Representing Jerusalem

An Interview with Suad Amiry

by Penny Johnson
published in MER182

Suad Amiry is coordinator of the Palestinian team for the Jerusalem program at the Smithsonian Institution’s 1993 Folklife Festival in Washington. An architect, Amiry is also a member of the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks with Israel. As Middle East Report was going to press, the Jerusalem program was postponed. The interview begins with Amiry’s explanation of the postponement. She discussed the Festival with Penny Johnson, a contributing editor of this magazine, in Ramallah in April 1993.

Why was the Jerusalem Festival postponed?

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Yehezkel Kedmi

Making a Home for Poetry

by Ammiel Alcalay
published in MER182

Being served a soda or some fresh nuts by an unassuming man in the small, crowded kiosk across from Jerusalem’s central bus station, it would be hard to know that you were in the presence of one of the most powerful and original Hebrew poetic voices alive.

The story of this poet, Yehezkel Kedmi, is just as unlikely, and presents the true anguish of those parts of Jerusalem so often swept under the rug. Living by his wits on the streets since the age of 13, and still homeless, Kedmi depicts the struggle and suffering that shaped a generation of Jews from the Arab world. Through a dramatic, almost epic structure, Kedmi’s language parallels that of the prophets and the great classical medieval Hebrew poets of Andalusia.

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Jerusalem, The Islamic City

by Ammiel Alcalay
published in MER182

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Growing Up In Jerusalem

A Conversation with Jamila Freij

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER182

Jamila Freij (Umm Sam‘an) was born in 1930 in “new” Jerusalem, what is now called West Jerusalem. Her family had lived in Jerusalem’s Old City for 15 generations until 1925 when her father and his brother built houses in Bak‘a (which means “beautiful area”), then an unpopulated land outside the Old City walls. The family fled their homes just days before the establishment of the state of Israel. They never returned. Umm Sam‘an describes their life in Bak‘a, their flight in 1948 and return to the Christian Quarter of the Old City, and the family&rsuqo;s disintegration.

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Growing Up In Jerusalem: City of Mirrors

A Conversation with Albert Aghazarian

by Penny Johnson
published in MER182

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Jerusalem: A Primer

by Martha Wenger
published in MER182

It is possible to talk of Jerusalem in many ways: as a city where history lives, as a city where history lives, as a city holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims, as a place where people live and work, as a place of pilgrimage. This primer talks of Jerusalem the modern city, the city claimed by both Palestinians and Israelis as their national symbol, Jerusalem the united, Jerusalem the divided. It tells how a thriving Arab city with expanding Jewish-Arab suburbs was transformed into a large Jewish Israeli city in which the Arab residents are not citizens. Finally, it stresses the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate Jerusalem’s future.

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From the Editors

published in MER182

We have long wanted to produce an issue dedicated to the proposition that Jerusalem’s political future must be firmly inscribed on the agenda of any Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that presume to be credible. We hope this issue can contribute to a more widespread appreciation among advocates of a negotiated resolution of the conflict that Jerusalem’s importance is not only symbolic or religious but has to do with basic material realities.

Contesting Past and Present in Silwan

by Joel Beinin | published September 17, 2010

On September 1, Elad -- a Hebrew acronym for “To the City of David” -- convened its eleventh annual archaeological conference at the “City of David National Park” in the Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan, home to about 45,000 people, is one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem and annexed by Israel after the June 1967 war. It lies in a valley situated a short walk beyond the Dung Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Elad, a militant, religious, settler organization, claims that Silwan is the biblical City of David mentioned in the second book of Samuel and that the Pool of Shiloah (Siloam) located there watered King Solomon’s garden.