abu-hanieh:When the soccer ball flew over the wall I would go after it with 2 other players to protect each other
2 would go throw the tunnel and one would watch the street for us in case an Israeli military jeep passes by.
One day we went to get a ball, as we entered the tunnel the guy who was watching for us started screaming and whistling for us warning us from a military jeep which was approaching
We could not run fast enough, the jeep threw at us tear bombs in the tunnel
I was able to continue walking
Hover my friend fainted and fell down
We pulled him out unconscious
He did not join us the next day
No, now there is no way
They fall behind the wall to the valley all the way to Bezgat Ze’ev settlement
And now they are enlarging the settlement
If we go after it we will be caught and jeep are hovering down there
Musa Khalil:They control us more than just playing soccer;
They control our kids learning process, medical cases where people could not go to hospitals,
Trading and economy.
In order to buy your daily grocery needs, you must travel for 30 km to Ramallah.
In the past, in just 5 km, you could get to Jerusalem.
Prof.Efraim Inba:I agree , Palestinians of course are human beings. But I don't think that all human beings have the right to travel anywhere .many countries need visas to get to the united states ,to Canada or to India .there are many countries that demand visas not every body just because he's a human being can go their . so we have the right to defend our country and decide who gets inside and who doesn't .some of the Palestinians unfortunately are a threat .we suspect them to be terrorists ,and this is why we don't want them to come in our country.
Osama al saadi :We say that Israel wants to demolish the Arabic identity of Jerusalem
These are not words
We play slogans we like to sing
These are reality with actual blueprints
In any country the government could claim any neighborhood
Exactly like what happened in AL Selwan neighborhood
And transfer its people just because they want to create a park
We saw at sheikh jarrah neighborhood how the Israelis want to make a settlement for themselves
A Jewish settlement inside Arabs neighborhood
We see them daily harass Arabs in their houses
And they even try to empty these houses
Unfortunately they have succeeded with some houses
We easily notice that the entire Israeli policies in Jerusalem ( AlQuds) are rising up against Arab residents toward decreasing the presence of Arabs.
And take back from them their blue ID card Since the occupation of Jerusalem ( AlQuds) by Israel, more than 15.000 Jerusalem ( AlQuds) Arab residents had their blue ID card taken away from them Throughout this time period the law which governed and supported this injustice is called the source of life
Which means if an Arab residents left Jerusalem ( AlQuds) for more than 7 consecutive years or work or go to school in any country such as Europe, gulf countries or American and didn’t come back to stay in Jerusalem ( AlQuds), the minister of interior would order to pull this person’s blue ID and his entire family
Immediately he and his family become a non Jerusalem ( AlQuds) residents.
Narrator :The idea of Jerusalem citizen ( mahmoud hujeij) and the son of (shiek jarah) neighborhood , one of the most targeted areas in the area was with drone. Even though he was never out of Jerusalem for seven consecutive yeas when he lift to the united states to work.
Mahmoud Hujeij:In 1992 I left to the states in order to look for a better future and to better income to help and support my family in Jerusalem here . And I kept renewing my permit which was the( lassie passé) in Washington (DC) in order to keep my residency voluble over here. After five years I came to visit and at that time I needed to renew my (ID) my Israeli (ID). The blue (ID) which they consider us as a permanent residence according to the Israeli law . They tried to provoke it for me ,I hired a lawyer and took me almost than six months plus a lot of dollars to gain it back . And so I kept coming each year at summer time visiting my family, visiting my hometown in order to keep my residency in Jerusalem. In 2007 , I came to visit my family and my sister for in that time my sister was informed that she has a filer kidney , and she needed a kidney transfer . They call me from the interior office to attend and to meet them . I went over there and they asked me: where have you been living? I said : Simply I live in Jerusalem and work in the states , what's wrong with that ? so they asked me: how do you go? And how do you come to the states? I said like any other person leaves to make an income and come back. So they asked me what kind of documentation do you have to enter the states? I said : I have a green card, what's wrong with that? They said oh! You might break the Israeli law . And now you have a different permanent residence rather than the Israelis . the Israeli law will not allow you to have this . You have to surrender your (ID) and leave Jerusalem within 45 days . So I asked the clerk there : how come do you go out of Israel to work and anybody ask you to leave ?
She said : there is a big difference between you and me. I'm a citizen and you are a residence. And she hand me a letter , I have to leave Jerusalem within 45 days . so I hired a lawyer and started fighting this order of the interior office .
Mahmoud Hujeij:Now we are not allowed to get inside , it's forbidden . The interior office is a place where you can't get in and film. This is the place where they provoke all the Jerusalem people (ID) if they are staying outside the country for longer then the law allow them . Or they have their own excuse to provoke any person from Jerusalem, east Jerusalem. This is where they informed me that my (ID) is being provoked and I have no rights in east Jerusalem. And I have to leave Jerusalem within 45 days at that time . It's very difficult and very hard for so many people live in east Jerusalem.
Osama al saadi .The law differentiates between a citizen and a resident
That is why you don’t hear a judge pulling the resident ID card from a Jewish
This is what their law is built on
Jews have all the rights and benefits
If you are a Jew, just come to the land of milk and honey and you will take it all
But Arabs, the original citizens, who have residing in Jerusalem ( AlQuds) can not
Jews came from all parts of the world but us Arab Palestinians, we have been here
We were born here long ago before Israel itself was born
Despite all this, we the original citizens are treated and considered the low class
Mahmoud Hujeij:This is what we call the double slandered, that they are dealing with us in a way, and with the Israelis in a different way . The Israelis can leave their country and stay over seas 10 years and no one will question them where have you been. Or what you were doing? and most of them can get two citizenship , the Israelis and another foreign citizenship and nobody can question them , because they have the right for that but we don't .this is what I call the double slandered, and insisting of transferring us .I'm a prisoner upon my own city . I can't leave the walls outside Jerusalem to Ram Allah or Bethlehem in order thy might stop me and transfer me the way the way they do it and no one can stop them .
What you see down the street down there are two different homes that have been taken over by settlers. The Palestinian residences who have been living here have been kicked out from their homes. That happened about 13 or 14 month ago . Ever since then we have been having weekly demonstrations in (shiek jarah) protesting settlers living here and protesting the stealing Palestinians homes form their rightful owners.
Mahmoud Hujeij:They want us to leave the city and to take over our places. This is what I call (silent transfer) that no one knows and no one hear about it . They want one by one to get red of us. And the Palestinian people to be a minority in