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October 19
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Journalists of France 24 prepared an article about the Old City of Jerusalem and the life of ordinary people in each of its quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian.

 

"One might think it would be a bit easier in the Armenian Quarter. After all, they’re not Palestinians and they’re not directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But they are residents of a city that Jews consider holy and want to take back, and this means, for some at least, that the Armenians are in the way.

Annie Dikbikian’s family fled the Armenian genocide and she was born and raised in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. “It used to be comfortable here,” she says. “It has changed too much.”

The Armenians, who are Orthodox Christians, are being squeezed out of the Old City. “We are afraid of the Arabs and the Jews,” she says.

Old City life is particularly hard on the kids who live there. “They have no space, nowhere to go,” Dikbikian says. “I have a son who doesn’t like to go out much because of the situation.”

And with good reason. One day Dikbikian pushed the strapping 16-year-old out of the house because she thought he needed some fresh air. She wound up regretting it. Not long after he left the house, a neighbour from the Jewish Quarter flew a metal plane into his head, leaving a large gash that needed to be stitched up.

It’s uncomfortable for her in the Old City, too. Her style of dress would be unremarkable in most parts of the world, but it doesn’t conform to the conservative standards of either the Jews or the Arabs. “They look at you like you’re an alien,” she says. And that’s the soft side of things. During the Easter holidays, when the Armenians parade through the Old City with a large wooden cross, the Jews come and spit on it, she says.

“They’re closing [in] so much,” Dikbikian says of the Jewish settlers who are buying up houses in the Old City. “Every day they’re telling you to get out of here. If I had the money and the power I would definitely leave," the article reads.

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