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“Now, after the Intifadas, we can get down to business”

June 22, 2011

I was talking this morning to my friend Abed, the Palestinian from East Jerusalem who can’t author a book with me (see the sad story here). We’re trying to figure out how I can do a crash-course on the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, along with a day job and other parts of life. I’m optimistic this will work out somehow.

Not that it will be easy, mind you. Part of our discussion was an attempt to figure out how much time will be required.

“How long would it take for me to figure out what’s going on in Silwan?” I asked.

“Let’s see. You’d need to talk to that one, and those guys, and we’d need to have the other guys give you a tour…  that alone would be at least half a day… To do it right? You’d need a solid week”.

A solid week. For one small (but important) part of the story. You begin to see why I’m convinced that if I can do this right, I’ll have written a book that really will tell a story no-one else is out there telling.

The second interesting insight from the discussion was Abed’s interpretation of the recent history of Jerusalem. According to him, from 1967-1987 the Israelis were treating the Palestinians as inferior. From 1987 till about 2004 the Palestinians were revolting (in two Intifadas). In recent years – we agreed on 2007 for the symmetry of the numbers – the Intifadas are over, but the Israelis have understood that the Palestinians (at least in Jerusalem) must be taken seriously and treated as equals. This, says Abed, is finally creating a healthier city in which all the residents can live together in peace. Not that this has already happened, but it’s finally possible, and maybe even beginning.

That’s Abed’s thesis, not mine. Well, it’s my feeling, also, but he has a different perspective than I do.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Markus permalink
    June 22, 2011 7:38 pm

    Looking very forward to reading your book, once it’s out there.

  2. Barry Meislin permalink
    June 23, 2011 4:52 pm

    …must be taken seriously and treated as equals.

    Here’s an idea: what about a short introduction on how the Palestinians treat each other? Or their women? Or their foreign maids? Or for that matter, how other Arabs treat the Palestinians?

    File under: Any other unhelpful ideas?

  3. June 26, 2011 12:35 pm

    If his perspective is that Israel is treating them with equality, than that is a very good sign. If Israel wants to maintain a united Jerusalem than it must unite Jerusalemites under its rule.

    I believe the best way to keep the city united is by investing in the success of the Arab community there. Let’s hope that this is the first sign of success in that endeavor.

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