“Six months, something will happen within six months”. This is what we were told by everyone we met in Israel/Palestine over the Easter period earlier this year. I assume if we could have entered the Gaza Strip the people of Gaza would have told us, “every day, every day, something happens to us”. The citizens that we met, both Israeli and Palestinian, were wrong though, it only took three months for this “something” to happen.
The tension was visible and palpable in Jerusalem during the Easter period. There was the sporadic sound of tear gas-fired at Palestinians protesting over access to Al-Asqa Mosque and the presence of at least a thousand members of the Israel Police in the old city to remind all that “something” is actually happening all the time and mostly to the Palestinians.
This is the main point for me to take from this latest round of fighting. When this outrageous attack on Gaza ends, the Palestinians will still be under siege in this tiny area of deliberately impoverished land. The Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem will still be under the restrictive, murderous and growing occupation. The Palestinians in the diaspora will still not be able to return home.
Six months from now, what will Palestinians and Israelis be saying to visitors?
Jonathan Woodrow Martin