Recent tension in Jerusalem has sparked media as casualties continue to fell from both Palestinian and Israeli sides. The high tension between both side has spread all over West Bank as it lead to new resistance from Palestinian side. The old city has witnessed escalation of violence, riots and killings since Palestinians are living under pressure to get their own rights in accessing public and historical properties.
In accordance to that, there are efforts to get coexistence back into stage by the people who misses the pre 1948 war life, where the Jerusalem was known as a peaceful cosmopolitan city and people lived in harmony. Therefore, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) has conducted an interview with Israeli Proffesor of Bar Ilan University Menachem Kleinn who also authored of several books. He is one of the persons who believe reuniting the coexistent life in Jerusalem could make the world a better place. Here’s the following interview:
MINA: In your efforts to realize the coexistence in Jerusalem, what foundation do you find to reunite the life back in there?
Menachem: The most effective elements that we have to learn from the past is that the city belongs to all of the citizens, and both Jews and Arabs, they are natives, and they are the sons and daughters of Jerusalem. It is not exclusively Jewish’s, Palestinians’, Christians’, or Moslems’, it belongs to everybody. We have to see them as legal residents of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem should not be an exclusive city, and we can learn it from the past and modern history before 1948 war.
MINA: As you see it’s very hard right now to reset the coexistence in the old city?
Menachem: Unfortunately these days the city is now seen as a platform of hatred, bloodshed, we have to say enough to this bloodshed. I speak from an Israeli view, we should legitimate Palestinians neighbours. They have their own right to build their own municipaility in the city.
MINA: Do you believe international involvement could solve this problem?
Menachem: It could help. But first and foremost it is the duty of Israeli and Palestinian inside. Definetly we need international help for it, definetly. Here i see as Israeli responsibility to help Palestinians rebuild their presence in Jerusalem. The problem is still that Israel doesn’t recognize that Palestinian have equal rights in Jerusalem, we have to allow them to build their institutions in the old city. So accept all religious and national rights
MINA: What do you see in the current tension in Jerusalem?
Menachem: What’s going on in Al-Aqsa is some extremist Jews, certain groups, they wish to rebuild the temple mount and put pressures on Israeli government to change the status quo of temple mount and divide time and space for Jewish prayer which goes against thirteen hundreed years of muslim compund there. They want to imply this. This ended with bloody conflict in Jerusalem and spread to the whole West Bank
MINA: Palestine believes Israel is digging a tunnel under Harm AL-Sharif, what do you see of that?
Menachem: There’s no evidence that there’s tunnel below the Harm Al-Sharif. There’s tunnel conecting Silwan to Wailing Wall, but not from the Wailing Wall to Harm Al-Sharif. But Palestinian believe there’s extremist Jews is going to destroy AL-Aqsa and build the temple mount. There are certain groups they claimed to do it but it’s not Israeli government policy. Also not the majority of Israeli people.
MINA: What is the best solution for solving this issue?
Menachem: We dont have the best solution, The answer is to share between Israel and Palestine. i’m in favor sharing Jerusalem with Palestinian neighbours, colleuages, Palestine state. Share the city but not build high walls, hatred, and killing citizens in Jerusalem.
MINA: Do you agree with Palestinian demand to set East Jerusalem as their capital and West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?
Menachem: Definetly, East Jerusalem should be Palestine’s capital and West Jerusalem as accepted by international community as Israeli’s capital. But i would like to see the two city connected in different ways not building of separation walls that exist now, i dont want to see high wall separate between Al-Quds and Jerusalem. I would like to see open access, free movement, and both community can share Jerusalem not divide it.(P008/R04/NMT)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)