Among the many possibilities that were offered to the students in the Jerusalem project, there was the investigation day, on January 31st, in which we had the chance to plan our own day to get to know more about conflicted topics.
Groups 7 and 8 were assigned the Green Line, first established in 1949 as the demarcation line between Israel and the West Bank. The Green Line, de facto, served as the border between the two territories until the Six Days War (1967). Although it was born as the temporary result of the Armistice Agreements, it is still relevant and significant to this day.
Aiming at obtaining different perspectives, the group decided to split the day into two different sections, with a quick lunch break-discussion session in the middle, in order to share how each and every one of us was understanding the case.
At 8:00 we left the Gloria Hotel, to start with a tour led by the Israeli NGO Ir’Amim. This organization looks with critical eyes at Jewish Settlements beyond the Green Line and conducts research on how these hamper future peace negotiations. Discussing and teaching us how the government came to build the separation wall and how settlements keep expanding in the areas of East Jerusalem, the tour guide brought us around Gilo, Har Homa and Rachel’s Tomb just outside Bethlehem.
After this evocative and, for some of us, disturbing experience, we made our way back to the Christian Quarter, where we came together for less than an hour, discussing the key role that fear plays in the building of walls, both physical and mental, and in the hampering of the peace processes.
Finally, we concluded our day by visiting Shoshi, a Jewish lady living in East Jerusalem. Despite her decision not to discuss the political situation, she showed us how her family and her Arab neighbours coexist peacefully, a statement that was proven to us by a little Palestinian girl smiling and greeting her with “Shalom”, when she walked us back to the Old City.
Although we did not manage to obtain the perspective of an East Jerusalemite, our investigation day provided us with food for thought and much to reflect upon.
Written by: Caterina Barbi
Edited by: Keren Sneh and Shy Zvouloun