– Mohamed G.

Jerusalem, the Holy Land. We are privileged that we are able to enter this beautiful city. Unfortunately, many Palestinian citizens living in the West Bank cannot visit Jerusalem without explicit Israeli permission. For this reason, it was all the more important for our youth delegation to appreciate this opportunity.

Though we were nervous about the checkpoint that was awaiting us to get into East Jerusalem, the excitement was contagious once we made it through. We couldn’t wait to get to the Old City, a sector rich in culture, history and religion. Walking through the Old City is an experience unlike any other. To walk along the same routes that some of the world’s most important prophets once walked is indescribable. We were humbled to be able to set our eyes on the beautiful golden dome that lay atop Haram al-Sharif and to walk through the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and view the resting place of Jesus Christ. In addition, we had the honor of meeting his excellency Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal. While listening to his speech, he reminded us that, “Jerusalem doesn’t belong to us, we belong to Jerusalem.”

Finally, we had dinner and listened to speeches from three different religious leaders, including a Priest, Imam, and a Pastor. Hearing their words of interfaith dialogue and coexistence was beautiful. Not only was it inspiring, but it reinforced the fact that although we all come from different religions, and that we all have more similarities than differences. As one of our tour guides that day reminded us, peace throughout the Holy Land begins and ends in Jerusalem. It is only when people begin to recognize these similarities will Jerusalem truly return to being the land of peace.

Mohamed is a Know Thy Heritage 2015 delegate from Plantation, Florida. His family is originally from Ramallah. To learn more about the KTH 2015 delegations journey throughout Palestine, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online at kthps.org