Pisgat Ze’ev is an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem and the largest residential neighbourhood in Jerusalem with a population of over 50,000.
Pisgat Ze’ev was established by Israel as one of the city’s give Ring neighbourhoods on land effectively annexed after the 1967 Six Day Way. The international community considers Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.
Some call this a separation wall, or separation fence, or security barrier. It really depends on which side of the political narrative you stand on. The intentions for building the ‘separation’ after the Second Intifada was to stop people Palestinians in the West Bank from killing the Israeli Jews on the Israel side of the Green line. (see more info the Israeli West Bank Barrier Wikipedia)
What I find interesting in this picture is the juxtaposition of Shaft refugee camp at the back and the Pisgat Ze’ev Israeli houses in the front. There was a clear delineation of the difference in strength of the building architecture.
In response to my classmate Diana’s blog post on our field trip to Pisgat Ze’ev, I would like to say she did an excellent job highlighting the way the Jews and Arabs co-exist. She said:
“In Jerusalem, there have been many attempts to divide the city, both in historical and political terms. Although, there is a clear division of Jerusalem in two main ethnical, religious and economical enters, namely the western/Israeli and the eastern/Palestinian part of the city, they nevertheless intersect and mix everyday: in public transportation, in shopping malls and markets, in working life. Not to forget all the other diverse identities, ethnical and religious groups the city holds. Hereby, the most important issue is that they are interdependent and indispensable for the integrity and for the functioning of Jerusalem as a single urban unit.”
It is true that the two groups are interdependent and indispensable for each other. The Jews need the Arabs, and the Arabs need the Jews. It is like a big family. Even the Arabs and Jews call each other “cousins.” Both the Arabs / Palestinians, and Jews are of semitic descent. In the last picture of this blog post, though they live right next to each other, they are separated by a valley. A valley of deep unforgiveness, misunderstanding and bitternness, eventually leading to the extreme hatred towards each other and is expressed in the hostility in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.