Jerusalemites mull 1967 legacy

Residents of East and West Jerusalem share their thoughts on 1967’s legacy.

1967 voxpops Israel Palestine Jerusalem Assara

Israelis and Palestinians remain as divided over Jerusalem as they were in 1967

Al Jazeera asks people in East and West Jerusalem to reflect on the legacy of the 1967 war and how it impacted their lives.

Asarra Hajj, 20-year-old Jordanian student in Jerusalem
I don’t know much about the 1967 war.

Assara: “My country made peace with Israel”

But it’s very bad now because Israel continues to kill Palestinians even if they are innocent. They think all Muslims are terrorists but they are not.

Maybe Hamas and Fatah are terrorists but they also kill innocent people.

Last week, the Israelis killed a guy right near my house and left the body in the street until the next day.

When I first came to Jerusalem, everybody said: “Don’t talk to the soldiers – they will hit you”, but I think they are nice.

But as I am Jordanian and not Palestinian maybe it’s different.

But many of the new generation here love Israel and my country, Jordan, has made peace with them.

If the King of Jordan says he hates them, I will hate them, if not, then I don’t.

But for Palestinians like my mum, it’s different. She hates Israelis.

Anonymous Palestinian, East Jerusalem

The 1967 war was a huge change in the Palestinian situation as we were under Jordanian control before.

After that the Jews controlled everything so they didn’t want to negotiate and there was nothing that the Palestinians could negotiate with.

The occupation still affects us.

My brother is married to somebody from the West Bank and she has a hard time getting a permit to come to Jerusalem.

My brother has to ask the authorities every month for the permit and sometimes they say no for no reason. It has been like that for 12 years.

I can’t see a future for Jerusalem – it seems like a big mess.

Both sides want this city really badly. But I believe the Palestinians should control their side of the city.

I don’t see any change coming. Most Arab leaders just seem concerned with their own people, not the Palestinians.

They only care about their authority and power. They feel like [as though] they have to follow the US.

The fighting between Hamas and Fatah is really affecting Palestinians’ view of the world.

Before we were fighting for our freedom, but right now we are fighting each other.

Asmi Abu Arabiya

The 1967 war was a disaster for the Palestinian people. The first disaster was 1948 and the second [was] 1967.

Asmi: “Everything about our lives

The war didn’t really affect me or my family. I was born in Jerusalem and I stayed in Jerusalem.

But after 1967 – everything changed – before it had been an Arabic city but afterwards it became Jewish.

Our position became worse and everything about our lives changed.

They took everything – including our mosques and our churches.

We don’t know what will happen in the future as we don’t know what Israel will do next.

Alona Ben-Saul, 23-years-old, West Jerusalem

My mother’s first husband was killed fighting in the war.

But I don’t think young people know or care a lot about the 1967 war unless they are very religious or ideological.

The war established Israel as conquerors. That we are here and are not going anywhere.

I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t conquered the whole Jerusalem.

I think it caused a lot of hatred between the Arabs and us – a lot of animosity.

Idan Leman, 36-years-old, West Jerusalem.

My father fought in the Sinai during the war.

Idan: “The war made Jerusalem a
safer city”

We won the war and people realised they couldn’t get us off the map.

Maybe Iran and al-Qaeda have other plans.

Following the war there was a debate about whether Israel should continue to occupy the territories.

We are always doing what we should have done yesterday.

If we say that Israel is the place that our forefathers our from, then we should annex Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] the next day, just like we did with Jerusalem.

The war made Jerusalem our capital and made it a safer city.

Mirav Haledi, 30’s, Jerusalem

It was a good thing that we won the war but we didn’t do the right thing afterwards.

God gave us this land but many people in Israel don’t appreciate it.

The war was good for Jerusalem as we got the whole city but I worry about the future. We don’t have real peace here and the Jews need to be strong and smart in the future.

We have to believe that this is our country and this our city.

Ayman, 40-years-old, East Jerusalem

For us the 1967 war means occupation and everyone here knows about occupation. It even affects your heart.

 Ayman: “All that happens is that
things get worse”

I am from the Old City in Jerusalem and I was born in 1967 but every time I go home, I feel like I am going to a prison.

The [Israeli] soldiers are always shouting and calling after you. They are always checking you.

The Jews who live in the Old City also make life difficult for the people who live there and it is hard to go to our holy places.

We don’t know what will happen to Jerusalem in the future, the only person who knows is God.

All  the Arab countries have been talking about this since 1967 but nothing has changed for us. Nothing.

They have been talking since I was small. But all that happens is that things just get worse and worse.

Gamli Dahan, West Jerusalem

We didn’t start the 1967 war and we had to fight for our survival.

 Gamli: “The war set Jerusalem free”

Other countries were trying to destroy us and it was a miracle that we won.

All the Arab countries were against us and we had a small army, but we did it.

My family were still in Europe at that time but all the Jews round the world were trying to help Israel.

The war set Jerusalem free.

If Jerusalem was still in Arab hands then Christians and Jews could not visit it, but today everybody can.

The war made the rest of the Middle East angry at Israel and I can understand it.

We were a small country. A new country. And after all the pogroms in Europe people thought we were weak.

Because of this war the Arab countries still hate us and want to destroy us.

Source: Al Jazeera