The unfolding of events in Jerusalem seemed to occur pretty quickly for those of us watching them on television/computer/phone screens. Two Israeli police were killed. Three Palestinian men were killed. The Friday prayers were canceled for the first time since 1969. Security measures, in the form of metal detectors and cameras, media seemed to focus their lens closely on Jerusalem, ignoring – or at least, for the most part – not mentioning the greater context these events took place in. It wasn’t an instance. It was – is – a result of the occupation.
The gates to Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock compound remained closed for about two weeks, and those who want to pray would have to go through the humiliating measures. The protests resumed for two weeks. Hospitals were raided in order to arrest the injured and capture the dead. Yes, the dead. Bodies had to be smuggled out of the hospital to be buried – quick mourning.
Then, after about two weeks, I was watching the very first moments of the security measures being taken down and the gates finally opening, welcoming the people of Jerusalem and all around. The mosques – even the ones in Al-Bireh/Ramallah – began performing takbeerat. My eyes filled with tears watching my fellow brothers and sisters in Jerusalem celebrate this victory. Yes, it was a victory.
My mind drifted to far places, as it often does. It drifted to a good place. That morning was one of them. I imagined the first few moments of a Palestine that is rid of the heinous occupation. I don’t know what will happen before or even after this, but that morning, I received a taste of it. I think many Palestinians did, and that is all thanks to our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.
My friend asked a taxi driver on our way home from an adventure in Sebastia, “Do you have hope?”
He said, “If we didn’t have hope, would what happened in Jerusalem have happened?”
Image credit: Maannews.com