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Palestinian villagers sell spring produce near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team

Blog Post

Longing for Pre-War Jerusalem

After over 100 days of silence and deserted, militarized spaces, Palestinian Jerusalemites long for their city back as it was before October 7, 2023—thronging with locals and visitors from around the area and the world; bursting with merchants selling wares of all curious sorts; and full of welcoming spaces creating possibilities of connecting, reflecting, praying, and feeling embraced by a community. 

This brief photo essay touches on some of those longed-for qualities and moments that are temporarily erased from the city landscape due to Israel’s ongoing multilayered closure of the Palestinian areas of the city, including their holy sites. As well, the rapid rise of government-distributed military rifles carried by Jewish civilians for “security” reasons has made the city feel like a volatile garrison outpost rather than an ancient world heritage site holy to billions around the world.

In the meantime, these photos offer reminders of what was and what will at some point—hopefully—return. 

A Palestinian villager sells produce in the Old City of Jerusalem, June 2021.

A Palestinian farmer from a rural area around Jerusalem sells her produce in the area just inside Damascus Gate in June of 2021.

Credit: 

Ahmad Daghlas for Jerusalem Story

A Palestinian villager sells produce in the Old City of Jerusalem, February 2022.

A Palestinian farmer from a rural area around Jerusalem sells his produce on the streets of the Old City in February of 2022.

Credit: 

Mostafa al-Kharouf for Jerusalem Story

A Palestinian family joyfully descends the steps of the Damascus Gate Plaza, August 20, 2021.

A mother and her children joyfully make their way down the plaza steps toward Bab al-Amud, August 20, 2021. 

Credit: 

Mays Shkerat for Jerusalem Story

Two Palestinian women chat on the plaza steps of Damascus Gate, February 2021.

Two Palestinian women chat on the plaza steps of Damascus Gate in February of 2021.

Credit: 

Mostafa al-Kharouf for Jerusalem Story

Muslim women gather near the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, Spring 2022.

Palestinian Muslim women sit in the area of the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, Spring 2022.

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team

Palestinian Muslims discuss religious texts in the courtyard of al-Aqsa Mosque, Summer 2022

Palestinian Muslims discuss religious texts in the courtyard of al-Aqsa Mosque, Summer 2022

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team

Palestinian men find community under the shade of a tree in the Haram al-Sharif during Ramadan in April 2022.

Palestinian men find community under the shade of a tree in the Haram al-Sharif during Ramadan in April 2022.

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team

Muslim men pray in the Haram al-Sharif area during Ramadan, April 2022.

Muslim men pray in the Haram al-Sharif area during Ramadan in April, 2022.

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team

Al-Aqsa Mosque during a night of Ramadan, Jerusalem, April 2022

Al-Aqsa Mosque during a night of Ramadan, Jerusalem, April 2022

Credit: 

Jerusalem Story Team