Seeing a newspaper clipping from the era of the Six Day War showing the dumping of rubbish and human waste next to the Western wall in recaptured Jerusalem prompted Seth Frantzman to reflect that there never was co-existence with Jews in most of the Middle East (or Europe). If they accepted second class status, minorities were allowed to exist, not co-exist.
Prior to 1967 part of the western wall was used as
a toilet by local Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Old City. One wonders,
since we hear from groups that the Wall is also an Islamic holy site
called “al-Buraq” why would one build a toilet at it?
We always hear these stories about “coexistence” in Ottoman Palestine before the arrival of Zionists in the 19th century.
But what was this coexistence? Toilets next to holy sites, purposely placed there because
the residents knew it was holy to someone else. Let’s see, also
slaughterhouses and other stench next to the Jewish quarter. Part of the
“coexistence” of putting latrines and animal blood next to the religion
you “coexist” with?
1948 what was done with Jewish grave stones on the Mount of Olives
under Jordanian administration? They were used to pave the walkways to
toilets for soldiers. A continuation of the concept of literally
crapping on the holy things of others.
The reality of
“coexistence” in the Middle East is that there was no real coexistence
in most places. There was second and third class status for minorities,
whichever those minorities happened to be. If they accepted that status
then they were allowed to “exist” not truly coexistence, except on rare
That means when you “coexist” with people you
constantly harass them through dominance; you build religious buildings
purposely next to the holy sites of others, or you dump trash and animal
parts and human waste next to the houses of worship and holy sites of
Even today for instance in the village of Artas in the
West Bank the residents just “happen” to dump trash at the entrance to a
Catholic Monastery. Surely it’s a coincidence.
was coexistence in most of the Middle East or Europe. It is one of the
greatest lies. There was sometimes mutual existence; side by side, even
times when minorities did well; but never was there truly any sense of
equality and real respect and deference to others.
course we can see the region suffering under even greater intolerance
precisely because of the past low level symbolic intolerance.