THE PLIGHT OF A PALESTINIAN

“Who will look after your shop Michel?”

“God will look after it.”

Our Palestinian friend locked the door of his beautiful antique shop near the Jaffa Gate and led us down David Street towards the Western Wall, to what was once his family home, now part of the Armenian Quarter in the Old City. The family had to flee during the 1948 war and returned to find looters had removed anything of value, including doors, water pipes and light fittings. Now refugees, they moved in and struggled to make the best of it. Damage to the roof and surrounding buildings made the home increasingly unsafe. Michel showed us where he played football in the narrow street;

where walked daily to fetch water; went to school.

“How do you feel standing here outside your childhood home today?

“It was taken from us after the Six Day War by the Jews. They fixed it up. We received no money. It was very bad for us. Now, I’ve moved on. I don’t hate them.”

Opposite Michel’s home stands a similar stone structure. “This is where Sirhan Sirhan lived – the Palestinian who shot Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968.”

We arrived back at Michel’s antique shop and moments after unlocking the door, a nun appeared from the street and produced a loaf of freshly baked bread from the convent.

“You see – God has looked after my shop and provided me with my daily bread.”

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© 2017 by David Kerr