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Insiders Testimony

 Thursday 15 November 2007, 07:49 PM

Under the title of  "Facts and Suffering in Al-Quds: Insiders Testimony," Al Quds International Form witnessed two afternoon sessions, where the Palestinian inhabitants provided their account of what is going on ground.

The two sessions tackled several issues that ranged from the alleged temple and NGOs operating within Al Quds to the Natural resources of the city.

Ekrima Sabri, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, stressed that Arabs have been living in Palestine from 7,000 years and they innately belong to this land. He said this in response to the claims of some Israeli MPs and rabbis who claimed that Jews were there 2,000 years ago.

He underlined the continuous efforts to Judaize Al Quds and the wiping out of the face of the Christian and Islamic civilization off the city.

According to Sabri, the annexation of settlements to Al Quds should be viewed in the light of the attempts to isolate Al Quds from its Palestinian surrounding.

Etedal El Ash'hab, the vice-director of the educational body in Al Quds maintained that  Israel aims at changing the demographic composition of the city by settling Jews in the city.

Al Quds residents suffer from the oppressive measures that aim at isolating them and ruining their life. Israel deals with Arabs of Al Quds as people who have right to stay but not as citizens which endangers the Arab presence in the city.

"The Israeli government infringes on the right of Al Quds residents to education by applying conflicting educational policies," she added.

Haj Ahmed Abu Diab, ex-manager of Al-Quds Electricity Company, explained
the saga of this Arab company which was hampered by the Israeli government—under the auspices of Olmert, the Mayor of Jerusalem at that time—leading to its eventual closure.

Dr.Raouf abou Jaber, the in charge of the Orthodox Church in Jordan and Palestine, brought up the oppression his Church is facing. The Greek elements are supported by the Israeli government to pluck out that Arab and Palestinian hue off the Orthodox Church.

Shiekh Mohammed Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Al Quds, highlighted the efforts of Palestinian in protecting the city. However, he complained that "money is collected everywhere as donations for Al Quds, but know we nothing about it; we don’t receive the money"

The Arab Institution for Protecting the Environment accused the Israeli government of exploiting the natural resources of the city. It maintained that agricultural land were confiscated and later used to build settlements, military centers and separation wall on them.

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