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Al Quds
Artist: Mohammed Melehi (Morocco)
Dimensions: 20” x 30”

This poster features a dazzling, modernistic composition of architectural and religious symbols that hint at the complex history of the ancient city of Jerusalem, site of innumerable battles, miracles, invasions, and occupations dating back thousands of years.

The Arabic text, printed in red across the top of the poster says: “Palestine: A Homeland Denied.” This was the theme of the contest for which this poster was created. In large white type in the center of the poster is the name for Jerusalem in Arabic: Al Quds (Arabic: sacredness or shrine).

The Dome of the Rock mosque, the third most holy site in Islam, is denoted by the dashed outline of a semicircle in the lower center of the image. The city itself is represented by the two differently crenellated walls, quoting separate eras in its often-turbulent history. The bright arc around the edge of the moon represents the Islamic crescent. In the original poster, the entire outline of the moon is visible as well, signifying that Islam is part of the city’s history, not its entirety.


Bright diagonal beams of color — linear rainbows — stream down into the city, representing the city’s unique status in the religious and cultural history of the region and also of the world.

Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan until it was captured and annexed by Israel in the Six Day War in 1967. Israel considers Jerusalem to be its eternal capital. Palestinians consider East Jerusalem, the Arab sector, as their ancient and future capital. No country in the world, including the U.S., recognizes Israel’s annexation of the city.

Questions for A New Democratic Discussion

1) Control of Jerusalem and access to religious sites sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians remain two of the most contentious elements in the search for Middle East peace. In the early 1900's the League of Nations called for Jerusalem to be made an “international city.” What would that entail? Why has Jerusalem not yet been organized as an international city?

2) Only three countries officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: Israel, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. It is understandable that Israel would be on record as recognizing its own decision on Jerusalem. Why did the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador, two small countries in Central America, choose to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Why are they alone in that position?

3) The U.S. Congress passed The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which was designed to force the U.S. government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999. Each administration since then has invoked waivers to postpone enactment. Why do U.S. presidents, Republican and Democrat, who regularly proclaim their support for Israel, resist enacting the particulars of this legislation?

4) What does the current “road map” say about Jerusalem?

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