It’s very unusual for me to get emotional while speaking about anything in the realm of politics. I always try not to get worked up in any political conversation, because I know that at the end of the day, it isn’t worth it. Political discussions continue to be brutal and nasty, and quite frankly, have the ability to really mentally break down a person. So, I try my hardest to avoid the mess. Yes, I will voice my opinions about a political subject, and yes I will defend my side. But, no I won’t unfriend someone because of their political opinion, and no, I will not scream across the table and shove my beliefs down your throat.

However, there is only one political subject that is an exception to all this emotional behavior– the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is the ONLY political subject capable of bringing me to tears. 

For any of you wondering off the bat which side I sympathize with, I’m going to have to be quite blunt, because no-one has the time to read a 30 page paper regarding my opinion on the conflict. I stand with Palestine, and whole-heartedly condemn Israel’s occupation and heinous attacks against Palestine. Not only do I reject Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, I dub it as inhumane, falsely justified, and a brutal international crime on the part of the Israel.

So, now that I’ve made it clear with side I support, you might be wondering why I chose to write about this post TODAY. Keep reading. 

Last Friday, Israeli authorities closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites, and cancelled the weekly Friday prayers for the first time in almost five decades. In addition to this, the Israelis installed metal detectors and turnstiles at the entrance of the Mosque, following the deadly Friday shootout which left 2 Israelis and 3 Palestinians dead. Israel claims that the closing of the Mosque is a safety measure. However, as we all know, this is just another excuse

This by no means is about the implementation of new security measures. This is about Israel trying to retake control of a site by stealth, force, and brutality. This is about Israel infringing on the religious freedom of the Palestinians. 

And, this WILL NOT be tolerated.

For Palestinians, Israel’s closing of one the holiest sites in the Old City of Jerusalem is visual proof that Israeli forces are an occupying force, and actively violating the UN articles guaranteeing freedom of worship. Forbidding Friday prayers is both unjust and unmerited. No religion allows this. No belief accepts this immoral behavior. 

These recent restrictions on religious freedom in Jerusalem represent the latest, in a decades-long effort, by Israeli authorities to change the historic character of the city and its holy sites. This tragic incident is proof of an Israeli campaign attempting to alter the religious landscape of the city, particularly targeting the religious rights and practices of Muslims. 

After metal detectors were installed at the entrance of Al-Aqsa, Fatah (a Palestinian political party) called for “A Day of Rage”, to show that the behavior & actions of the Israeli authorities will not be condoned. Fatah is now calling for Friday prayers to be conducted in public squares in Palestinian cities to denounce what they described as “terrorist procedures” by Israel. Palestinians have already been performing prayers outside the compound in protest.

This is yet another incident in which the Palestinian people have been victims of Israeli oppression.

For those who have never felt the constant yoke of oppression, or seen it up close, it is a vision beyond comprehension. Occupation sits heavy on the occupied, every day in every way, limiting who you are and what you may dare to become.

To the families of the two Israeli policemen who lost their lives while trying to control a place that was not theirs to command, I extend my condolences. These young men were, however, not lost to the ring of resistance, but willingly sacrificed by an occupation that bears no legitimacy whatsoever.

Ultimately, if there is grieving to be done, it must be for the 11 million occupied, whether it be in Palestine or outside. This includes the stateless refugees, stripped of a meaningful voice and opportunity.

The three young men who willingly sacrificed their lives in the attack on the two Israeli officers in Jerusalem did so not as an empty gesture born of desperation. They understood that the price of freedom can, at times, mean all

Self-determination is a difficult, costly march for the occupied. In Palestine, no matter what the weapon of choice may be- whether voice, pen or gun – there is a steep price to be paid for its use.

However, silence is surrender. 

To be silent is to betray all those who have come before and all those yet to follow.

Do not be silent. Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking & fighting for your freedom.

Thanks for reading.