EVEN as the Americans strive to jump-start fresh talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli government has been using the hiatus to intensify the refashioning of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as their future capital. This week the city's Israeli mayor, Nir Barkat, unveiled his latest plan to turn Palestinian districts into Jewish biblical heritage parks. Fearing that their half of the city is being cast in an increasingly Israeli mould, Palestinian stone-throwers clashed with Israeli forces on the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, which Muslims venerate for its al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine, and which Jews revere as the site of the biblical Temple. While George Mitchell, Barack Obama's envoy, is yet again bidding to open "proximity talks" between the two sides, the Palestinians have been literally losing ground.
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