Notes on the Geography of Jerusalem: East Jerusalem
The contrast between (Palestinian) East and (Israeli) West Jerusalem is huge, most obviously in the comparatively helter-skelter layout of the East side, with its overwhelmed and chronically underfunded infrastructure.
The east slope of the Mount of Olives. The view here looks south from the Augusta Victoria hospital toward the Russian Ascension Church. The large concrete residential buildings shown here are characteristic of Palestinian cities from Nablus to Hebron. They reflect extremely high land values created largely by tight Israeli building controls on a growing population.
Looking north from the same vantage point and over the same characteristically grim concrete blocks. Street paving and services are poor. Unlike West Jerusalem, where apartments are planned in multi-block complexes, here the ground is occupied bit by bit, family by family.
The view here is over Abu Dis, often mentioned in the Israeli press as a possible site of a Palestinian capital, at least in part because the golden Dome of the Rock may be made out in the upper left distance.
The main junction in Abu Dis, where roads and bus lines converge in a commercial center grievously untended.
Up at the north end of East Jerusalem, just as one crosses into Palestinian-controlled Ramalla, there is a cluster of Palestinian ministries and various foreign organizations. The clutter of signs is symptomatic of both the chaos of Palestinian cities and of their corrupting dependence on foreign assistance.
A glimmer of what might be: one of the venerable olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemene.
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