For seven decades Israel has been engaged in ethnic cleansing, threaten the City of Jerusalem with losing its heritage forever.
“If you pay attention you will see: the tour guides tell their groups not to buy from the Arabs. So there is no business.”
— A shopkeeper in the Old City of Jerusalem
It is 2:30 pm on a weekday in Jerusalem’s Old City, and one would expect the stores and restaurants to be open and busy. Standing near one of the first stations along the Via Dolorosa, the final path Jesus took as he carried his cross to his own crucifixion, I was looking around me and Abu-Shkri restaurant was closing, as were some of the t-shirt and souvenir stores. I turned to one of the shopkeepers and asked him why they were closing so early. “No business,” he replied.
This seemed like an odd thing to say as the street was full of tourists. There were some tourists walking in groups and others walking in pairs or alone. “There are thousands of people here,” I said to him. “Yes, but they don’t stop to shop, not even to look or ask for prices.” He was right. Not a single tourist was stopping. “Look,” he continued after he noticed I continued to stand there, “if you pay attention you will see: the tour guides tell their groups not to buy from the Arabs. So there is no business.”