A gathering for peace was marred by troublemakers in Jerusalem.
May 28 is an annual Jerusalem Hug Day where both Arab and Israeli peace activists “walk hand in hand around the city walls” to “promote a peaceful experience, a life of freedom and joy to all people.”
The event started in 2007 and has taken place every year since.
This year was no different. However, the event was disrupted by aggression. The video below is a glimpse of it:
Seth Frantzman, the op-ed editor and features writer for the Jerusalem Post, was one of the people attacked.
I was just attacked at the Jerusalem hug event by extremists from East Jerusalem; who tried to take my phone and hit me...— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) May 28, 2015
There are accounts of others who were attacked on the event page on Facebook.
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"The 'Jerusalem Hug' symbolizes a different way to achieve peace: the way of the heart. We believe that when we find peace in ourselves, when we are able to forgive and open our heart for our fellow human beings, world peace will come closer. Change begins in one’s heart, “say the organizers.
Sadly, not everyone agrees.
Frantzman describes the perpetrators to be “several ‘anti-normalization’ Arabs from East Jerusalem (who) sought to break up the event.”
“The anti-normalization thugs oppose any efforts by Arabs to engage with Israelis in any way. The thugs were pushing and harassing the participants, and arguing with them for attending the event,” he added.
The assailants left when police arrived on the scene, but two were caught.
There is no dearth of people who want peace on both the sides. But unfortunately it is the voice of hostility rather than reconciliation and peace that overpowers the Middle East.
Be that as it may, efforts of peace and co-existence can’t go to waste. They stand taller and stronger after every push and shove they get. It's not foolish to say that the days of mistrust and hostilities will be a thing of the past sooner than many realize.
The organizers of the Jerusalem Hug initiative agree.
“We come together to show our shared love of Jerusalem, al-Quds al-Sharif. We won’t be stopped by the forces of fear on any side,” they declared.