Life is stifling amid disputes in the holy city of Jerusalem

Life is stifling amid disputes in the holy city of Jerusalem 0

Beit Hanina, Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The world still knows Jerusalem as a holy land with many sacred attractions such as the Old City, the Golden Dome church, the Wailing Wall or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

`We all believe that there is something extremely sacred in the city, but everything is so difficult,` said Tomer Aser, 35 years old, living in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem.

For the people of Jerusalem, stress is something they have to learn to live with.

With US President Donald Trump declaring that he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the embassy here, the city now faces the risk of the most serious outbreak of conflict in many years.


Life is stifling amid disputes in the holy city of Jerusalem

Israeli security forces carry guns on a Light Rail train in Jerusalem.

On the morning of December 9, on the famous Light Rail train of Jerusalem, reporter David M. Halbfinger of the New York Times clearly felt the atmosphere of insecurity covering the city.

The Red Line begins in West Jerusalem, on Mount Herzl, where the Israeli national cemetery is located, and runs through the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina before ending in the bustling Pisgat Ze’ev district, one of the

This railway is not used as much by Arabs as by Jews.

In the morning, Jewish believers took the opportunity to pray on the train.

`No one wants to hate each other,` said Jane Aharon, a real estate manager from Seattle, USA, who moved to Israel in 2003 and to Jerusalem in 2009.

The train continued along Jaffa Road, passing the Mahane Yehuda market, which every Friday morning was bustling with people trying to buy dates, olives, fresh fish and pomegranate seeds.

Shlomo Fitusi, a 69-year-old welder, slowly weaved through the crowd on his bicycle with kosher wine dangling from the handlebars.

Fitusi is a member of Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic sect.

`There’s nothing to do abroad,` Fitusi said.

Although pride is still present among most Jerusalemites, complaints are also increasing.

The train arrives at Damascus Gate station.

Rajbi said that his community wanted to buy the houses to turn into kindergartens, but the new Jewish residents refused to sell.

Inside the Old City, the Arab market is as vibrant and noisy as the Jewish market.

Nabil al-Hejerasi, 65, said the clerics told him `to be patient, not to worry about what others say. The truth will come one day.`

`Everyone loves their homeland,` Hejerasi said, adding that he could not imagine dying and being buried elsewhere.

However, Hejerasi said returning was not easy for him.

At a corner of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City, the noise grew louder and louder.

Suddenly a commotion happened.

Life is stifling amid disputes in the holy city of Jerusalem

Israeli border guards deal with a disturbance in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Back on the train, Rina Pure, who was born and raised in Acre, a port city in northwestern Israel, said she bought an apartment in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood a few years ago.

According to Muhammad Ziada, a 39-year-old taxi driver, religion is a big issue in Jerusalem.

Ziada drove past an empty house that he said was owned by his family, but Israeli authorities did not allow him access to the house.

`There will never be peace here,` Ziada said, but he did not blame anyone.

Vu Hoang

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