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November 18, 2009
Worldfocus Radio: Jerusalem United or Divided?

In one of the world’s most contentious cities, there are two conflicting claims to sovereignty over holy places and residential neighborhoods. East and West Jerusalem are divided along ethnic and religious lines — in addition to the separation fence that Israel built to secure the city.

Palestinians claim the eastern sections of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state. While successive Israeli prime ministers have announced support for a two-state solution, there is ambivalence about how and when to alter the city’s political fabric.

Martin Savidge hosts Mustafa Barghouti and Gershon Baskin on this week’s Worldfocus Radio show “Jerusalem United or Divided?”

The radio show builds upon three Worldfocus signature videos about Israel — on hi-tech, divorce and settlements — and will focus on the following areas:

  • Geography of Jerusalem: East and West, Old City, Temple Mount and security barrier
  • Demographic Shift: secular flight, “Judaization,” and “united” capital city
  • Shared Capital: unilateral statehood, joint sovereignty and Palestinian government

Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Ben Piven


Mustafa Barghouti is the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative (al-Mubadara), also known as the “third way.” A Ramallah resident, he serves in the Palestinian parliament (PLC) and was the Minister of Information in the short-lived Palestinian unity government. He came in second (with 19%) to Mahmoud Abbas in the 2005 presidential elections. He also appeared on the Daily Show last month.

Gershon Baskin is co-chairman of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, a Jerusalem-based organization committed to the two-state solution. He specializes in the future of Jerusalem, strategic cooperation and water issues. He was also on Israeli PM Ehud Barak’s team of Jerusalem experts following the Camp David talks.

Host: Martin Savidge
Producers: Ben Piven and Lisa Biagiotti
Researcher: Mohammad al Kassim




HAPPY THANKSGIVING ! I give thanks to G-D ! for living in HOLY & WHOLLY JERUSALEM – I live in ARMON HANAZIV once called “NO MANS LAND” under the U.N.Hq once called “HILL of EVIL COUNSEL” between 2 villages JEBEL el MUKABA & SAWAHRA. We are NOT ” UNITED or DIVIDED ” We are INTEGRATING !!! Your guests positions are DISENGAGING & DISINTEGRATING. Just ask our arab bank tellers/supermarket check out clerks/ bus & taxi drivers/ nurses/dentists/pharmacists/ cardiologists/kids playing /mothers with infants in our clinics. Every morning I awken too prayers of ALLA hu AKBAR and walk to my YOUNG ISRAEL temple and see the ARAB shepherd grazing his herd of sheep & goats among rocky hill above us. SHALOM=SALLAM=WHOLE=COMPLETE=INTEGRATED


[…] In one of the world’s most contentious cities, there are two conflicting claims to sovereignty over holy places and residential neighborhoods. East and West Jerusalem are divided along ethnic and religious lines — in addition to the separation fence that Israel built to […] Read more at […]


I dislike labelling people. Arab-Jew etc. We are really the same – I know that it sounds simple, but what does it really matter who your neighbor is or what he believes? Love your neighbor as you would love yourself, the reat is all commentary


IF Worldfocus wanted a “good and fair” balance, they’d have on an articulate right wing advocate for every left wing one. That’ll be the day. The Messiah will come first! Maybe He’ll settle the issue :)


Dear Mike and Alan N: thanks for your feedback on our guest selection. We felt that having a progressive-minded individual from both sides allowed for a level of discussion that would not be possible if mainstream Fatah and Kadima folks were debating with each other.

Clearly, both Gershon and Mustafa are rather liberal-minded for their respective sides. It is true that we opted not to have either a right-of-center Israeli or Palestinian on the show.

Ultimately, while this may seem like a clear instance of journalistic bias, Jerusalem is likely one issue where the Obama administration could find itself closer to the Palestinian position than to the Israeli one. We were interested in hearing about tenable and viable solutions to an incredibly complex conflict over land and holy places.

We certainly always strive for balance on our Worldfocus radio shows. But we are also interested in having progressive exchanges of ideas. In places like Jerusalem, it would seem that a majority of activists on both sides throw much inflammatory rhetoric back and forth.

Please continue to let us know if you think we have picked a good balance of guests on Worldfocus radio.


Jerusalem Planning Over 5,000 New Arab Housing Units

by Gil Ronen

( The Jerusalem Municipality is plowing ahead with plans for construction of more than 5,000 housing units in Arab neighborhoods. These include the following:

* A master plan for the Tel Adasa neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, where 2,000 new housing units are planned.
* A master plan for the Arab a-Sawahara area for a new housing compound with 2,500 units that is currently being prepared for discussion at the local council and district council levels.
* A master plan for the Dir el-Amud and Al-Muntar areas in Beit Safafa in southeastern Jerusalem, currently in advanced planning stages.
* A construction plan for 172 housing units and public buildings at the Jabal Mukabar neighborhood, which has completed the mandatory waiting period and will soon come up for additional discussion and approval in the district council.

The municipality noted that it is also destroying illegal structures in the Arab sector. Three buildings were demolished Wednesday: a structure, 90 square meters in size, that was built on public land in Isawiya; a structure in Wadi Hilwah, also built on public land, sized 32 square meters; and three temporary structures in Silwan that served as pens for sheep and horses. All of the structures were razed after courts ordered them to be torn down.

Mayor Nir Barkat noted that the Jerusalem Municipality is acting to meet the demands of both Jewish and Arab residents for new housing on a basis of equality.


As usual, Martin your bias is showing.You have offered an unbalnced panel with a Palestinian and a leftist Israeli who is at odds with the opinions of the vast majority of Israelis.You always load the arguments, guest “experts” and panels against Israel and are a shameless propagandist for the Palestinian view. With so many posssible choices,why is it that you never offer a reasonable representative of the Israeli side? It is embarassing for you to pretend that you are offering a balanced and fair debate.


To me, Jerusalem is not holy. No city is holy. Only God is holy. Jerusalem is my Dublin. My Washington DC. My Moscow. My Paris. My Berlin. My national capital. Would the Irish let Dublin be divided between Arabs and Irish? Forget this “holy” business. Jerusalem is the CAPITAL CITY of the Jewish nation.


Jerusalem is the most holy city to the Jews. To the muslim it is the third. To the Christians it is holy as well. should Israel give a part to the vatican to establish a state. Hebron is more holy to the Jews then Jerusalem is to the muslims yet no one advocates letting Israel control those cities that sit in the heart of the west bank.


It is interesting and shows the journalist’s clear bias by only having opinions from a palestinian and a left wing israeli. These two individuals opinion do not show the full range of opinion s of the people in the city. For instance Gershon states that the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem is an occupation which is not the opinion of most israelis. Furthermore both guest speak of the lack of representation and services for palestinians in east jerusalem, but do not mention the fact that all these people have the right to vote in city wide elections despite the fact that they are not citizens of Israel (even though they were all offered it when the city was united). Despite this in every election since the city was united there has been virtually no arab participation. This is clear evidence that if Palestinian East Jerualemites wanted representation they could have it. Furthermore the Jewish population of Jerusalem is bitterly divided between secular and religious, if the palestinian Jeruselmites voted in the same percentages as Jews they could have over the last 42 years efectivley blocked new Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalems city limits which includes much more land then the city itself. They also could have through their representation in the city government recieved equal services to the jews living there. In reality the situation in Jerusalem that Barghouti refers to as aparate is actualy the creation of a lack of Palestinian participation in Jerusalem’s democatic process. However all of this has ben obscured in this radio program by not showing an equal balance of opinon and fact.


Israel should refuse to enter into any more negotiations until all Muslim states recognize the right of the Jewish STATE to exist in peace. Israel should give them one year to comply, and if not, begin total settlement of Judah and Samaria by opening it up to homesteading by American and other Jewish immigrants. The way the American West was opened to Irish and German immigrants on confiscated native “Indian” lands, the difference being that Judah and Samaria are ancient Jewish lands in the first place.


One does not move their furniture into someone elses house.


Israel should halt all settlements on Palestinian territory. The US Govt. can force them to do this by withholding the obscene amount of military aid money we give them.


Israel should not halt settlements until PLO & Hamas make some positive steps – perhaps to recognize Israel as a nation – which it is. Or to declare and stop reining bombs on Israel – it could be stopped if they wanted to.


If there is any negosation about Jerusalam .Isreal must free satelement the first then it will be easy to make any others compromes between the Palestiniens and Isreal.

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