Jerusalem

I can barely contain my anger over the idiot Trump move to open a US embassy in Jerusalem, and on the eve of Israeli independence too, which Palestinians call the ‘Nakba‘, a time when many Palestinians were displaced in 1948. There goes any remnant of hope for peace in Israel-Palestine… My thoughts are very much there today and in my birth-city of Jerusalem…

Because I am thinking of Jerusalem so much, several songs called ‘Jerusalem’ keep popping up in my head. Most of all the song ‘Jerusalem’ by Sinead O’Connor is playing in my mind… I so can relate to the intensity in this…

Or ‘Jerusalem’ by Dutch singer Anouk…

Or the (not brilliant but catchy) German entry for the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1999 called ‘Reise nach Jerusalem’ (‘Journey to Jerusalem’), sung in German and Turkish, with a little English thrown in and at the very end Hebrew (they came in 3rd that year)…

Or the song ‘Crusader’ by Chris de Burgh, which is a very iffy, one-sided heroic view of the Christians as heroes during the crusades of the Middle Ages. Despite that, I do love the musicality of this song and the repeated line “Jersualem is lost” feels very fitting…

And there’s the Jerusalem song I remember best from my childhood, called Yerushalayim shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)…

Despite the unholy alliance between Trump and Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, I still try to cling to hope for peace for Jerusalem and the region, even though a peaceful two-state solution feels very very far away right now…

Jerusalem 2008

Will there ever be true peace one day in Jerusalem?

Oh, Jerusalem…

… what will happen now after Trump’s latest narrow-minded, selfish move? My heart goes out to you!

I love Jerusalem. I was born there, have lived there, have gone to school there, have visited many times after living there. It has always been a problematic city, home to the holiest sites of the 3 large monotheistic religions. The picture on the left was taken from behind/on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Jesus is said to have been crucified). The picture on the right is of the Dome of the Rock (where Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven) with the holy Western Wall in front of it (part of the Jewish Second Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD).

And a few more pictures: my dad with my son at the Western Wall, my kids with cousins inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the closest we could get to the Dome during our 2008 visit, which was closed to non-Muslim visitors due to the whole conflict (I had visited there before, however, when there was more hope for peace).

These sites are very close to each other; the Holy Sepulchre is only about a 10 minute walk away from the Western Wall and the Western Wall is literally part of the outer wall of the piece of land on which the Al Aqsa Mosque & Dome of the Rock are situated. The sites and the feelings they evoke are so closely tied together, there is a real reason why the question of the status of Jerusalem is a very difficult one in the whole peace process… I just hope that what Donald Trump has done now won’t endanger a process that is already extremely delicate and fragile as is… I just hope that it will remain possible to walk peacefully through the Old City…

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… and that this bumbling fool of an American president hasn’t destroyed too much with his short-sighted foreign ‘policy’. If I were a religious person I’d be praying harder than ever for peace in Jerusalem now.

Rest in peace, Shimon Peres

And peace is the operative word here as he fought for it in the Middle East for many years…

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He wasn’t always like that, he began his career as a hardliner, was known as a ‘hawk’ who later changed his ideas and became a peacemaker, a ‘dove’ so to speak. His ideas on peace for the Middle East, the Oslo Accords he helped achieve, gave me such hope in the mid 1990s! He won the Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo Accords…

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The Nobel Peace prize laureates for 1994 in Oslo: PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin.

Sadly, the peace I had so hoped for never really happened… Things went haywire after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and with Netanyahu as president then and again now, all real peace endeavors seem to be vaporized. I have lived in Israel and the fact that the peace process is stuck after the hope there was 20 years ago still breaks my heart.

I have been watching Peres’s funeral on TV here this morning and Bill Clinton’s  and Barack Obama’s speeches were very powerful to me. Like them, I still hope for such dreamers as Shimon Peres to stand up in the Middle East and make the dreams for peace come true.

Shimon Peres, alav ha-shalom (peace be upon him). And may peace be upon the whole region hopefully one day.