Freedom of press is a valuable commodity in western societies. People want to know what is going on around them and want to have free access to information. Yet, when it comes to intelligence related issues, national and international intelligence agencies claim that a censorship of information is vital for the sake of state security.
There are different narratives about the events during the years 1947-49, but according to the Israeli narrative, the 1948/49 Arab-Israeli War (in Israel called War of Independence) was not initiated or sought by Israel. As the British were about to withdraw from Palestine, the Jewish population of Palestine declared an independent Jewish state on May 14th 1948, one day before the British mandate ended. Israel had agreed upon the suggestion of the UN in 1947 to partition Palestine and give equal parts to the Jews and to the Arabs. Yet, the Arab leaders had rejected the plan to divide the land and responded with heavy violence and the declaration of a holy war against the Jews.
The Green Line is an expression that is used often in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and much importance is attributed to it. There is the international demand, that Israel should withdraw from any territories that are located beyond this line and the claim that Israeli presence in those territories is an obstacle for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
„If we wish to live and to bequeath life to our offspring, if we believe that we are to pave the way to the future, then we must first of all not forget.“
Prof. Ben Zion Dinur, Yad Vashem, 1956
Last week we had the honor to get to know George – a very open, warm-hearted and friendly man. George met us at the entrance to the Armenian quarter of the Old City. He had been living most of his life in Jerusalem and welcomed us to his quarter. I have never been there consciously before and only had walked through the area a few times – therefore I was curious to hear about its history.
We learned that since the 4th century A.D. Armenians have been living in Jerusalem, which I find quite remarkable. In the beginning, Christian monks from Armenia had settled in Jerusalem after their country had adopted Christianity as national religion, and until today their religion is considered as a branch of Christianity.
The most impressive building, which forms the heart of the Armenian quarter, is the Cathedral of St. James, and was built in the 12th century. George explained to us that James, the brother of Jesus, is believed to be buried under the main altar of this church.