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Message from the Editor

Most Palestinians, including my children, can only dream of visiting Jerusalem, the historic capital of Palestine. While it is theoretically possible to apply for a permit, my daughter has for years tried in vain to obtain one. So her Jerusalemite friends come to visit her in Ramallah – or spend a day at the beach, without her. But the residents of Jerusalem, holders of the blue hawiyyeh, pay a hefty price for their freedom of movement. Clearly, Israel is determined to make life difficult for Palestinians as it pursues the establishment of a “Jewish State,” which includes achieving a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem and driving out as many Palestinians as possible from their ancestral homeland. This requires all kinds of measures that, if we are honest, amount to ethnic cleansing – through demographic means or brute force – even though few people dare to declare it as such. We are reeling in the aftermath of the assault on Jenin Refugee Camp that took 12 lives (including 5 children), injured close to 150 (at least 20 of them in critical condition), senselessly destroyed essential infrastructure, forced thousands to leave their homes, and attacked families with small children with tear gas as they were fleeing. The 2023 death toll so far (185 Palestinians, 25 Israelis, and two European citizens) is not only alarming but also shows that the attitude and language adopted by the international press and world leadership – that deems any Palestinian resistance fighter a terrorist, while politicians assert their support of Israel’s right to “defend itself,” and weakly voice “concern” over its approach yet fail to take any meaningful action – are totally out of sync with reality in the occupied territories. (Imagine the reaction had this assault taken place in Ukraine!)

This issue examines some of the difficulties that face Palestinians who manage to remain in Jerusalem. TWiP wishes to express special gratitude to the Jerusalem Human Rights Consortium, our partner in the publication of this issue, a partnership made possible through The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, JLAC. We also thank all the authors who have contributed to its content, including H.E. Fadi Al-Hidmi, the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs; Dr. Ali Qleibo, an artist, author, and anthropologist from Jerusalem; Najla Said, the daughter of Edward Said; Simon Kouba, an architect and town planner who is also our Personality of the Month; Rania Elias, the former director of Yabous Cultural Centre; Abdelqader Husseini, son of “the Prince of Jerusalem”; Marya Farah, a lawyer who focuses on international human rights law and advocacy; activist Samer Daoudi from the Society of St. Yves; Elise Aghazarian, a writer and sociologist from Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter; Diana and Randa Safieh, the daughters of an exceptional Palestinian diplomat; Amoun Sleem, the director and founder of the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem; Kegham Balian, a columnist for the Armenian Weekly; Huda Imam, the founder of Time Out Palestine; Mousa Qous, the executive director of the African Community Society in Jerusalem’s Old City; Eric Sype, a community organizer and advocate for Palestinian human rights; Muna Nassar, also an advocate for Palestinian rights; Brad Parker, an attorney and senior adviser at Defense for Children International, Palestine; and Elias Tams, a certified financial planner.

Interspersed between the articles, you will find features on distinguished Jerusalemites. Our two Books of the Month are The Noble Sanctuary and Crossing Borders, and the (virtual) Exhibition of the Month is Reflections in Free Fall. Enjoy the listed events.

The entire team wishes you a more peaceful rest of the summer!

 The Tina Basem

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