JERUSALEM DISPOSSESSED

During our documentary work in and around Jerusalem, we have been increasingly exposed to the dark side of the City of Light. There, hundreds of thousands of people are living in shadow, with identity defined by forces they cannot control, unwanted in their own homes, afraid of being expelled while they are just asking to live peacefully in their city.

Above all we want to discuss humanity, but the sad thing is that in Jerusalem one's value as a human being is determined by ethnic group and religion. Together with its bulldozers, Israel is trying to smash the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem to dust. Divide and rule. Conquer and annex.

If Jerusalem is to remain the symbol of peace and tolerance it cannot be a ghetto for anyone or owned by any particular group. In the same year that Israel celebrates 40 years of the so-called "unity" of Jerusalem, the city has been divided by force, discrimination and injustice. In the "holy city" of 2007, it seems that the only god is "security" and real estate. Israeli policy is drawing a twisting path of a wall that more than anything ensures more conflict, suffering and despair.

The future of Israel cannot be built by blocking the potential of the other. Any negotiation taking place while facts and borders are aggressively being determined according to one side's interests, is just an illusion. Without real freedom and respect of the other's right to live in dignity, there is no basis for political negotiation.

ActiveStills, October 2007

Anne Paq, Keren Manor, Nir Landau, Oren Ziv, Tess Scheflan, Yotam Ronen. Activestills.org

This exhibition is mounted by ActiveStills, an independent collective of photographers who believe in photography's power to create change through awareness, and ICAHD: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions' Action Advocacy Project. Funding by Irish Aid, The Austrian Development Agency and The Netherlands Representative Office is gratefully acknowledged, as is generous permission to use the writings of Mahmoud Darwish and Muna Hamzeh by those two Palestinian poets.