Theme Week East Jerusalem

Sunday, 14 June 2015 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Orient House, the unofficial seat of East Jerusalem's mayor © Abutoum

Orient House, the unofficial town hall of East Jerusalem © Abutoum

East Jerusalem is the sector of Jerusalem that was occupied by Jordan in 1948 and had remained out of the Israeli-held West Jerusalem at the end of the 1948–49 Arab–Israeli War. It includes Jerusalem’s Old City and some of the holiest sites of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, such as the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as a number of adjacent neighbourhoods. Israeli and Palestinian definitions of it differ; the Palestinian official position is based on the 1949 Armistice Agreements, while the Israeli position is mainly based on the current municipality boundaries of Jerusalem, which resulted from a series of administrative enlargements decided by Israeli municipal authorities since the June 1967 Six-Day War (United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, international positions on Jerusalem, City Line, which has survived to this day due to the repeatedly annulled Jerusalem Law by the UN and is a part of the Green Line). Despite its name, East Jerusalem includes neighborhoods to the north, east and south of the Old City (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and in the wider definition of the term even on all these sides of West Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is now regarded by the international community as part of Palestine.

The Old City is a 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi) walled area. Until 1860, when the Jewish neighborhood Mishkenot Sha’ananim was established, this area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem. Although Mount Zion with the Abbey of the Dormition is located outside the city walls, it is occasionally counted as part of the Old City. Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four uneven quarters, although the current designations were introduced only in the 19th century. Today, the Old City is roughly divided (going counterclockwise from the northeastern corner) into the Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter. The Old City’s monumental defensive walls and city gates were built in the years 1535–1542 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Beside the Old City, the neighbourhoods of Abu Tor, Atarot, Beit Hanina, French Hill, Gilo, Har Homa, Nof Zion, Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramat Eshkol, Shuafat, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Talpiot Ost, and Umm Tuba belong to East Jerusalem as well. Especially the variety of religious buildings on a very small piece of land, make the Old City one of the most controversial spots in the world.

Dome of the Rock © Berthold Werner Wadi al Joz, seen from Mount Scopus © flickr.com - StateofIsrael/cc-by-sa-2.0 Schmidt's Girls College and Paulus House © Deror avi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Orient House, the unofficial seat of East Jerusalem's mayor © Abutoum Old City © Shmuel Spiegelman/cc-by-sa-1.0 Mount of Olives © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0 East Jerusalem, with Israeli West Bank barrier in the background © Anthony Baratier/cc-by-sa-3.0
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East Jerusalem, with Israeli West Bank barrier in the background © Anthony Baratier/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Orient House was the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and also served as the unofficial city hall of East Jerusalem. It was repeatedly closed by the Israeli government for dubious reasons. The international community keeps insisting on the re-opening of the building. Unlike the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, which are considered illegal by the international community, the area around Mount Scopus is a legitimate Israeli exclave in East Jerusalem, which was purchased by the Jewish Zionist movement in 1918, to built the Hebrew University, which opened in 1925, housing the National Library and the Hadassah Hospital, opened in 1939.

On the Mount of Olives, there are several restaurants, as well as another on the rise just behind the garden Gethsemane. A nightlife practically doesn’t exist. If visitors have the chance, they should visit the Downtown Triangle in West Jerusalem. Anyone who expects a voluptuous nightlife is generally much better off in Tel Aviv. On the Mount of Olives is the well-known Hotel Seven Arches, which was built in 1964 by the Jordanian royal family as Hotel Jerusalem Intercontinental. The American Colony Hotel, is a small luxury hotel in East Jerusalem. It has been part of the Leading Hotels of the World for several years (Shepherd Hotel).

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Times of Israel, 29 January 2019: Israel advances controversial cable car to Jerusalem’s Old City, Jewish News, 12 March 2019: Jerusalem’s cable car: Moving in the wrong direction, Palestine Chronicle, 16 July 2019: How the Goliath of the Jerusalem Settler Movement Persuaded the World It’s Really David, France24. 22 July 2019: Israel demolishes Palestinian homes on Jerusalem outskirts, BBC, 22 July 2019: Israel razes Palestinian homes ‘built too near barrier’, The Guardian, 22 July 2019: Israeli crews demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, Palestine Chronicle, 22 July 2019: Israeli Top Court: Settlers Can Occupy Palestinians’ Homes in Hebron (VIDEO), Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Palestinians blast ‘massacre’ as Israel razes homes near security barrier, Palestine Chronicle, 22 July 2019: Palestinian FM: Israel’s Demolition of 100 Homes in Jerusalem Is ‘War Crime’, Saudi Gazette, 22 July 2019: EU urges Israel to ‘immediately’ stop Palestinian home demolition, Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Bahrain, Jordan, France among those condemning Jerusalem area demolitions, Haaretz, 13 June 2023: Iconic Tower of David Reopens: Jerusalem Like You’ve Never Seen It Before, Wikivoyage East Jerusalem and Wikipedia East Jerusalem (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.

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