Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Trumpcare Falls Before First Hurdle

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Westminster Attack, Abadi in Washington (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obamacare, Europe's Unholy Alliances, Martin McGuinness (part 2)

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Export bans hit Brazil amid tainted meat scandal

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Presidential election: French voters in turmoil

Read more

#TECH 24

Inside Netflix's war room

Read more

FOCUS

French Catholic voters remain faithful to scandal-hit Fillon

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Growing ambitions: The forces driving India's economy

Read more

#THE 51%

The mistress hunters

Read more

FOCUS

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2009-12-04

Stumbling blocks to peace

Last week the Palestinian Authority rejected the ten-month moratorium in settlement building in the West Bank put in place by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. FRANCE 24 visits Gilo settlement, on the edge of Jerusalem.

Today's Focus guests are Annette Young, FRANCE 24 correspondent in Jerusalem, and Israel Medad, a spokesman for the Yesha Council, an organisation representing Israeli settlers.
 

Perched on a hill just south of Jerusalem, Gilo overlooks the Holy City.

But on the other side of this Jewish settlement, the view is one of Israel's controversial security barrier separating Jerusalem from the West Bank.

For Gilo residents such as Shalom, the separation barrier's presence only confirms that Gilo is an integral part of Jerusalem and Israel. There's no reason, he says, to have a debate about whether to build now or in the future.

"The city is growing to the south, the north and to the east. It's normal when a city grows that is expands in all directions," he says.

Gilo is located in Arab East Jerusalem, captured by Israel during the 1967 war.

Now an established community with tree-lined streets and shops, its 30,000 residents don't see themselves as settlers. For them, they are living in a Jerusalem neighbourhood and cannot understand the recent controversy to build an additional 900 new homes.

Jerusalem City Council member Moshe Bensoussan took FRANCE 24 to the site where he says construction will soon begin.

The sweeping views of the city for this local council member only proves to him that Gilo is part of Jerusalem. And for him, Jerusalem is part of Israel, end of story.

"You know we really don't have a choice, there's not enough space here," he told FRANCE 24. "Look over there, you can see the Knesset, the parliament. Well, this is Jerusalem. Jerusalem, this is the red line for both the government and even for the opposition."

Haim Erlich from the Israeli organisation, Ir Amim, which promotes Palestinian-Israeli co-existence in Jerusalem, strongly disagrees. For him, the building will happen on the other side of Gilo, not overlooking Jerusalem but the West Bank instead.

The move to expand Gilo is part of a wider plan to ensure Israeli expansion south and east of Jerusalem, he says. It's a highly political decision, says the activist, and means the end of the Palestinian dream to have Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. 

"The Israeli authorities are trying to make a reality that south of East Jerusalem is Israeli so it's not up for future discussion," he tells FRANCE 24.

In southern Gilo and surrounded by new construction lives Palestinian resident Um Ramy with her family.

Um Ramy rents an old Arab house. She doesn't dream of a Palestinian state; instead her only dream is being able to stay put.

"Originally, this was Arab land, connected to the town of Bet Jala .. and of course today, the Jews took it all." she tells FRANCE 24. "This is Arab land. We don't want to leave. Even if the land is sold, I want to stay, not leave. This is an Arab house isn't it?"

So while the Palestinians condemn the absence of a settlement freeze in Jerusalem, the Israelis continue to build ...

By Marc de Chalvron and Annette Young

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-03-24 French Presidential Elections 2017

French Catholic voters remain faithful to scandal-hit Fillon

French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon is a practicing Catholic. In a book which kicked off his presidential bid, he wrote an entire chapter about his faith....

Read more

2017-03-23 Asia-pacific

A day in the life of an Indian entrepreneur

India is the world's fastest-growing major economy. With an annual growth rate of 7%, an emerging middle class and a thriving startup scene, the country is on track to become a...

Read more

2017-03-22 Asia-pacific

Pakistan faces water crisis

To mark World Water Day we head to Pakistan. According to the UN, the country's water crisis is becoming the most pressing issue of our times. Pakistan is the fourth-largest...

Read more

2017-03-21 France

World Down Syndrome Day: The fight to raise awareness

Today's Focus marks the World Down Syndrome Day, an annual global event that helps raise awareness about the syndrome and what it means to lead a life with it. In France alone,...

Read more

2017-03-20 Middle East

Caught in the crossfire: The human cost of the battle for Mosul

It's been one month since the Iraqi government launched its operation to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State group. The government says more than 180,000 people have fled...

Read more