Israelis cannot live in the West Bank and most Palestinians cannot live in central Jerusalem. As a result, Israelis and Palestinians who want to share a home in Jerusalem only have one option: they must move to Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood that is technically considered part of Jerusalem, but which lies outside the wall Israelis constructed to separate the greater part of the city from the Palestinian side of the West Bank.

The residents of Kufr Aqab pay taxes to the Israeli government but, because the region lies outside the bounds of the wall, Israeli officials do not respond to many of the needs of the community, including those pertaining to security. Residents say they live in a “vacuum,” a ghetto that does not receive the same rights extended to the citizens living on either side of them.

Increasing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians are moving into Kufr Aqab. They are relinquishing daily life in their homelands to reside in a middle ground that is neither comfortable nor protected, but which enables them to share their lives with one another. These brave people from both sides of the wall are choosing togetherness over isolation. Are they victims of oppression—societal outcasts forced to leave their homes as a result of their associations with the other? Or are they social innovators who, intentionally or accidentally, could pave the way toward a citizen-led peace process?

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