Palestinian resistance icon takes a look back
A year has passed since Fawzi al-Juneidi (17) became a resistance icon for Palestinians. The world learned about him through the photo depicting him being detained by more than 20 Israeli soldiers, while he was blindfolded on Dec. 7, 2017.
Palestinians were protesting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in Al-Khalil (Hebron) city of West Bank, when he was detained.
The fact that Juneidi was taken into custody in such an inappropriate manner caused a global outrage after the local and international media outlets, particularly Anadolu Agency, largely covered the incident.
Today, Jueidi is a 17 year-old boy, the sole breadwinner of his family. He has to take care of his six siblings, disabled father and sick mother.
He had to quit school three years ago, after his father experienced an accident at a factory and wasn't able to work again. Now, he is trying to earn a living by selling hot drinks across a popular street in Al-Khalil.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency at his residence on Friday, he talked about his hopes, feelings, thoughts and the incident that occurred a year ago.
He said that the photograph of him being surrounded by dozens of Israeli soldiers once again unveiled to the whole world "the true face of Israel and its attitude towards children, detainees, and all Palestinians."
- 'ETERNAL CAPITAL'
The Palestinian resistance icon noted that he was severely beaten by the Israeli soldiers following his detention. "What I went through was for the sake of Jerusalem," he said, rejecting the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
"Jerusalem belongs to the Muslims and is the eternal capital of Palestine. No matter what [the U.S. President Donald] Trump or anyone else says, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. God willing, Palestine will gain freedom one day and Jerusalem will be the capital," he said.
Juneidi said he would visit educational institutions and non-governmental organization frequently and aware people about Israel's detention policy towards children.
Although he was detained while protesting for Jerusalem, he said that he had never been there.
"I really want to visit Jerusalem, I can't tell how much I love it. It is the place where Prophet Muhammad had Isra journey," he said and lamented that he was not allowed to visit Jerusalem.
He emphasized that there was a special part for Turkey in his heart. "Turkish people stood by our side. While in Turkey, I made quite many friends, whom I loved very much," he said.
Juneidi saluted Turkish people and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thanked them for supporting the Palestinian cause.
"While Arab countries remain silent, President Erdogan is the only one capable of addressing Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine without being afraid of the U.S. and Israel," he asserted.
- PROUD FAMILY OF JUNEIDI
Mohammed al-Juneidi, the father of Juneidi, said that he was proud of his son.
Slamming the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, he said that he missed the holy city so much. "Last time I was in Jerusalem was 20 years ago. My entrance to Jerusalem is prohibited," he said.
Fawziyyah al-Juneidi, grandmother of Juneidi, said that she almost had a stroke when she saw Fawzi being detained by the Israeli soldiers.
Senior Palestinian lady went on to say that they would never give up on Jerusalem and Palestine, calling on Turkey to look after the country as no one else did.
Last year, Trump sparked an international outcry by announcing plans to move Washington's Israel Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital.
Since the move this May, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has rejected any mediating role by the U.S. in the moribund Middle East peace process.
International law continues to view East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank, as "occupied territory" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there to be illegal.