Devout Jews, Muslims Mull Dividing Holy Jerusalem

November 24, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Middle East Online

From opposite sides of the wall that once divided Jerusalem, Israeli Shlomo Yirmiyahu and Palestinian Yakoob Arrajabi watched in 1967 as Israeli army seized the Arab east of the city.

Now, as their leaders prepare for talks about peace, the two devoutly religious men are trying to imagine the future of their home town, which stands at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is treasured as holy by both.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants East Jerusalem back as the capital of a future state that is free from Israeli occupation, but splitting the city is a highly divisive issue for both sides. As a Palestinian who yearns for independence, Arrajabi has much to gain from a compromise.

"All Palestine is sacred to us and Jerusalem is the most precious," said the bearded 48-year-old. "But the desire of man is one thing and reality is another."