Wednesday 26 July 2017

Walking into a tragedy

2 days after buying my ticket for Palestine to join the Summer Camp in Abu Dis, the tensions began. On Friday, 14 July, 3 Palestinians who had attacked Israeli soldiers were killed.

Following this, it was suspected that these Palestinians had hidden their weapons in the mosque of Alaqsa and electronic gates were installed at the entrance of the Al Aqsa compound.

If the Palestinians refused to enter via these gates, it is because it represents for them an additional humiliation. Accepting these gates amoubts to tolerating  Israel taking over control of the mosque compound  which is controlled by Alawqaf.

On Friday, 21 July, 3 Palestinians named Mohamed (Mohamed Lafi, Mohamed Sharaf and Mohamed Abu Gannam) were killed in Ras Al Amoud, Atur and Abu Dis in demonstrations. Two of them were 17 years old and had just graduated. The last one was 19 years old.

In Abu Dis, I could feel the tension that prevailed on Saturday. With other Palestinian women, we went to present our condolences to Mohamed Lafi's mother. On leaving the house of Mohamed Lafi we were confronted in the center of Abu Dis with tear gas thrown by the Israeli soldiers. I was told that this gas is also used every Friday.

I asked a Palestinian woman from Abu Dis to write her feelings, and here is an approximate translation:

"Mohamed Lafi was not part of my family but I have a brother of the same age. The day before, Mohamed danced with his family and friends because he had just graduated. After studying for 12 years he had finished school and had planned to enrol in the university. His family and himself were happy because they had helped his success and supported him.

Even if Mohamed Lafi was happy he had not forgotten Alaqsa. On the day that he was killed, he went with his friends on a demonstration to defend Alaqsa. A single bullet was enough to put an end to his joy, a bullet was enough to kill a boy who was not even 18 years old. But this did not kill the spirit of Palestinian youths and will not kill it."

(The picture is an old photo from 2014 of the Abu Dis football club and Abu Dis Boys' School. It shows the two Abu Dis young men who have been killed this week, Mohammed and Yousef (labelled),  as well as -among others - two of the boys who have travelled in youth visits to the UK with CADFA - Anas and Obaida)