(Ha'aretz, Jonathan Lis, 5/17/06): Since 1967, almost no building permits have been issued for the eastern part of the capital.
: A study by Justus Reid Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs notes that "the average number of permits issued to Arabs annually during the past five years is 183 ...." In other words, 915 permits were issued between 1997 and 2001. Based a graph by the same source, about 3000 permits were issued between 1976 and 2001 ("Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon," 2003, pg. 94. Graph on pg. 158. Figures based on data supplied by Charles Kohn, the Jerusalem Municipality's Principal City Planner). In addition, "the percentage of applications that result in the issuance of a building permit is virtually identical in Arab and Jewish neighborhoods" (Weiner, pg. 94, citing data from Menachem Helman, head of the Jerusalem Municipality's GIS Center). Furthermore, the city has "authorize[d] the issuance of in excess of 33,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector," suggesting that the number of permits issued to the Arab sector could be much higher if only more individuals from that sector would apply for permits (Weiner, pg. 93).
(New York Times, Serge Schmemann, 8/26/02): In 1757, to put an end to the endless squabbling [regarding holy sites in Jerusalem], Turks, then Jerusalem’s rulers, proclaimed a status quo for all holy sites in the city, which was confirmed in 1852 and has been enforced by all succeeding conquerors–including, since 1967, Israel.
: Between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan controlled the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, there was, in fact, gross violation of the “status quo” with regard to Jewish holy places. Fifty-eight synagogues, the oldest built in 1267, were destroyed or desecrated. Many of the tombstones in the ancient Mount of Olives cemetery were ripped out and used as building material in Jordanian military facilities. The Tomb of Simon the Just was used as a stable.
Although the Jordanians had signed an agreement (Article 8 of the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian Armistice Agreement) specifically guaranteeing access for Jews to the Western Wall, Jews were prohibited for 19 years from going there, the first time since the Roman conquest in the first century that Jews were subject to such a restriction.
In addition, Christians and Muslims resident in Israel were prevented from visiting their holy sites. While these were open to visitors from outside Israel between 1948 and 1967, the thousands of Muslims and Christians in Israel could not, for example, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque.
(New York Times, Deborah Sontag, 6/2/01): Some [Palestinian] youths stoned an unmanned Israeli police station and attacked a house in the Muslim compound of the Old City owned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A Jewish tourist fired tear gas at a group of Palestinians, sending them to the hospital.
But by the middle of the evening, that had been the extent of the troubles. . . .
: These incidents were not the extent of the troubles by the middle of the evening. As the AP reports, “Palestinians also smashed security cameras at the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and looted and set ablaze a Jewish-owned shop, police said. No one was injured. At another shop, a Jewish tourist sprayed tear gas at would-be looters, witnesses said” (Nicole Winfield, June 2).