Chris Rose writes about the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Easter 2023.
The pictures of Israeli soldiers bursting into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, arresting and beating people, are shocking. They are also highly inflammatory.
Not only do they come at a time when there is heightened tension and when the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem feel under tremendous pressure, but they also come during Ramadan and at one of those unusual moments when Ramadan, Passover and Easter all coincide.
Whenever we walk down the Mount of Olives with different groups, we come to the Garden of Dominus Flavia church. We look down at the city walls, Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Old City and beyond it, the rapidly spreading west Jerusalem, and I think of Jesus standing on the spot and weeping over Jerusalem. I think of him muttering the words, “If only you knew what would bring you peace.”
I will not ask us to hope or pray for an unwinding of tension and for calm to spread — we all want that — but it’s not the point. Instead, this Easter, I would ask that we commit ourselves again to Jesus’ words, “If only you knew what would bring you peace.” Justice, human rights, seeing the humanity in the person before us, recognising their right to exist, their right to live in peace and determine their future, their right to worship their God and the need for us to work together to determine how we can live together.