A satisfying celebration of Jerusalem

Jerusalem Interrupted: Modernity and Colonial Transformation, 1917-present, edited by Lena Jayyusi, Olive Branch Press (2015)

With the Palestinian population of Jerusalem increasingly pushed aside by Israeli policies and practices – ranging from making family life unlivable to supporting Jewish settlement expansion and ethnic violence – it is ever more important to emphasize the diversity of this magnificent city.

For centuries, Jerusalem has been home to a medley of different peoples, languages and faiths, existing alongside and interacting with one another in relative harmony. Whether Arabic or Aramaic has been the dominant tongue, or Islam, Judaism, Christianity or paganism the majority religion, the city has always been a patchwork; monoculture uniformity – as modern Israeli governments have sought to impose – is anathema to its very soul.

Jerusalem Interrupted is very much a celebration and assertion of this fact. A satisfyingly substantial tome of 500 large-format pages, it charts many of the trends and changes which have marked the city’s history from the late Ottoman period at the start of the 20th century, through the British Mandate occupation from the end of the First World War until the Nakba (the forced expulsion of Palestinians) of 1948 and into the eras of Jordanian and Israeli rule.

Read more on the electronic intifada website