It is one thing to pass resolutions around a council-table or to make political statements in the Prime Ministers' offices of the surrounding countries or even countries further removed from the Middle East - it is quite another thing to live in a city which has been artificially devided for twenty years by a cease-fire-line and all of a sudden has been reunited.
It is one thing to pass resolutions around a council-table or to make political statements in the Prime Ministers' offices of the surrounding countries or even countries further removed from the Middle East - it is quite another thing to live in a city which has been artificially devided for twenty years by a cease-fire-line and all of a sudden has been reunited. For a city to be united is a natural thing, not an unnatural state of affairs, and that is the big advantage the Israelis had two years ago when the sound of war subsided and Mayor Teddy Kollek took exactly three days to tear down the walls and the barbed wire which had, against all logics, devided this city, holy to the three great religions of the West; this too is what the population felt when on that sunny day in July Arabs were for the first time allowed to visit the Western part of the city and Jewish sightseers went to revisit or see for the first time the lanes of the Old city, the places holy to their particular religion and this included Israeli Moslems who for twenty years had not been permitted to pray at El Aqsa or the Dome of the Rock or even visit their own kin.- Today all this has become a matter of course. Jerusalem's mayor Teddy Kollek leaves his office at 0700hrs to visit a housing project on the former border, where he wants to turn open space filled with rubble into a playground for Jewish and Arab children and visits on his tour a school in East Jerusalem to discuss the needs with the headmaster. He refuses to be photographed with the headmaster together in order not to endanger the latter's life since East Jerusalem Arabs who work together with the authorities received letters threatening their lives from El Fatah terrorists and in some villages on the West Bank such people have been murdered by their own kin. It is also true that here and there handgrenades are thrown from a passing vehicle or riots occur when youths are incited to riot but by and large the population does what comes naturally:- they want to live in peace, they want to earn their living, they love their city as much as the Israelis and want to see it progress and prosper and when the Israelis installed the traffic-lights outside Damascus Gate, many of the simpler folk became convinced that Israel is here to stay. Every morning hundreds of East Jerusalemites come into West Jerusalem to work side by side on a building or in a public garden with their Jewish colleagues, mothers are visiting the mother-and-child-clinics of the municipality and Jewish nurses and doctors together with their Arab colleagues care for them, young Arab women visit the a club set up by the WIZO, the Women's International Zionist Organisation, where they learn dressmaking from a Jewish.