"Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done."
When President Donald Trump declared these words on December 6, millions of Jerusalem, Palestine, and Arab residents cried out in response. The following 72 hours became the long Days of Rage, with men, women, and children assembled together to mark the beginning of something else, of something more. They were fired up. They were ready to fight. They were not afraid to make their outrage heard.
In the midst of their cries of pain, their calls for justice, and their longing for peace, I witnessed so much more. I knew there was something greater than just what I saw with my eyes, like a magnet that kept pulling me back.
Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ according to Biblical text, was brighter than normal. But instead of the streets decking out in Christmas lights and decorations, it slowly became battle grounds. Bethlehem's main street was covered in fire and tear gas. The roads turned black, the city turned grey, and its people turned red. More than 5 hours after the beginning of the first day of rage, thousands of Palestinians were still on the street. Despite extreme pain caused by tear gas, they knew better than to give up. To many Palestinians, Christians and Muslims alike, there was a need to scream, to demonstrate, and to fight, in order to win back hope.