In the midst of the violence in Sunday’s Jersualem Day parade, there was a glimmer of hope for the region when an Israeli woman helped defend an 8-year-old Palestinian from the army’s guns.
Sahar Vardi is an Israeli 21-year-old student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and long time pro-Palestine activist. She was supporting the small Palestinian protest outside Damascus Gate when she first saw the boy.
Here she speaks exclusively to Al Bawaba about her experiences that day:
“There was a small Palestinian demonstration at the same time as the parade, just to tell people that this is not an empty city that they [the paraders] are entering.
The boy himself was holding a Palestinian flag and a settler tried to take it away from him. He wouldn’t give it to him so an Israeli border policeman was chasing this boy around the Old City.
He [the policeman] literally had fire in his eyes and was grabbing and kicking at him.”
At this point, Vardi felt like she had to step in and the pictures of her helping the boy have been viewed by millions on the internet.
“I just tried to stop the policeman from kicking him. Really it was about being in the right place at the right time.
For me the parade has a very clear aim: to come into an empty Old City and claim sovereignity over the whole of East Jerusalem. The message is ‘here is something that is ours’”
At the big stage by the Wailing wall, Vardi said she heard speakers talk of "taking back" East Jerusalem and even cities like Nablus and Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
For her, it’s vital that Israelis protest for Palestinians:
“It’s our responsibility to help and protest because it’s our government and our taxes that implement these policies.” She said.
By Helen Brooks
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