TThe headlines mainly speak of “clashes”, “conflicts” and “casualties on both sides”. Politicians recite jokes about Israel’s “right to defend itself,” a right that Palestinians apparently do not have. The United States government calls for “all parties to shrink”, without acknowledging that it is US funds. $ 3.8 billion a year – which, in part, make possible the Israeli bombing of Gaza. This is the familiar American routine when Israel goes to war.
Yet before Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets dominated the news, what happened over the past week in Jerusalem was perhaps the most substantial Palestinian mass uprising in the city since 2017, when Palestinian demonstrations led the police. Israeli. Leave his attempt to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Then, as now, it was an uprising centered on Jerusalem but on much more. And while the attention of the American public has been diverted, the Jerusalem uprising is still ongoing. That is important not to forget.
It was not a coincidence that the uprising started in Jerusalem. Occupied East Jerusalem exemplifies in miniature the Israeli government’s effort to secure “the maximum territory, the minimum of Arabs,” as David Ben-Gurion saw the objectives of the Zionist movement. Israel has pursued this goal in East Jerusalem, which it occupied in 1967 and formally annexed in 1980, by making it narrowly Impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits to build houses, leaving thousands of people vulnerable to displacement and their houses are scheduled to be demolished. The inhabitants of East Jerusalem, who are not citizens of Israel but legal residents, expensive strict residency requirements that make their legal situation precarious. The Israeli government has also empowered Jewish settlers to seize property within Palestinian neighborhoods such as Silwan, Abu Dis, a-Tur and Sheikh Jarrah – part of an explicit strategy for “Judaize”The eastern part of the city.
Israeli officials are becoming bolder in telegraphing these goals to the global public. “This is a Jewish country,” said Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, a British-born deputy mayor of Jerusalem, to the New York Times, “[o]Of course there are laws that some people may consider favoring Jews, it is a Jewish state. “But if Israeli officials are open about the discriminatory logic at the core of Zionism, most American politicians continue to deny it.
Indeed, that discriminatory logic is fully manifested, especially in Sheikh Jarrah, the East Jerusalem neighborhood where Israeli settlers are trying to evict several Palestinian families from their homes. These eight families, who fled Their original homes during the 1948 war, have lived in the neighborhood for more than half a century. Now, the Israeli settler organizations … significantly funded by American Jewish donors – they are claiming that because these houses were owned by Jewish groups, Palestinian families must be evicted. However, there is no reciprocal right for Palestinians seeking restitution of the property they left during the Nakba, when approximately 700,000 Palestinians were evicted or fled their homes during the 1948 war. Israel, the property of Palestinian refugees is reviewed by the Israeli state.
Ongoing Israeli efforts to cleanse Jerusalem of a Palestinian presence, particularly in Sheikh Jarrah, provided the spark for the latest uprising. But it was not just in Sheikh Jarrah that Palestinians have also resisted other Israeli efforts to remove them from the city’s landscape. After the Israeli forces set up Barricades on the forecourt of the Damascus Gate, a popular place for Palestinians to gather, especially during Ramadan, and a main access point to the Old City of Jerusalem, successive nights of largely youth-led demonstrations eventually led to the Israeli police to remove the metal doors (although not before the Israeli police allowed extreme right-wing Jewish extremists to March through the streets of Jerusalem singing: “Death to the Arabs!”).
As in 2017, Palestinian access to the Al Aqsa Mosque has also been a focal point of the protests. Over the past week and a half, Israeli police have repeatedly stormed the Haram al-Sherif / Temple Mount complex, firing rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Muslim worshipers: videos on social media show women Israeli forces firing flashbangs and fewer lethal rounds directly to people who pray. Israeli police violence has injured several hundred people during these night raids, which have also taken place on some of the holiest nights of Ramadan. In other parts of East Jerusalem, the Israeli police have drenched the streets and buildings with a bad smell “Skunk”Water, a chemical mass dispersal tool. And under the tolerant gaze of the Israeli police, Jewish settlers and far-right activists have attacked Palestinian protesters, reaching as far as open fire over them with live ammunition.
It was repeated raids by Israeli police into the Al Aqsa Mosque, combined with increased settler violence in Sheikh Jarrah and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods, that prompted a response from Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Strip. from Gaza. Hamas leaders had already warned that they would respond to the continuing Israeli violence in Jerusalem with their own violence. On Monday, the armed wing of Hamas issued An ultimatum: Israeli forces must leave Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah Mosque or face the consequences. Apparently underestimating the seriousness or military capabilities of Hamas, the Israeli government chose the latter.
To be sure, there was no small degree of opportunism here on the part of Hamas. In early April, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas Announced that the legislative elections scheduled for May 22 would be indefinitely delayed. With Abbas’s Fatah factions sharply divided, Hamas is likely to perform well. By assuming the mantle of defending Al Aqsa, the Hamas leadership may have sought a show of leadership that could otherwise have been achieved through electoral means.
But the Jerusalem uprising was not the doing of Hamas. It was run by young Jerusalem-Limites from the east, many of them born after the signing of the Oslo Accords. And their demonstrations were successful. Before the skies darkened even more, Palestinian protests had not only prompted the Israeli police to remove the barricades near the Damascus Gate; At the request of the Attorney General of Israel, the High Court of Israel postponed a hearing on the eviction of the families of Sheikh Jarrah and the Israeli police blocked the incendiary and ultra-nationalist “March of the Flags” passing through Palestinian neighborhoods in the Old City of Jerusalem. “The Jerusalem uprising had no leadership from Hamas or Fatah,” tweeted Palestinian writer Aziz Abu Sarah. “Both groups want to capitalize on it and gain some popularity, knowing that their actions will hurt those they say they want to help the most.”
If there is any reason for hope, it is that public opinion in the United States seems to be wavering, belatedly, in support of Palestinian rights. At the moment, such a position is hardly represented in the corridors of American power. Only a handful of Democratic members of Congress they have issued statements condemning Israel’s attempts to displace Sheikh Jarrah’s Palestinian families. But American politicians, and Democrats in particular, will not be able to ignore calls to forever halt US military assistance to Israel. Of course, the United States stopping such support for Israel cannot alone end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or the siege of Gaza. However, it is a starting point.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism