In the old city of Jerusalem

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.
שוטרי מגב חמושים ברובים, אלות ואזיקים


Because I viewed a video in which a police officer entered the mosque of Bab Al Rahma in his shoes, stepping on the prayer rugs, trampling Muslim values, and when people chide him that this is not done in a mosque, he says he will do whatever he pleases:

and because insolence has become commonplace on the part of Israeli ruling personnel towards Palestinians, and because I read in the paper that things in the Old City of Jerusalem are tense, I came.



In the human blend of this city – sanctified by all three monotheistic religions – among cross-bearing pilgrims who seem to be undergoing a beatific experience, and Muslims kneeling in prayer on their rugs, and Jews thundering in song accompanied by drums and horns as they lead a Bar Mitzva boy to the Western Wall – I was irked by the great number, the density of Israeli Border Policemen in their permanent and temporary posts and patrolling amidst the crowd, armed with weapons, clubs and shackles.

מתחם המסגד ליד שער הרחמים


In order to get to Bab Al Rahma I had to cross the Muslim Quarter, reach the Western Wall, cross the space in front of it and enter the Al Aqsa compound, crossing via occupied as well as unoccupied paths.

Unlike prayer sanctuaries of any religion where everyone is invited to enter, fear overcomes the public function, and whoever is not Muslim is not allowed to reach it and can only observe its openings from afar.

מתנחלים ברובע המוסלמי
מתנחלים ברובע המוסלמי


And one cannot refrain from mentioning the Jewish settler-colonists who took over houses along the main street of the Muslim Quarter, and whose life there is entirely due to the Israeli police units that are at their beck and call 24/7 – a phenomenon that can only be described as sticking a (Jewish) finger in the Palestinians’ eye.