P for Palestine: Before the occupation

Amira Noshokaty , Tuesday 11 May 2021

As the world watches yet another eviction of Palestinians from their homes for Israeli settlers, Ahram Online shares photos of Jerusalem before the occupation, circa 1925


At the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, Israel put up barriers outside Damascus Gate to prevent Palestinians from breaking their fast on the steps where thousands traditionally gather after the sunset prayer. However, it later removed the barriers.

In addition to ongoing acts of violence committed by both Israeli settlers and security forces against the Palestinians, which has resulted in the injury of hundreds, Israel plans to evict Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

Ahram Online is taking this occasion to share rare photos of the city from before the formation of the state of Israel.

These photos of Jerusalem were taken around 1925 by renowned photographers Lehnert and Landrock, who first started their photography business in 1924. They were among the very few sources of visual documentation in the Middle East during this period, taking photos all over Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Palestine. These photos remain among the valuable sources of intangible heritage today.

All copyright of the following photos are reserved to Lenhert & Landrock- Dr. E. Lambelet.

The collection includes the historic icons of Jerusalem:

The Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is set on a hill in Jerusalem, holding religious sites including the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This site is sacred in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, for it is believed to be where Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice to God.

It is also considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, for it is where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Christians also consider the site significant to their faith: from the church of Nativity where Jesus was born, to the site of his crucifixion, and the location of the tomb of the Virgin Mary.

Dome of the Rock

In 691 AD, the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, was built on the Temple Mount by Caliph Abd al-Malik. It is the oldest surviving Islamic building and was constructed at the very site where Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

The Western Wall is a surviving section of the wall of the second Jewish Temple. It is located on the western side of the Temple Mount and is sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall because many Jews pray and weep at the site of the destroyed temple.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built in 335 AD, is the site where Jesus is said to have been crucified and where his resurrection took place.

Jerusalem, city wall

El aqsa mosque, membar of Burhan el din

Tomb of prophet Zackary

Jerusalem old town

House of rich man, Jerusalem

Tomb of virgin Mary

Old town near Damascus gate, Jerusalem

Woman of ramalla in her traditional attire

Jerusalem has consistently been one of the key focal points of the 70-year Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem after the 1967 war, and had captured West Jerusalem 19 years earlier during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state, and had boycotted then-US President Donald Trump when he declared that the US recognises the entirety of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

During his four-year term, Trump said Jerusalem would remain Israel’s “undivided capital” and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This was an unprecedented development in the history of the conflict. Israeli settlers regularly storm Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem, while strict limitations are imposed by Israeli security forces on Palestinians who wish to enter it.

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