The foreign Arab conquerors excluded Jews from the Old City. The ottoman Turks allowed the Jews to pray at the kotel. From the first Turkish census records and more recent ones all show there have been more Jews in Jerusalem than any other people from then to now. Again, the 'reason the Jews did not bother with the area' as you accuse was due to fact the Arabs exluded the Hews from entering and did not permit them to live there ...
Clashes between IDF and protesters in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem (Reuters)
from the article: Palestinian official: Israel deliberately sparking fire in Jerusalem