Op-Ed via Middle East Eye

Can Jerusalem still be saved?

On Monday, the Trump administration will open a new US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in a move that defies the international consensus and will likely have dire consequences for Palestinians who live in the city and beyond.

My earliest memories are of Jerusalem. We lived in East Jerusalem, in a neighbourhood which has since been cut in half by Israel's wall. Actually, the wall has been built right through the garden of my childhood home. Living in East Jerusalem from the late 1980s, I witnessed many events which shaped my memories.

From the First Intifada, with the imposed curfews and Israeli soldiers stationing themselves by our garden wall, to the 1991 Gulf War, when I remember my parents putting me in a gas-proof tent because as a toddler my face was too small for the gas masks.

Daily journeys were characterised by random checkpoints and I distinctly remember my parents arguing with soldiers who would arbitrarily close them and prevent Palestinians from passing through.

The Jerusalem life

But there are also good memories of friends and family. I loved my school, my music lessons and the summer camps. I loved being taken by my father to the Old City where we would eat kanafeh and visit the Haram Al Sharif. I loved Jerusalem - it was my entire world and I couldn't ever imagine leaving it.

When we did leave in 1999, I was heartbroken. Moving back some 14 years later I experienced living in the city as an adult and had to face many of the difficulties of Jerusalem life that my parents shielded me from as a child.

This month also marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) that saw Palestine wiped from the map and the State of Israel established in its place. By the following year an armistice line was drawn up between the two areas with a no-man's line running down the middle between Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem and Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem.

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