Just before dusk and dawn, the Holy City shakes as the sound of cannon fire marks the beginning and end of the Ramadan daily fast. This centuries-old tradition of cannon fire dates back through both Ottoman and European colonialism of Jerusalem and continues through the Israeli Occupation of East Jerusalem to this day.
Thousands of Muslims will trek to Jerusalem in celebration of Ramadan –– the holiest month of the Islamic calendar –– which is distinguished by its month-long daily fast, heightened prayer and Quranic recitation, and increased charity or alms-giving. Here’s a glimpse into Ramadan 2012 in the Old City of Occupied East Jerusalem.
Occupying Israeli soldiers stationed amidst the celebratory lights of the Muslim Quarter’s Ramadan festivities. Photo credit: Anna Therese Day
Hundreds of Muslims enter the Old City of Jerusalem for Iftar, the breaking of the day’s fast. Behind the holiday lights and the glowing minarets, Israeli flags wave from Jewish settlements in the Muslim Quarter. Photo credit: Anna Therese Day
Two East Jerusalemite Palestinian brothers prepare “Iftar Pancakes” for the hundreds of Muslims entering the Old City to break the day’s fast. Photo credit: Anna Therese Day
Hundreds of Palestinian men await security surveillance at Israel’s infamous Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Each Friday of Ramadan, West Bank Palestinian Muslims will wait upwards of four hours at Israeli checkpoints in order to pray at Al-Asqa Mosque in the Old City. Photo credit: AJE’s Rebecca Greig
En route to Friday prayers, hundreds of Palestinian women await Israeli security surveillance at the infamous Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Resistance graffiti covers the Palestinian side of the Israeli separation wall in protest of over 40 years of Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestinian land. Photo credit: AJE’s Rebecca Greig
Friday at Qalandia Checkpoint– A Palestinian woman’s gaze falls upon the supervising Israeli soldier. Photo credit: AJE’s Rebecca Greig
Prayers from the Cage –A Palestinian man prays silently in line for hours at an Israeli checkpoint, one of hundreds of Muslims en route to Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for Friday prayer. Photo credit: AJE’s Rebecca Greig
Twilight in the Muslim Quarter – The Ramadan decorations light up the sky in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The backdrop of a banner of the Israeli flag marks one of the most notorious Jewish settlements in the heart of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Photo credit: Anna Therese Day
Ramadan Lanterns & Settlement Flags –Ramadan lights, decorations, and lanterns light up the Muslim Quarter. Israeli flags wave from Jewish settlements in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City –– a symbol of the Israeli Occupation of East Jerusalem. Photo credit: Anna Therese Day
Occupied Ramadan – Atop the Temple Mount, the Muslims’ Dome of the Rock glows through the barbed wire of East Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. The Temple Mount, sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, is one of the holiest sites in both Islam and Judaism, and marks one of the most contentious flash-points of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Photo credit: Thomas Finch