Morning Diary: Visiting Jerusalem, the Old city & Al Aqsa | اليوم الثاني عشر: زيارتي في القدس، البلد القديمة و الاقصى

May 3rd 2015,

On a beautiful morning, I decided to take myself to Jerusalem. To spend my whole day inside Jerusalem, and precisely inside the old city of Jerusalem. Being in Jerusalem, nowadays feel like a dream to most Arabs. Since most of them are denied entry. A place that was built for all human kind. With many visible Arabian architecture and essence. With Islamic, Christian and Judaism monuments. This land is historic and symbolic to people from all over the world.

Politics: The Arabian architecture is everywhere. In both the West and the East of Jerusalem. The Arabs foot prints are everywhere. The Arabs have lived in Jerusalem since forever. To each Arab, there is a thread of belonging and curiosity to what “Al Quds” Jerusalem is all about.

So why is it so restricted to visit Jerusalem today? Today, it is still under the control and occupation of the Jewish State of Israel. Worst of all, the restrictions are mostly on the Arabs, and on mostly, the Palestinians. The Palestinians, who are the natives of the Holly Land.

If you are in the West Bank, and to those who don’t know so much about the West Bank; it is a small zone inside of Palestine, or what is known as Israel. This small part is surrounded by an ugly wall of barrier. Worst than what used to be the Berlin Wall. It separates the land of Palestine from what is under control of the State of Israel, and the other part “West Bank & Gaza” that is supposedly not.

Back to the point, that if you are in the West Bank, and wish to visit Jerusalem, that is literally 15 minutes away by car, then you need permission. Of course from the state of Israel. And the chances are for you to wait days, for denial. Arabs who are around Palestine, and are half an hour away by car, for example from Jordan, then you also have no right or freedom to enter Jerusalem. You also need a permission. Chances are, you wait for weeks to receive denial of access. As for Gaza which is probably around an hour and a half away by car, thinking about visiting Jerusalem is prohibited, imagine visiting!!!

I was in Ramallah, and I decided to go to Jerusalem. I have a VISA that allows me access. I was lucky not to receive a deny of entry. But since I came into Jerusalem from the West Bank, I had to go through the Wall of Barrier and I had to go through a very ugly racist humiliating Kalania checkpoint. With Israeli armed boys and girls the age of 18 years old treating everyone coming down from the bus including both elderly and children with complete disrespect and discrimination. As if everyone coming from the West Bank is an animal and not human. “The ugly truth”

My experience: Getting to the story of my trip, I ran with all the thirst I have in me for myself, for my family and my friends to the old city of Jerusalem “Al Balad al Qadima”. Walked towards the walled area, the Jerusalem Gate. I walked inside the famous “Bab al Amod” Damascus gate, as I felt my smile glow inside and outside my body. I was in zen. I couldn’t stop my senses from drifting to space as I was listening to the Arabs, to the Adan, to the people yelling out what they are selling in their tiny shops, looking at the Ka’ek, colorful garments and sweets, smelling the fresh falafel being fried, the hummus on the tables, the men in red tarboush, the turkish coffee as you walk by, walking the old rustic streets and arched doors, and then your eyes are hit by a very ironic view of armed Israeli young soldiers walk in between what all looked like a very old Arabian film, and some Israeli flags on top of an old Palestinian man who is chanting in Arabic his love for Palestine, and then you wake up from your zen and remember that freedom has been taken away from you. I feel so dramatic, but it is emotional once you are there.

As I was back to my senses, I realized the “Duhur Adan” the call for prayers was on from the Al Aqsa mosque. Al Aqsa mosque is one of the most holly mosques for Muslims. And since it is in an occupied area, it is like a dream reaching it. So I literally hurried up to walk between the old tiny streets of the old city of Jerusalem heading towards Al Aqsa mosque. I arrived to dream land. I started thinking of how my parents would feel and what my mother would be saying if she was right there beside me. I thought about all my friends who are still dreaming of making it once to pray in Al Aqsa mosque, I couldn’t help but cry from both inner happiness, and inner guilt. I felt guilty for being able to make it without them.

I entered the Mosque and prayed, meditated, and sent prayers to free this beautiful land from the cruelty of the zionists, and i prayed for my loved ones who are dreaming to come here to have a chance in this lifetime. I then walked out and walked between the old monuments there, and walked the gate from the inside, walking each door gate, and I headed towards the Golden Dome Mosque which keeps attracting the corner of your eyes as you walk around it. If you notice the architecture on these mosques you will notice the resemblance of the same architecture you will see on all the houses all around occupied Palestine “Israel” and this is how you know that it belonged to the Arabs.

I then went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which takes your breath away before entering. Just looking at it’s ancient walls, and ancient door. You feel some sort of serene energy just enter your soul. It is so rustic and beautiful. You can smell it’s ancient history and you can feel the unmemorable amount of people who stepped foot into it. It was too dark and too packed for me to take so many photos, but being inside makes you feel you have entered a space between life and death. A space where all your senses are shut and only your third eye is open. Silence will come upon you from the load of wonder.

I then ended my trip by meeting my friend who took me to walk the gate from above to see the whole city of Jerusalem. I can not express the happiness I felt. I felt open hearted, I felt like a bird with wings to fly, I felt like I was freed from something I didn’t know I was hold hostage in, and I felt the drive to free millions of others who feel just the same.

I was then invited for dinner, for a Palestinian dish made by a Palestinian, Maqoubeh. Delicious.

اليوم أخدت القرار إني أروح أقضي يوم كامل في القدس. و بالأخص، البلد القديمة.

 أول ما وصلت، ركضت باتجاه البلد القديمة. كان عندي عطش أشوفها مرة ثانية، وشعرت إني بدي أشوفها عن حالي و عن أهلي وأصدقائي اللي مش قادرين يزوروها. وصلت البلد القديمة، و دخلت من باب العمود، وأنا عم بمشي، إجاني شعور فرح لا يوصف، حسيتو طالع من روحي. بطلت حاسة بوجود جسمي على الأرض، حسيت حالي دخلت حلم بين صوت العرب و الأذان و اللي بنادي للبيع من محله الصغير، عشت بخيال بين شكل الكعك و ألوان السكريات، ريحة الفلافل الطازا و الحمص اللي عالطاولات، الختايرة اللي لابسين طرابيش حمرا و ريحة القهوة اللي بتتوزع بكل مكان، شعور المشي على الأرض اللي حجارها عتيقة و البواب و المداخل اللي من أقواس منحوت بزواياها تراث وتاريخ هالأرض المقدسة. و فجأة، بشوف جنود إسرائيلية بيمشوا بنص اللي كنت مفكرته حلم، و بشوف علم إسرائيل فوق زلمة ختيار بغني عن حبه و عشقه لأراضي فلسطين. و هيك بصحى و بتذكر إني مش بحلم أو فيلم عربي وبرجع للواقع البشع بإنو حريتي و حرية أهلي مسروقة.

بس رجعت لحواسي، رجعت أسمع تكملة الأذان، آذان الظهر، فاستعجلت للوصول إلى الأقصى.  بس وصلت و شفت الأقصى و قبة الصخرة من بعيد إتذكرت أهلي وأصدقائي اللي نفسهم بهالزيارة، بلشت أتخيل أهلي معي وأسمع شو ممكن إمي تكون بتقلي، فما قدرت أمسك دموعي و صرت أبكي. بكى فرح و شكر لوصولي و بكى من شعور الذنب إني من غير حبايبي.

فتت المسجد الأقصى و بلشت أصلي و أدعي ليتحقق اليوم اللي بتحرر فلسطين من بشاعة الصهاينة، و دعيت إنو كل اللي بنفسه يزور الأقصى تيجي الفرصة ويقدر يعيش هاللحظات اللي أنا عشتها. كملت بعدين حوالين جدار المسجد و روحت على قبة الصخرة اللي بتشد عينك كل ما كنت حواليها.

روحت بعدها على كنيسة القيامة، اللي من أول ما توصل بتحس بتاريخها من حجارها العتيقة و بوابها التاريخية. الشعور لا يوصف، فالتاريخ اللي فيها بيقضي عليك بشعور الروحانية و الهدوء الداخلي. حسيت حالي بعالم تاني وأنا في داخل الكنيسة، زي كأني لا عايشة و لا ميتة. كل الحواس بتسكر و السكوت و السكون بسير بداخلك.

خلصت رحلتي بلقاء صديق، أخدني فوق السور تبع البلد القديمة. مشينا عالسور و قعدنا نتفرج على كل القدس. كان الشعور روعة، حسيت حالي أسعد إنسانة، و حسيت حالي بقدر أطير من شعور الحرية، حسيت و كأنو في شي بداخلي كان مسكر علي و انطلق وحسيت بدي  أساعد الناس لتحس بهي الحرية اللي حسيت فيها.

كان يوم فلسطيني رائع حتى عشاي كان مقلوبة فلسطنية من إيدين و بيت فلسطيني.

5 thoughts on “Morning Diary: Visiting Jerusalem, the Old city & Al Aqsa | اليوم الثاني عشر: زيارتي في القدس، البلد القديمة و الاقصى

  1. الوصف كان دقيق تماما كما نعيشه كنت حابة اخذك على البيوت المهجرة والتي سرقها اليهود منا وسكنوا فيها كنت حابة اخذك على التلة الالمانية والبقعة وتشوفي البيوت بعدها بتستنر اصحابها ويا حرقة قلبي يا رزان


  2. Pingback: Orthodox Churches in Israel | Cana Guest House

  3. Pingback: My visit to Bethlehem | اليوم الرابع عشر: زيارتي إلى بيت لحم | Razan Masri

  4. Pingback: التراث المعماري في القدس - المنصة العربية للتقنية والتدريب

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