At least 178 Palestinians and six policemen have been injured, of whom 83 had to be hospitalized, on Friday night in clashes with the police at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third holy place of Islam, according to the Media. Palestinian Red Moon, which set up a field hospital on the esplanade of the compound. The protest intensified after the evening prayer, when hundreds of attendees threw stones and other objects at the Israeli security forces, which stormed the religious shrine, which has space status under the custody of a Jordanian-dependent foundation. A police spokesman said that several officers also suffered bruises. The Muslim quarter of the Old City was cordoned off, and Israeli forces closing the way through the iconic Damascus Gate.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians had remained standing on the Al Aqsa Mosque esplanade after ending the noon prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan, in a nationalist mobilization with little precedent in Jerusalem. As Israel prepares to celebrate on Monday – according to the Jewish calendar – the 54th anniversary of the capture by its troops in the eastern part of the Holy City, the wave of Palestinian demonstrations and marches that have marked the Muslim holy month has rekindled the vindication of the Palestinian presence in the Holy City in the face of mobility and residence restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities.
“Our people will remain steadfast and patient in their home, in their land,” Sheikh Taysir Abu Sunainah proclaimed in his noon sermon, quoted by Reuters, in the third holiest place in Islam. After the preaching, the Palestinian flags waved and the nationalist chant was heard. With our blood we will redeem you, Al Aqsa.
More than a hundred Palestinians had been injured on April 23 in previous clashes with the police during Ramadan outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. In the midst of a wave of incidents of several successive days, that night they protested against a march of hundreds of Israeli ultra-rightists that had approached the main access to the Muslim quarter of the Old City shouting “Death to the Arabs!”
Shortly after the mobilization of the youth of East Jerusalem, the security forces removed the barriers they had placed in the square of the Damascus Gate, their traditional meeting point on the nights of Ramadan. But it did not end with the celebration of the police withdrawal, but rather moved to the nearby district of Sheikh Yarrah, mainly Palestinian and headquarters of consulates that, like that of Spain, remain on the eastern side of the Green Line that divided the city until the Six Day War, in 1967.
After a legal battle that has lasted for the last 15 years, this Monday the Israeli Supreme Court is scheduled to rule definitively on the eviction of several Palestinian families who have lived in the area since the mid-twentieth century. Up to 70 families can be evicted from their homes in a series of processes undertaken by Jewish associations that brandish property titles prior to the birth of the State of Israel. In the last week there have been daily protests in Sheikh Yarrah against evictions, and this Friday there was a new concentration in which violent incidents were recorded. On Thursday night 15 Palestinians who had thrown stones and furniture at the police and who also faced Israeli settlers, some of whom fired into the air with their pistols, from the settlement of Simon Hatzadik, a Jewish enclave in the heart of the city, were arrested. Palestinian from East Jerusalem. The far-right and xenophobic deputy Itamar Ben Gvir went to the scene of the protests with some of his supporters to set up an office in a tent.
In a joint statement, the Foreign Ministries of Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Italy have called on Israel to stop the evictions of Palestinians from Sheikh Yarrah, as well as the construction of hundreds of houses in settlements in the city. The United Nations has also alerted Israel that it will “violate international law” if Palestinian neighbors are evicted from their homes, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared. The Israeli Foreign Ministry considers it to be “a simple real estate legal dispute that one of the parties intends to pass off as a nationalist issue to incite violence in Jerusalem.”
While Palestinian youths were mobilizing three weeks ago at the Damascus Gate, about 40 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip in the direction of Israeli territory. In unusual statements, the heads of the military arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have announced that they will respond with their weapons if the Palestinians in East Jerusalem continue to be expelled from their homes.
The massive deployment of the border police (militarized body) in Jerusalem has been joined by the reinforcement of the Army in the West Bank after two attacks with firearms by Palestinians in just one week. As a result of the first attack, a 19-year-old Israeli died last Sunday and two other young people were injured. In the second, registered on Friday, two armed attackers were shot dead by troops and a third was badly wounded.
In Jerusalem, two large mass concentrations of the opposite sign are about to coincide in the walled enclosure of Jerusalem. At sunset this Saturday the Night of Destiny begins, in which thousands of faithful are expected to come to pray to Al Aqsa in the final stretch of Ramadan. And the following evening the events will begin on Jerusalem Day in which thousands of settlers from the settlements and militants of radical groups intend to march through Palestinian neighborhoods of the Old City.
A week later the Nakba (disaster) is commemorated as a milestone in the reversal. 71 years after the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of people as a result of the birth of Israel, the threat of eviction that weighs on Sheikh Yarrah reopens wounds from the past in the collective memory. The affected families arrived in that neighborhood of Jerusalem after having to leave their homes in a territory that is today Israel.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.