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eyewitnesses from divided city

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Shortly after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into force on Friday 21 May, members of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, allegedly using tear gas and stun grenades To disperse the Muslims who are performing Namaz there.

Over the weekend, IDF personnel escorted Jewish visitors to Temple Mount, which is at the same location as al-Aqsa and holds special religious significance as the site of the Biblical Temple. The Waqf, or Islamic authority governing the site, stated that the IDF had removed young Palestinians from the site and prohibited the entry of any Muslim under the age of 45. It was reported that a A small number of Muslim protesters were detained. The details remain unclear.

Events Has entered as an attempt to provoke. For years, the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been a flashpoint for violence between Israel and the Palestinians and was the site of the outbreak of the Second Intifada uprising in 2000. This happened after Ariel Sharon – the then Prime Minister of Israel – visited the site with a heavily armed defense-force escort at Camp David shortly after peace talks with the then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had failed. An estimated 3,000 Palestinians lost their lives in the five-year uprising.

As a PhD researcher in political science, I am interviewing people in East Jerusalem and trying to understand the various methods of control used by the Israeli government to regulate the Palestinian population in the city. I have been watching the actions of young Palestinian activists and have been impressed by the ways in which many have refrained from turning to violence, instead using peaceful forms to make their point for the world media to see .

This was manifested in the early days of Ramadan (13 April to 12 May) when the Israeli border police erected metal barricades. Damascus Gate Square. These gates restricted the movement of people and made it impossible for local street vendors to conduct their business. It barred Palestinians from sitting on the steps in the square itself, a traditional meeting place after evening prayers during Ramadan.

So young Palestinian activists gathered in a crowd in and around the square. As I watched, young activists sang songs and practiced gymnastics against the Israeli police stationed at the barricades. The Israeli police did not seem ready on seeing this. Neither his kit nor his rules of engagement equipped him to deal with this form of peaceful protest.

So they fired tear gas shells and used stun grenades to clear the areas. They also sprayed chemically synthesized water on the protesters, leaving an unpleasant smell in people’s clothes that is difficult to remove. They used mounted police to chase, intimidate and disperse young protesters. I saw it through the balcony of a nearby restaurant owned by a friend of mine. Another friend, who was among the protesters, was sprayed with dirty water.

Palestinians enter the al-Aqsa Mosque on 13 May 2021 to offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayers.
EPA-EFE / Atef Safadi

The protesters gathered again and kept on returning. He continued these performances for two weeks. On 26 April, the Israeli authorities came under pressure and Overcome obstacles, allowing Palestinians to return to their traditional ceremonies within a few days of the holy month.

challenging forced eviction

Meanwhile, May 17, the date allotted by the Israeli District Court for settlers to evict and replace several Palestinian families from their homes in the nearby neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, was drawing to a close. Israeli officials misleadingly call it “real estate dispute

But it is widely seen as a deliberate act among Palestinians.ethnic cleansing“To change the demographic of this traditionally Muslim Arab neighborhood. The settlers reportedly used to threaten and attack families and protesters, often with the support of the Israeli security forces.

The settlers reportedly resorted to both Legal and violent additional legal means, For example, sprinkling black pepper on protesters preparing for Iftar, breakfast food for Ramadan. Once again, Palestinian activists who gathered to support families set for eviction refrained from violence, danced dubously and sang patriotic songs.

These activists also used social media well, regularly posting details and information on Twitter – see the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah – as well as the legal behind Facebook and TickTalk attempts to expose aggression and eviction by settlers to explain the issues.

As a result of global attention focused on eviction efforts and the level of support for Palestinian families at risk, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Supreme Court to halt eviction proceedings on 9 May.

Avoid violence

Similarly, Israeli officials felt that the crossing of the “flag march” through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem through the Damascus Gate against the backdrop of such tensions threatened further violence and condemnation from the watching world. . so march was sent again Around the 1967 border line, passing through Jaffa Gate instead of Damascus Gate, keeping those marching close to West Jerusalem.

These peaceful demonstrations seem to have been at least part of the reason why the outburst of violence in Jerusalem was mostly avoided at this time. I like to think of it as the “Jerusalem Spring”.

But Israel’s national politics suddenly reared its ugly head. Netanyahu was realizing that he would not be able to form a government after the election on March 23. Israeli President Rouwen Rivlin told opposition politician Yair Lapid Form alliance With the Minister of Defense, Naphtali Bennett, that would mean losing Netanyahu’s power.

Against this background, the Israeli police Raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque. There have been reports of retaliatory violence by Muslims at the mosque, including the throwing of petrol bombs by youth activists. But I was there that day and saw nothing.



Read more:
Jerusalem: The Politics Behind the Latest Explosion of Violence in the Holy City


Meanwhile, Hamas fighters began firing missiles from Gaza into Israel, prompting Israeli large-scale retaliation. For 11 days, the world’s attention was on the small Palestinian enclave where 2 million people were bombed almost continuously by Israeli airstrikes.

But on May 18, the Palestinians in East Jerusalem Staged a one-day strike. Again, it was peaceful. Constructive protests during the strike included holding chess competitions in the street outside the homes of families threatened with eviction.

Following global pressure, Hamas and Israel agreed to a ceasefire on 21 May. As we now know, within hours Israeli security forces entered al-Aqsa and used force to disperse the praying people. The excitement continues, but we can only hope that peaceful demonstrations prevail and avoid another outbreak of violent conflict in this divided city.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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