JERUSALEM: BATTLE FOR THE HOLY LAND 4 OF 6

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JERUSALEM: BATTLE FOR THE HOLY LAND PART 4 OF 6

Hear from Jewish settlers in Tekoah, part of a block of settlements to the south of Jerusalem. Unlike their Palestinian neighbours, they do not suffer from water shortages in the blazing hot summers; they are generally waved through the ubiquitous checkpoints and do not need permits to visit their holy places – indeed, in many areas there are even separate roads for Jews and Arabs.

Nevertheless, they express a deep sense of insecurity, in which their fear of the Palestinians is intertwined with recent Jewish history. Mayor of Tekoah, Shaul Goldstein, says: ‘We are not going to the Holocaust again. … I lost all my family in the Holocaust. I don’t have grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles. I have nothing. The world can say whatever they want. This is our land and we are going to stay here.’

The pain of recent history perpetuates the conflict in Israel and Palestine, whether deliberately or unconsciously. Actions taken today hark back not only to the Holocaust but also to the conflict in 1947-49, which the Israelis call the War of Independence, and the Palestinians call the Naqba – disaster.

In Jerusalem, Paddy Ashdown hears an Israeli describe the massacre of Jews by Arabs at Gush Etzion in 1948. Then he hears a Palestinian describe the massacre of Arabs by Jews at Deir Yassin, a village near Jerusalem which no longer appears on the map.

A Palestinian resident of Jerusalem describes how she lost her home when the Israeli army destroyed the Moroccan Quarter of the Old City in one of its first acts of conquest in 1967. An Israeli resident of Jerusalem describes how, when the Arab Legion captured the Jewish Quarter in 1948, its 1,500 surviving Jewish residents were forced to leave before the Jordanians systematically destroyed the quarter.

Is there any common ground to be found between these peoples?

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