He who has witnessed with us Jerusalem in the last three Fridays of the holy month of Ramadan can perceive the extent of Israeli hysteria towards the city, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinians in general.
After 50 years of occupation and 50 years of settlement and Judaicisation, Jerusalem is still Palestinian, Arab and Islamic, through hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who flocked to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Like Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands lofty, visited by Palestinian Christians and Muslims whenever they can.
Although Gaza's inhabitants and most of the West Bank’s men and youth under 40 years old (this constitutes 90 percent of men and youths) were prevented from reaching Jerusalem, the spaces of Al-Aqsa were brimful with hundreds of thousands of worshippers.
Even thousands of the youth who were denied access to Jerusalem succeeded in breaking through barriers and climbing walls in order to reach Jerusalem and some of them suffered injuries and fractures when they were jumping the Separation Wall constructed by Israel.
Hundreds of male and female volunteers and paramedics of Palestinian civil society filled the streets of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and were deployed near the barriers leading to the city to support patients and those who were tired from the travel and the obstacles. All these people came in order to present new evidence of Palestinian society’s vitality and solidarity.
I wonder what the armed-to-the-teeth Israeli soldiers think when they see the persistence of a very old man or a woman worn out by disease walking with difficulty to reach, despite all hardships, Al-Aqsa and praying inside it.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who visited Jerusalem every Friday in Ramadan, ignored and are ignoring these soldiers as if they were shadows with no effect.
Perhaps the expressions of astonishment and dazzlement drawn on the faces of the children and youngsters seeing Jerusalem for the first time were among the most beautiful scenes one can ever see while one is watching Jerusalem recovering its breath amid throngs of human beings crossing its streets.
Like the old town in Hebron, Old Jerusalem is wrestling with its occupation and its settlers with every yell of the vendor in its streets, with every baby born in the houses of its narrow alleys, with every muezzin calling for prayer in its mosques, with every bell tolling in its churches, with every house built without a permit in its quarters and with every marriage contracted between the sons and daughters of its people.
Two years ago, I sneaked a visit to Jaffa one Friday in Ramadan and was astonished from its Palestinian sons’ ability to preserve its Arab nature, customs, traditions and heritage. For a moment, when people were about to breakfast, it seemed that the whole city was totally Arab.
Every corner, every bend and every street are parts of ancient history and a mark of an unforgettable incident.
If the Israeli occupiers comprehended history well, they would have realised that their occupation of Jerusalem is going to end, for many invaders before them failed to impose their character on it.
They occupied, abused, killed and settled, then went away and Jerusalem survived and its people survived.
For Jerusalem, alive with resistance, will survive while its occupiers will perish.
The writer is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative.