Nakba Day

15 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Al Nakba graffiti in Nazareth © PRA/cc-by-sa-4.0

Al Nakba graffiti in Nazareth © PRA/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Nakba (lit.: “disaster”, “catastrophe”, or “cataclysm”), also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe, was the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948, and the permanent displacement of a majority of the Palestinian Arabs. The term is also used to describe the ongoing persecution, displacement, and occupation of the Palestinians, both in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as in Palestinian refugee camps throughout the region. The foundational events of the Nakba took place during and shortly after the 1947–1949 Palestine war, including 78% of Mandatory Palestine being declared as Israel, the exodus of 700,000 Palestinians, the related depopulation and destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages and subsequent geographical erasure, the denial of the Palestinian right of return, the creation of permanent Palestinian refugees and the “shattering of Palestinian society”. The most important long-term implications of the Nakba for the Palestinian people were the loss of their homeland, the fragmentation and marginalization of their national community, and their transformation into a stateless people.   read more…

Qalqilya in Palestine

14 March 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Qalqilya from Hod HaSharon © iiiii/cc-by-sa-4.0

Qalqilya from Hod HaSharon © iiiii/cc-by-sa-4.0

Qalqilya or Qalqiliya is a Palestinian city in the West Bank which serves as the administrative center of the Qalqilya Governorate. In the 2007 census the city had a population of 41,739. Qalqilya is surrounded by the Israeli West Bank barrier with a narrow gap in the east controlled by the Israeli military and a tunnel to Hableh. Oranges are grown there.   read more…

Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance

16 February 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Energy, Environment, General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal map © Makeandtoss

Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal map © Makeandtoss

The Red Sea–Dead Sea Conveyance (RSDSC), sometimes called the Two Seas Canal, is a planned pipeline to run from the coastal city of Aqaba by the Red Sea to the Lisan area in the Dead Sea. It will provide drinking water to Jordan, Israel and Palestine, bring water with a high concentration of salts resulting from the desalination process (reject brine) to stabilise the Dead Sea water level, and generate electricity to support the energy needs of the project. The project is planned to be carried out by Jordan and is entirely in Jordanian territory. It will be financed by the governments of Jordan, Israel, and a number of international donors.   read more…

Holy Land

24 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Star of Bethlehem in the Church of Nativity © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

Star of Bethlehem in the nativity grotto of the Church of Nativity in Betlehem © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River. Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term “Holy Land” usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel, the State of Palestine, western Jordan, and parts of southern Lebanon and southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims regard it as holy. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, and the location of the First and Second Temples), as the historical region of Jesus’ ministry, and as the site of the first Qibla of Islam, as well as the site of the Isra and Mi’raj event of c. 621 CE in Islam.   read more…

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war

29 November 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war © Wiki Commons

Towns and villages depopulated during the 1947–1949 Palestine war © Wiki Commons

During the 1947–1949 Palestine war around 400 Arab towns and villages were depopulated, with a majority being entirely destroyed and left uninhabitable (Nakba). Today these locations are in Israel; many of the locations were repopulated by Jewish immigrants, with their place names replaced with new Hebrew place names.   read more…

Haram esh-Sharif or Temple Mount in East Jerusalem

3 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”, or “the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem”) and the Al Aqsa Compound, and to Jews as Temple Mount (“Mount of the House [of God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem]”), is a hill in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site in Christianity, Islam and Islam, and Judaism alike.   read more…

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem

2 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  16 minutes

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of East Jerusalem. It contains, according to traditions dating back to the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site. Within the church proper are the last four (or, by some definitions, five) stations of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’). Today, the wider complex around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, while control of the church itself is shared among several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing property over parts of the church are the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.   read more…

Battir in the West Bank

2 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

© flickr.com - Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

Battir is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, 6.4 km west of Bethlehem, and southwest of Jerusalem. It was inhabited during the Byzantine and Islamic periods, and in the Ottoman and British Mandate censuses its population was recorded as primarily Muslim. In former times, the city lay along the route from Jerusalem to Bayt Jibrin. Battir is situated just above the modern route of the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, which served as the armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1949 until the Six-Day War, when it was occupied by Israel. In 2007, Battir had a population of about 4,000. In 2014, Battir was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as Land of Olives and Vines — Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir.   read more…

The origins of Jerusalem stone architecture in East Jerusalem

23 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old town Suq Aftimos © Rastaman3000/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jerusalem stone (Meleke) is a lithologic type of white, coarsely-crystalline, thickly bedded-limestone found in the Judean Hills in Israel and the West Bank. It has been used in the traditional architecture of Jerusalem since ancient times, especially in Herodian architecture. Though it is often popularly referred to as Jerusalem stone, that phrase can refer to a number of different types of stone found and used in or associated with Jerusalem. Jerusalem stone is a name applied to various types of pale limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, common in and around Jerusalem that have been used in building since ancient times. One of these limestones has been used in many of the region’s most celebrated structures, including the Western Wall. Jerusalem stone continues to be used in construction and incorporated in Jewish ceremonial art such as menorahs and seder plates. Limestone is used all over the world. The unique selling point is the mining area, the origins of which lie in the Palestinian old town of East Jerusalem. This unique selling point naturally also applies to other mining areas, e.g. for the Austin Stone from Austin, Texas or the Cotswold Stone from the British Cotswolds.   read more…

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