Tuesday, 14 June 2011

East Jerusalem: Six Voices

I'm pleased to share B'Tselem's latest project with you, launched last week.

"East Jerusalem: Six Voices" is the result of an innovative collaboration between B'Tselem and The Guardian newspaper, in which five Palestinians and two Israelis created personal video diaries about the human rights' reality in East Jerusalem. Click here to watch "East Jerusalem: Six Voices."

What today we call East Jerusalem is an area of 27 square miles, most of which was part of the West Bank before 1967. Israel illegally annexed this whole area to Jerusalem's municipal borders and built twelve large settlements (or neighborhoods as they are called in the Israeli parlance). In addition, over the years, Israelis have taken over houses in dozens of spots in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods (you can read much more about the complex human rights reality in East Jerusalem here).

While East Jerusalem is recognized as crucial to any resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, too often the diplomatic conversation ignores the daily reality of the people living here. News that settlers have taken over a building in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City may be broadcast throughout the world – but who knows about the absurd reality that this has created for the Qirresh family? Activists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood have focused international attention on the eviction of families there – but how does these evictions look through the eyes of 12-year-old Muna and Muhammad al-Qurd? And what motivated Sara Benninga to take a lead role among Israeli activists advocating for their cause?

As part of B'Tselem's work to promote human rights in the Occupied Territories, we aim to give faces and voices to what otherwise may remain abstract violations. People living in East Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip should be heard, not only as victims of human rights abuses but also as human beings navigating a complex reality. The partnership with the leading British daily The Guardian ensures that these personal stories engage as wide an audience as possible.
I invite you to share these video diaries with your friends and colleagues, helping to draw attention to the concrete reality in East Jerusalem, too often obscured by lofty symbolism.


Jessica Montell
Executive Director

The Guardian & B'Tselem