Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags stand before a banner showing the flags of Arab League member states with Arabic text reading, “History will glorify but those faithful to Palestine and its cause,” during a protest against decisions by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize relations with Israel, in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Sept. 15, 2020. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh )
● Tue, May 11, 2021
The Holy City of Jerusalem is a site that many followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam dream of visiting at least once in their lifetime. The imagined visit is almost one of spiritual romanticism. For Christians, the Holy City hymn often carries images of Jerusalem as the symbol of the eternal life with Jesus Christ as the savior. For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the third-holiest mosque, after Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and An Nabawi Mosque in Medina. In Judaism, the Holy City means almost everything.
Last night I lay a sleeping/ There came a dream so fair/ I stood in old Jerusalem/ Beside the temple there/ I heard the children singing/ And ever as they sang/ Me thought the voice of Angels/ From Heaven in answer rang/ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Lift up your gates and sing.”
But wake up! This is just a song. It does not reflect the real situation faced by Palestinians, including the Arab Israelis who live in East Jerusalem and in other parts of the territory. Look at what happened when Muslims were prohibited from praying inside Al-Aqsa Mosque on Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Destiny) on Saturday evening. They could only perform their prayers in front of the Dome of the Rock.
The world seems powerless and can do no more than issue condemnations or special prayers when the Israeli military uses violence to oppress Palestinians and evict them from their land and houses, which they own legally. The United Nations demanded on Friday that Israel call off pending evictions in East Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to “war crimes”. Israel described them as “real estate disputes”.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War but has never won international recognition. The area covers Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Israel does not care about world voices. Their goal is to remove Palestinians from the land they claim as their property.
From the beginning of his first term, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been an outspoken defender of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. But apart from making beautiful speeches, the President knows he cannot do much about the situation. Arab countries used to be the front line against Israel, but many of them now are befriending Israel, although promising never to abandon Palestinians.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has advised that the country step up efforts to pressure Israel and ease the plight of the Palestinians. We can expect more street rallies here against the Israeli occupation, and the Foreign Ministry in a statement on Saturday criticized Israel’s brutality. But nothing has changed. The Palestinians are practically alone in their endless struggle for independence. Worse, their leaders are divided and a reconciliation is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Palestinian people will continue to endure forced expulsion, killings and imprisonment. The lyrics of Josef Locke’s “Holy City” song are just a dream. And then me thought my dream was changed/ The streets no longer rang.
This article was published in thejakartapost.com with the title “Jerusalem is just a dream”. Click to read: https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2021/05/10/jerusalem-is-just-a-dream.html.