Just this past Saturday on October 4th Muslims worldwide celebrated one of their most religious holidays, Eid-Al-Adha. Eid-Al-Adha , or also known as ‘Sacrifice Feast’, is celebrated to honor and remember the willingness of Abraham to give up Ishmael, his son, for god but then God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. On this occasion the day is spent cooking, feasting, praying, and having a good time with family and friends. The day is usually spent in the homes of families and friends, but for Muslims in the occupied areas of Israel, more specifically the Gaza Strip, used to spend the holiday with a visit to pray at their 3rd most sacred holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque located in East Jerusalem. However, since Hamas violently over took power from Fatah back in 2007, Muslims from the Gaza area have not had access to visit the holy site since the blockade was placed.
The blockade covers both Palestinian territories, and with the intricacy of the broader lines, the Palestinians are then displaced and denied access to their sacred holy site.
After seven years of Muslims being denied from entering East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, a selected portion of Muslims were granted access to cross the blockade to celebrate Eid-Al-Adha the traditional way again. Only 1,500 Gazans were allowed visitation at the site, and this seems like an unexpected courtesy and respect towards the Palestinians from the Israelis, but at the same time it hasn’t been so respectful to be denied visitation all these years. It is understandable and great that the Palestinians had the access to visit something so important to their lives, but they should have the access whenever they want. It is also clear that the Israelis want the blockade for security but so much of the population suffers the consequences of being denied access when all they want to do is pray. I think this day sets an example how much of the community can cross the blockade and not cause conflict. The Palestinians showed no reason for conflict because they just wanted the opportunity to come back to their sacred site.