A man is outside in the sun explaining something to a group of people standing around him. Behind him is an old stone wall and grates covering large holes in the wall.

Day 1 – The Old City of Jerusalem / Al-Quds

May 16, 2023 — Our latest delegation has just begun: 40 international Jews are here on the ground to learn from and show up in solidarity with our Palestinian partners.

We spent the day in Jerusalem / Al-Quds learning about the Old City from our field lecturer Khalil Abu Khadijeh. We learned about the countless years of conquest and imperialism that this region has experienced and the methods of dividing and conquering the local people that have continued to this day under Israeli occupation.

A man speaks to a group of people circled around him. They are outside surrounded by old stone walls. There is a street sign in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, a surveillance camera, a satellite dish, metal railings, and green trees around.

Among the many things we learned from Khalil, he told us about one example of how Al-Naksa changed Jerusalem / Al-Quds forever. For hundreds of years, Muslim communities originating from Morocco and other North African countries lived in a neighborhood of the Old City situated near the Western Wall. Just three days after the end of the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel razed this neighborhood, destroying over a hundred houses and displacing over 600 people. This devastating action was engineered to erase the Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian character from this area, just as Israel has attempted to do to all Palestinian communities across the land.

A man leading and speaking to a group, points to the distance toward the Western Wall.
Photo credit: Emily Glick

We also met with Mousa at the African Community Society in the Old City. For about the last 100 years, this space has been dedicated to serving Afro-Palestinians, many of which arrived as Muslim pilgrims to Al-Aqsa in the early 20th century. But this space serves more than just Afro-Palestinians in Jerusalem / Al-Quds. Khalil is one of many Palestinians who grew up coming to this important place. He told us that it helped shape his own identity of what being Palestinian means to him.

A man stands in the center of a group of people seated in a circle of chairs. The room they are in is a mix of old stonework and new fluorescent lighting. There is a television hanging in the background and art hanging on the walls.

Right now, the city is preparing for tomorrow’s Jerusalem Day Flag March. On this day, every year, Israeli police clear out Palestinians from their communities to allow a violent and racist march of settlers to run wild across the Old City. This is a day where Jewish supremacy will be on full display. Over the next 10 days, you’ll hear more from us—via our email newsletters and our social media accounts—about what actions we’re taking to stand in solidarity with our partners.

In solidarity,