Received from
tkhashram@yahoo.com
Tony Khashram

Christians in the Old City Of Jerusalem
(Inside the Walls)

There are some 38,500 people living in the Old City today.

Most of the Jewish population growth has been in the Muslim Quarter.

Actual ownership - Out of the 879 dunams of land in the Old City, 52% by Moslem (24% is owned by the Islamic Wakf, 28% by Muslims) 29% by Christians and the remaining 19% by Jews.

The Old City is growing more religious in its character, the number of holy places has grown from the 30 cited in a 1949 United Nations list to 328 in 2000.

Among the Jewish population, 70% are Haredi, 25% are Orthodox. Only 5% are secular, compared to 40% among the Jews who returned to the Old City after 1967. The Jewish population has risen from zero in 1967 to 2,235 in 1983, 2,802 in 1995, and 3,800 today even 4,500.

The Old City's population has grown by 40% since 1967, with the highest absolute growth in the Muslim community. The Muslim population remained constant from 1967 to 1983, but then jumped from 16,760 in 1983 to 22,814 in 1995.

The Christian population dropped from 6,994 in 1967 to 6,483 in 1983. In 1995, there were 6,570 Christians in the Old City and the numbers have dropped since then. Nowadays less than 5500. Because of Muslim population growth and the return of Jews, the percentage of Christians living in the Old City dropped from 29.5% in 1967 to 20.3% in 1995 and now much less.

People are building without licenses because construction laws are very restrictive. They are adding rooms in basements and courtyards so they can't be seen from the street. There is little supervision of illegal construction in the Muslim and Jewish quarters.

The Old City of Jerusalem suffers from overcrowding, with an average of 73 people per dunam.

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Christian interests should be part of the debate over the Old City's future; instead their issues are seen as peripheral, and the Old City is viewed purely within in the context of Jewish and Muslim interests.

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