We are witnessing a new dawn for the Palestinian National Movement. Today, we are the most optimistic and hopeful we have been in the past two decades. With Jerusalem at the center of this resurgent national spirit, the Palestinian movement has once again united to oppose Israeli occupation, apartheid, political oppression and colonial violence.
The protest action that started in Jerusalem engulfed the whole country. We were one in rejecting the forced evictions and ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the violation of the religious rights of Christian and Muslim Palestinians, and the brutal bombing of Gaza. On 18 May, Palestinians in historic Palestine closed their businesses and raised the Palestinian flag, joining a historic general strike against Israeli colonialism.
The Palestinians were not stopped by the barbaric bombing of civilians in Gaza, nor by Israeli lynch mobs that attacked Palestinian civilians in Israel, nor by Israel’s increasingly violent policies targeting Palestinians in the occupied territories. I went.
This unity has terrified the Israeli state. Following the announcement of a ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza, it launched a revenge campaign targeting Israeli Palestinian citizens. The campaign, called “Law and Order”, aims to intimidate and terrorize into silence and present the Palestinians who dared to take to the streets in a show of national solidarity.
Adalah, a human rights organization and legal center based in Israel, called the mass arrests by the Israeli police a “military war against the Palestinian citizens of Israel”, adding that the police’s intention was “to intimidate and exact revenge – to settle scores”. In the police’s own words, as punishment for their political positions and activities”.
Apparently, there was no security operation to restore “law and order” in the Israeli communities, which were attacking Palestinians, their homes and businesses. In fact, Israeli police picked up where the lynch mob left off, intensifying racist, colonial violence against Palestinians.
In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli police have been subjected to “stop and search” and violently attack and arrest Palestinian youths. Palestinians were also detained for “pointing the finger to the police” and, in some cases, complicating Israeli courts’ requests to be taken into custody as further punishment.
Since early May, Israeli authorities have issued 155 administrative detention orders against Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. This means that 155 more Palestinians have now been arbitrarily jailed for at least six months without charge, bringing the total number of administrative detainees in Israeli prisons to 500.
The raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which triggered the escalation in the first place, also did not stop. Less than three days after declaring a ceasefire with Palestinian factions in Gaza, Israeli forces stormed the mosque’s compound again, attacking worshipers, arresting protesting youths Compelled to. Their aim was to clear the way for extremist Jewish activists to enter al-Aqsa to demonstrate Israel’s dominance over the Muslim holy site.
Israel’s anger also spilled over to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the forced eviction of Palestinians shocked the world and brought international media headlines to the issue of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. Since the end of Ramadan in mid-May, Israeli police have imposed a blockade on the neighborhood, denying entry to all Palestinians who are not its residents. Jewish settlers are of course free to come and go, even if they do not live in Sheikh Jarrah.
The heightened aggression of the Israeli police became apparent on 18 May, when I and other Jerusalemites turned to Sheikh Jarrah to show solidarity with Palestinian families. They were violent for no reason, spraying foul-smelling water and using rubber bullets, sponge-tipped bullets and stun grenades.
The next day, 16-year-old Jana Kiswani, a neighborhood resident, was shot in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet as she stood at the front door of her yard. He suffered a spinal fracture and a serious lung injury.
The violence we witnessed in Sheikh Jarrah over the past few weeks is no coincidence. Israeli officials are outraged that grassroots events led by local youth under the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah have now grown into a massive movement that has attracted the attention of millions around the world. Israel’s anger was evident not only in the violence in the neighborhood, but also in their decision to whitewash the murals that Palestinian residents painted on the walls of their homes and threatened with fines if the murals were returned . Needless to say, the murals reappeared the next morning.
Although the Israeli court adjourned until June a hearing on the eviction of seven Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, it is clear that the Israeli authorities have no intention of slowing down the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and the rest of historic Palestine.
The Palestinians in Sylvan, my family originally from the city of Jerusalem, also continue to face similar threats of eviction and house demolition on the same “legal” grounds that the Israeli courts have deployed in Sheikh Jarrah. Around 100 Palestinians from 18 households in Silwan are fighting for their right to stay in their homes. The fact that – as Amnesty International and other organizations have pointed out – forced evictions amount to war crimes has not stopped the Israeli government from pursuing this brutal plan to maintain “a solid Jewish majority in the city”. , as officially prescribed. Master plan of Jerusalem Municipality.
Its ethnic cleansing campaign is aided by settler organizations such as Eteret Kohanim and Nahalat Simeon International, which are registered as non-profits in the United States and do business to help evict Native Palestinians from their lands. -Able to do free fundraising. In this fight, the Palestinians only have themselves and international grassroots solidarity to rely on. And yet, they keep going even when their oppressor feels the most courage.
Despite the continuing Israeli repression of Palestinian protest and activism, the spirit of the Palestinian National Movement is alive, well and thriving, with Jerusalem at its heart. The youth of this city and the people of all of Historic Palestine exude courage and their energy is infectious. They are capturing the hearts and minds of people around the world, opening their eyes to Israel’s crimes and apartheid, and inflicting one moral defeat after the Israeli regime.
Our voice is powerful. We are united, we feel honored, and proudly and brazenly saying “We are Palestinian and we are here to stay!”
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