Holy Land Grab
Jerusalem has been fought over, dreamt about and worshipped in for hundreds of years.
Israel was the city’s most recent conqueror, capturing the eastern part of the city in 1967, bringing the whole of Jerusalem under its control – in defiance of international law.
In the 30 years since the country has been working with determination to weld the two parts of the city together to form the eternal, indivisible capital the Jewish state envisions.
This aim is being pursued through the building of houses for Jews whilst destroying houses belonging to Arabs.
The neighbourhood of al Bustan near the Palestinian village of Silwan is one of the areas that has been affected by the settlement policy.
Situated close to the ancient city walls and with a view of Temple Mount the area is considered one of the most important areas in Jerusalem.
Consequently the authorities have plans and say the houses in these narrow alleyways were built without permits. They want to flatten the whole neighbourhood and turn it into open parkland.
It is a tourist development plan that would wreck the lives of an entire Palestinian community but the municipality has slapped demolition orders on 88 houses – which would make 1500 people homeless.
At the same time as physical settlement expansion and demolition projects there is also a battle for historical legitimacy underway.
Archeologists are digging at several sites in East Jerusalem with a clear political agenda to uncover evidence of ancient Jewish life that would strengthen Israelis claim to the whole city.
The excavations are being carried out by the state-run Antiquities Authority who local archaelogists say do not permit access to the sites.
One reason for that: the Antiquities Authority, has handed over some of the sites to a private organisation called El Ad which is run by Israeli settlers.
In a special programme Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reveals Israel’s systematic plan to turn its slogan of Jerusalem as an “eternal, undivided capital” into reality.
Despite United Nations resolutions and a large international presence in Jerusalem, Israel is already close to achieving its aim. “”” [Al Jazeera]