Ir Amim web site

 

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 Correction: 

In our latest newsletter, a technical error occurred in the section entitled “Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif – Passover Update.” The text should have read: “Passover proved Ir Amim’s long-standing argument that there is a direct relationship between collective restrictions and escalations of tension and violence at the site and across East Jerusalem.” See full corrected text below.

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Dear Friends: 

 

“Somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30 PM, quiet prevailed in the Muslim Quarter. The last of the marchers, the flags and the loud voices disappeared down the alleyways leading to the Western Wall, and the Muslim Quarter returned to its residents. Here and there shops opened, families came out of their homes and even the heat wave broke and a pleasant breeze began to blow as the sun set… For a moment it was a different Jerusalem. Jews danced and prayed at the Western Wall plaza. Muslims began to prepare for the Tarawih prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque… It was a moment when we understood that we had made something of a difference…

Though this year appears to have marked some significant changes, the heart nevertheless remains heavy. The Flag Parade itself, with or without its most extreme manifestations, is a grave demonstration of militant nationalism and its passage through the Muslim Quarter – in the very heart of Palestinian life in the city – is both a provocation and a severe disruption of the way of life and daily routine of the residents of East Jerusalem. It does nothing for the good of Jerusalem and a majority of Jerusalem’s residents, both Palestinians and Israelis, are opposed to it. Until about three years ago, the parade used to pass almost without criticism and entailed a full curfew imposed on Palestinian residents from the afternoon until the late night hours. Since we have put the issue on the public agenda, more and more voices have been heard from within civil society in Jerusalem and other places, religious and non-religious alike, that object to the parade – either by opposing it explicitly or by offering alternative ways to mark Jerusalem Day.” 

 

Yudith Oppenheimer, Executive Director of Ir Amim, on the annual Jerusalem Day Flag Parade. Click here to read the full piece and see below for more on Ir Amim’s campaign to reroute the parade away from the Muslim Quarter. 

 

IR AMIM UPDATES

Flag Parade Campaign – Key Milestones 

This June, Ir Amim conducted another major public campaign to reroute the nationalist Jerusalem Day Flag Parade –an annual lightning rod for anti-Palestinian incitement and violence –away from the Muslim Quarter.  This year’s fight was particularly critical given the concurrence of Jerusalem Day with the start of Ramadan. 

Ir Amim’s comprehensive campaign included sustained advocacy with the Jerusalem District Police to reroute the parade away from the Muslim Quarter; and mobilizing the support of Jerusalem City Council members, religious leaders, public figures and key civil society activists.  Giving its campaign a jolt of credibility, Ir Amim commissioned a public survey demonstrating that 61% of Jewish Jerusalemites were opposed to the Flag Parade passing through the Muslim Quarter on the eve of Ramadan. Members of the public sent thousands of letters calling to change the parade’s route to Police and government officials, and campaign materials such as this video garnered wide attention on social media.

Shortly before the parade Ir Amim submitted an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice, which set a strict exit time for the marchers to vacate the Muslim Quarter; along with the Police imposing an earlier closure on entrance to the Muslim Quarter, the decision helped minimize friction with local residents on their way to opening Ramadan prayers.  While more work is needed to achieve the ultimate goal of rerouting the parade, Ir Amim has successfully put the issue on the public agenda, activating more and more voices in pushing for alternative ways to mark Jerusalem Day.

Demolitions and Evictions: Holy Basin and Old City Under Threat 

The past months have seen a mounting wave of evictions in the Old City and surrounding neighborhoods, along with a renewed spate of demolitions and demolition orders in the Historic Basin. About 105 units have come under new or renewed threat of demolition – out of thousands of outstanding orders – and about 100 families are at risk of eviction in Batan al-Hawa, Silwan alone. Demonstrating government support for this private settlement wave, the Local Planning and Building Committee recently approved a building permit for a four-story settler building in Batan al-Hawa for the Ateret Cohanim settler organization, allowing the settlers to expand their growing foothold in the neighborhood. The government also spends hundreds of millions of shekels every year to finance private security for settlers seizing homes in Palestinian neighborhoods.

These collective and fast-unfolding developments signify a steep increase over last year and a clear pattern of using evictions and demolitions to displace Palestinians from the city and to consolidate Israeli control over the Historic Basin, putting new facts on the ground and further undermining the viability of a two state solution.

While major Israeli building and construction projects in East Jerusalem remain a focus of concern and call for vigilant monitoring, it is important to recognize that government-supported private settlement within Palestinian neighborhoods and an upsurge in demolitions, threatened demolitions and evictions merits comparable attention.

Click here for more details on the expanding trend of government-backed private settlement in the Old City and Historic Basin.

 

 

Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif – Passover Update

This year, despite intensive activity at the highly flammable site, Passover remained relatively quiet on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.  More than 1,000 Jewish visitors entered the Mount (about 200 per day) during the week and at least 40 activists were removed by the Police after attempting to pray at the site in violation of the status quo. 

For the past several years, Ir Amim has engaged in a concerted campaign to expose the influence of the Temple Movements – radical Jews committed to overturning the status quo – and lobby against the imposition of collective (sweeping age or gender based) restrictions on Muslims’ access to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.  Passover proved Ir Amim’s long-standing argument that there is a direct relationship between collective restrictions and escalations of tension and violence at the site and across East Jerusalem. During Passover, security forces imposed no collective restrictions and the situation passed with no major incidents despite anger sparked among Palestinians by Temple Mount activists’ provocations. 

The graph above shows the clear correlation between collective restrictions and the number of clashes between Police and Palestinians on the Haram al-Sharif. For more details, see Ir Amim’s policy paper, and click here to read Ir Amim’s seminal report on the Temple movements.

 

Jerusalem Unedited – Alternative Jerusalem Day Event

Every year Ir Amim holds its annual alternative Jerusalem Day event to challenge traditional perspectives on Jerusalem and the day created to celebrate its “reunification.”  This year Ir Amim addressed the role of media and language in shaping the discourse on Jerusalem.  A panel of journalists – Ohad Hemo of Channel 2 News, Haaretz’s Nir Hasson, Yediot Aharonot reporter Yael Freidson and Amnon Lord of Makor Rishon – fielded such questions as whether Jerusalem can be covered independent of the prevalent Israeli political discourse on the city and whether the media has room for multiple narratives on Jerusalem.  The night also provided a platform for prominent Jerusalem-based spoken word performers – presenting an alternative voice to the mainstream media.

Despite the growing number of Jerusalem Day events now being held under the banner of promoting tolerance in Jerusalem, Ir Amim’s panel attracted an audience of 150 – many representing one of Ir Amim’s growing bases: young West Jerusalem based leaders and activists. Since the social protest movement of 2011, Ir Amim has put an increasing focus on this growing constituency for peace, organizing a major conference on East Jerusalem, holding five courses introducing participants more deeply to the political ramifications of government policies on East Jerusalem, and organizing civil society wide strategic discussions on urgent issues such as violence in the city.  

 

IR AMIM IN THE MEDIA

Building permit awarded to settlers in Silwan. Ir Amim: “The Netanyahu government has enabled yet another destructive step in one of the most sensitive areas of Jerusalem.”

Haaretz, June 15

 

Ir Amim on Flag Parade court ruling: “The court recognized the obligation of the state to more seriously address the proximity to Ramadan and the location of the march.”

Times of Israel, June 5

 

Feature piece showing how residents battle neglect in East Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Separation Barrier cites Ir Amim’s major report, “Displaced in their Own City.” 

Jerusalem Report, April 26

 

 

UPCOMING STUDY TOURS            

Ir Amim invites you to join one of our public tours – an opportunity to learn about the political, economic and social issues associated with Jerusalem’s role as the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to engage in dialogue about the future of the city. The tours provide an incisive and candid look at Jerusalem and how developments – from settlement building to revocations of Palestinians’ permanent residency status – impact our ability to negotiate a resolution to the Conflict.

Participation requires registration in advance and is free of charge.

The next tours: 

Friday, July 29, 2016 - 9:30 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here) 

Friday, August 26, 2016 - 9:30 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here) 

  

SUPPORT IR AMIM

Ir Amim works to inspire an informed public discourse on political issues related to Jerusalem, and to promote conditions for a more equitable Jerusalem today and towards a future, agreed-upon political resolution. We reach out to the general public in Israel and to our friends abroad by means of tours, lectures, press reports, social media activity, media campaigns and more.

Please consider making a contribution to Ir Amim as we work to monitor all of the current developments in our city, and conduct legal and policy advocacy to fight developments that undermine hope for a political resolution on the city. To donate, please click here.

 

Follow us on Twitter: @IrAmimAlerts and Facebook (tinyurl.com/IrAmimEngto keep current on Ir Amim’s positions on unfolding events in Jerusalem and be the first to access our latest resources. Stay tuned for updates on Ir Amim’s growing English language social media presence.

 

With thanks for your continued interest and support,

The Ir Amim team