Commentators in favor of our Jerusalemmitis have clearly felt the need to turn the clich “of the” cycle of violence “, call for a” return to peace “and usually engage both sides whenever violence breaks out. And in the last few weeks, we’ve heard them again. There are no equal sides in Jerusalem.
The problem with these statements is that they whitewash the fact that Jerusalem is a city under violent occupation and that its intention to gently encourage the occupying Israeli tribes is quite public.
In this sense, violence is a permanent feature of the lives of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, even if outside observers consider the streets to be “quiet.” And it’s not a matter of “both sides” de-escalating.
This was particularly violent for the Palestinians Jerusalem last year. The relentless harassment, arrests, house demolitions and displacement by the Israeli authorities have reduced the impact of COVID-19 on our community, ultimately aimed at ethnic cleansing of the city.
No one should be surprised at the extent to which Palestinians have expressed outrage at the Israeli occupation authorities in Israeli cities. Their occupation of the rights of our community is endless and directly responsible for any outbreak of violence.
The same thing happened with the latest violence, which began in the first days of the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a special time for Muslims around the world, but in Jerusalem, the festive atmosphere is simply magical. It’s a time when young and old – together with friends and family, stroll the city streets, buy sweets, drink coffee and enjoy light shows, irresistible music shows and street performances.
At no other time of the year will you see Jerusalem alive in the dead of night. It is a special experience that reflects the strong communal ties between the Palestinians in Jerusalem. And it is certainly a favorite occasion for the Israeli authorities to harass the Palestinians and ruin their festivals. There was no difference this year.
On April 12, the day before the start of Ramadan, I went to the Old City via the stairs to the Damascus Gate for my last Humus and Falafel breakfast in Abu Shukri before the start of the month-long fast. On my way, I noticed the first signs that the Israeli authorities were planning something. The space, benches and steps around the Damascus Gate Plaza were blocked by metal barricades. The Damascus Gate, the three police garrisons built in recent years, looks like a militarization camp.
There was no reason to place this obstruction in another popular Ramadan hangout spot other than to annoy the Palestinians. Jerusalemmits were further upset by the decision to ban Palestinians from visiting the West Bank from praying in al-Aqsa, citing a lack of vaccines as an excuse.
The response was immediate: On April 13, the first day of Ramadan, large numbers of young people gathered at the Damascus Gate to protest the voluntary action of the Israeli occupiers. In the days that followed, the protests continued to escalate as the Israelis continued to provoke. On April 22, hundreds of extremist Zionists marched on the old city under the protection of Israeli police, shouting “Death to the Arabs!” With its slogan. The Palestinian youth were relentless in their resistance.
Thirty days of Ramadan, April 25, the barricades fell. I arrived a little after 9pm that night, when people began to gather after Tarabeeh prayers, with huge crowds of Palestinians marching around, determined to bring back the occupied Damascus Gate. The Israeli police withdrew and then the youths were forced to remove all obstacles and poured into space. Chanting, singing and dancing, we re-establish our presence in our land.
But “Victory” was Bitsweet. For almost two weeks, Palestinian youths have been brutally suppressed, beaten, attacked and detained with stun grenades and foul-smelling “curly” water cannons. And while the foreign media focused on these dramatic images, it completely ignored the propaganda of Israel’s other atrocities against Jerusalem.
While Palestinian youths were protesting against the occupation of their public places, some Jerusalem residents faced brutal disposal of their homes.
In the Sheikh Zarah neighborhood of Jerusalem, 500 members of 26 Palestinian families have been evicted from their homes. In February, a court ruled that six Palestinian homes where 227 people lived would be handed over to Jewish settlements. Earlier this week, the court gave Palestinian families four days to “reach an agreement” with the Jewish settlers so that they would leave their homes in exchange for the eviction delay.
The horrific irrationality of the court’s decision is a prime example of Israel’s brutal occupation and ethnic cleansing policies. Palestinians do not have justice in Israeli racist courts. More than 200 families in East Jerusalem are at risk of being evicted because of similar court cases filed against them.
Palestinian families have vowed to resist. In a video that went viral before the court hearing, Sheikh Zarara resident Muna al-Kurdist was seen confronting a settlement about the theft of Palestinian homes, to which he responded with a heavy American accent, “If I don’t steal it, someone else will be held accountable.” Half of the Kurdish homes were settled by Jews in 2009
Home destruction is a more brutal practice by Israelis that has continued for the past year, even the worst of the COVID-19 epidemics. Since March 2020, more than 133 homes and structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing 359 Palestinians, including 17 children.
In February, the municipality of Jerusalem requested the activation of a demolition order against the homes of about 70 Palestinians in the Al-Bustan area of the Silwan neighborhood adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem. The Israeli municipality plans to build an archeological park there. If carried out, these carnage would uproot about 1,500 Palestinians.
Jabal al-Muqabab, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, has suffered the most in the devastation in the past three years, with houses being demolished and families displaced for the Ring Road, which is planned to connect Israeli settlements on the southwest coast to Jerusalem. In June 2020 alone, 23 Palestinian buildings were demolished, displacing 57 people, including three children.
In al-Walaja, seven buildings were destroyed and families were displaced without warning to provide space for the establishment of the Israeli National Park. Houses in the area outside Sur were also demolished because the buildings arbitrarily designated by Israeli authorities were in the “buffer zone.”
Israeli violence does not stop at the eviction and destruction of homes. It also extends to the political sphere, where the Israeli authorities continue to deny the Palestinians in Jerusalem their political rights. They regularly attack and arrest Palestinians who are involved in political activities or try to represent political parties; Even Palestinian Authority (PA) officials were harassed.
In recent days, the Israeli government has unequivocally indicated that it will not allow the Palestinian legal election, held on May 22, to take place in East Jerusalem, where some 400,000 Palestinians live. Israeli police regularly conduct raids that promote Palestinian elections and arrest Palestinian parliamentary candidates. As a result, PA President Mahmoud Abbas formally postponed the planned election, citing Israel’s outright refusal to hold the election process in East Jerusalem.
In contrast, Israelis living in Jerusalem have voted four times in the past two years, many of them voting for the same Jewish extremists who recently voted “Death to the Arabs!” Gave the slogan. On our streets
Jerusalem has disappeared from the news for now, but the occupiers have not left us alone. The colonial violence did not go away. On Thursday, Sheikh Zararah expected Palestinian families to be immediately evicted from their homes by Jewish settlers.
On the weekend of Laylat al-Qadr, one night in Ramadan where the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the busiest, it is called “Jerusalem Day” by the Israelis, the day Israel occupied East Jerusalem. The Israelis marched through our streets that day and raided Al-Aqsa, which was completely protected by the Israeli police, who kept us under strict lockdown. But we will not passively watch.
Israel does its best to turn the lives of Palestinians in Jerusalem into misery and endless struggle. It does everything to make us invisible. But we will not do that. Every day, we face police brutality, arrests, evictions and destruction, poverty and denial of basic human rights. Occupier violence is a permanent feature of our lives.
But we are determined to fight for our city and remain determined, no matter what Israel’s tireless efforts to eradicate us.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the author and his editorial position on Al Jazeera.