Jerusalem is a massive tourist attraction that around 4 million tourists visited annually in recent years. Most tourists arrive via Israeli tourist agencies which send them to stay in Israeli hotels, eat in Israeli restaurants and shop in Israeli markets. They are not taken to visit the eastern side of Jerusalem and hardly ever meet Palestinians. International booking agencies usually follow Israeli tourism propaganda and feature Israeli businesses and tours almost exclusively.
This hits Palestinians both politically and economically. The Palestinian narrative remains absent in the mainstream touristic experience. Tourists don’t see the occupation, nor do they learn about it. They are not exposed to the Israeli policies of displacement that target Palestinians. Tourists do not spend money at Palestinian businesses, supporting - often unawarely - Israeli plans to suffocate the Palestinian economy in the city and displace as many Palestinians from it as possible.
Titled Wujood, Arabic for “existence” and “presence,” this book puts the Palestinian existence in Jerusalem back on the map. It is our invitation to you to visit a Jerusalem that you might not know.
In the first chapter, “Living in Jerusalem,” you’ll find all the practical information you need during your stay in Jerusalem. It includes information about hotels, restaurants, markets and shopping areas, as well as services such as transportation, health, Arabic courses and more.
In the second chapter, “The Jerusalem Story,” you’ll find information about the political context which Palestinians in Jerusalem live in. It is the story of more than a century of colonization which is still threatening to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Jerusalem.
In the third chapter, “The People of Jerusalem,” Wujood introduces you to Jerusalem’s communities. You can read about the history of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods and villages, as well as their political reality, community organizations and grassroots initiatives. In addition, you’ll find maps of these areas and information about the sites we recommend you visit there.
In the last chapter, “Around Palestine,” you’ll find information about other Palestinian cities, from Akka (Acre) in the north to the Naqab (Negev) Desert in the south, from Jericho in the east to Jaffa in the west. Just like in Jerusalem, here too you will find the forced absence of Palestinian history, culture and economy.
Wujood provides the part of the story the occupation authorities is trying hard to hide. But it is not merely the story of an aggressive and systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It is also the story of an entire community that’s been left out of the picture but has a lot to offer its visitors - centuries of history and heritage, beautiful nature, delicious food, generous families, inspiring grassroots initiatives and more. Today, the city’s different parts are fragmented by walls and administrative boundaries. Wujood aims to reunite these parts to form the Jerusalem we historically know.
Whether you’re a Palestinian or a visitor, Wujood will help you discover a Jerusalem you might not otherwise know. It’s more than just a guidebook, it’s for anyone who wants to know the city’s story.