It's now ten years since the June war of 1967 in which Israeli forces occupied large areas of territory and brought the Arab inhabitants under Israeli authority.
It's now ten years since the June war of 1967 in which Israeli forces occupied large areas of territory and brought the Arab inhabitants under Israeli authority. Since then much has changed in the occupied territories but much has remained the same.
The 10th anniversary of the Six day War passed quietly in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with calls for a strike by Arab shopkeepers meeting only a limited response. The only incident reported in the territories was in Nablus, largest town in the West Bank. There, 20 Arab youths tried to set fire to tyres in the main street. Israeli border police rushed to the scene and arrested several of them.
SYNOPSIS: Jerusalem is one the areas most changed since then. Before the 1967 war it had been a divided city, but the Israelis have reunited the two sectors.
But even there, some areas have not seen great change. There has been some reconstruction work in the old Jewish Quarter and of the Wailing Wall, but elsewhere in the Old Quarter little has altered. The number of Jews praying at the Wailing Wall itself is a constant reminder of the Israeli occupation for the Arab residents.....before the war Israelis could not visit their holy site.
The large number of people walking in the streets wearing the traditional Arab gelaba and keffiyeh also serve as reminders that this was once Arab territory. Signs on hotels, restaurants and shops in Arabic, Hebrew and English tell of the mixed heritage of the city, as do the newspapers and magazines in Hebrew and Arabic on news-stands.
It's been in East Jerusalem, the old Arab area, that the most noticeable change has come. New Jewish suburbs have been built in areas that were once no-man's-land or Arab settlements. In many cases Arab dwellings have been pulled down. This has led to ill-feeling, and there have been bloody clashes between protesting Arabs and Israeli security forces. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank of the River Jordan has perhaps caused the most trouble of all the occupied territories.
In contrast, the Israeli authorities in the occupied Gaza Strip have not been faced with as much civil unrest. But there are other problems. Many of the Arab inhabitants are housed in makeshift refugee camps, and there's an urgent need to rehouse them. Many, however, are upset at what they see as a high-handed approach by the Israeli authorities to the problem.
Although there has been no large-scale Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, the Israelis have started several military agricultural settlements. These will eventually be handed over to civilian control.
Every day sees thousands of Arab workers travelling to and from Israel in search of work. There's little employment available in Gaza and the inhabitants have to go Israel to find jobs. Many would like to stay overnight near their work, but they are forbidden to do so by law, and face tiring and costly journeys each day. The fares can cost up to a third of their wages.
The standard of living in Gaza has improved under Israeli rule, but it's still behind that of the West Bank or Israel. And this has caused resentment.