It was my honor to show Knesset members and activists from the Meretz party around the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan last Friday.
Although the goal of the day was to educate the politicians, the day was quite surprising for me as well. I learned that even though these politicians are very knowledgeable about what is happening in East Jerusalem and the threats that the situation here presents to a future 2-state solution, their knowledge comes from studies, reports, and being briefed on the issues. When they arrived in Silwan, it became apparent that they had not truly realized the extent and depth of the gains made by the settlers and of the crisis that this is creating. In short, they were shocked at what they saw. Perhaps you need to see with your own eyes before you can truly understand the critical juncture we are at in East Jerusalem, and how important it is that the Israeli government not follow through on its current plan to build new parks which will incorporate the existing settlements into one Jewish-dominated area (see our explanation of the current government plan).
So what can we do? First, I hope that more people can come to East Jerusalem and see for themselves. And for those that can’t, I hope that this blog will help to bring the world of East Jerusalem into sharper focus for the eyes of the world.