As Jerusalem prepares for the last days of Ramadan, its Palestinian inhabitants are subjected to another day of violence. The images of tear gas canisters hurled at worshippers as they congregate to pray and break the fast together on the Holy esplanade of Al Aqsa Mosque, the videos with the cries of Palestinian women and men of all ages kicked and punched and tear-gassed and thrown to the ground in the streets of Jerusalem are hard to swallow. At a time that is sacred for all Muslims, Israel is crushing the most fundamental religious freedom, that of the gathering for prayer.
Of all the images, striking is those of fearless Palestinian youth that are trying to protect the ever-shrinking Palestinian space that is left to them, on the one hand, and Israeli youths that are congregating in Jerusalem to celebrate ‘Jerusalem Day’ – the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem – on the other. The acrimony and tension among the two groups as they get closer in the streets of Jerusalem are the “fruits” of Israel’s apartheid. What future do we want them to represent? A future of further displacement, dispossession, and dehumanization? Or one where justice, respect for human rights, solidarity, and accountability is respected?
Appeals for solidarity and calls for restraint and return to calm are rising globally. Yet, none of them appears strong enough to stop the Israeli occupation machinery once again.
This Eid should bring all, not only Muslims, to reflect on what remains of humanity if even now, at this critical moment, the world cannot stand up to the side of the aggressed. The world will not be a more peaceful place after this Ramadan if the only message that can be delivered to all worshippers worldwide right now is that violence can go unpunished and discrimination flourish.