Al Jazeera Net correspondents
Occupied Jerusalem – Like other merchants in the Old City, Al-Maqdisi Imad Ishaq Abu Khadija is suffering from stagnation as a result of the occupation measures, and the number of visitors to the city has declined significantly after the Israeli aggression on Gaza since last October 7.
Abu Khadija's store, called “Khan Abu Khadija”, is located on Bab al-Silsilah Street in the old city of Jerusalem near Al-Aqsa Mosque Al-Mubarak, who uses it as a small café selling antiques, and has previously obtained a Turkish grant to restore it.
Imad Abu Khadija says that he does not own the store, but it is an Islamic endowment and he is entrusted with it, indicating that the place has been rented by his father since 1930.
He explained that he worked secretly on its expansion and restoration for more than 30 years, “because the occupation law prohibits working on it under the pretext that it is an antiquity.”
He added that during his restoration of the place years ago, he found underneath what he called a “treasure,” pointing to an opening that he said led to 7 tunnels, “one of which leads to Al-Aqsa Mosque, another to the Buraq Wall, a third to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and a fourth to Damascus Gate (..) “Historically, it dates back 2,300 years.”
Currently, in light of the war on Gaza, Imad Abu Khadija complains of the stagnation, saying, “We open our stores during wartime situations only for ventilation, and we pay from our pockets to protect the properties from moisture and dust.”
He continued, “This is an Islamic endowment, not mine. My father entrusted it to me, and every Muslim person in the world is a partner in Jerusalem and the Old City.”
He said that the occupation's goal is to take the entire Old City and empty it of its holy citizens, adding that visiting the town and buying from it helps people survive and continue.