For the seventh consecutive night, Israeli forces in Jerusalem cracked down violently on Palestinian demonstrators, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, this coming after Israeli settler mobs chanting “death to Arabs” attacked Palestinians over the weekend.
According to eyewitnesses and local media reports, last night Israeli forces attacked Palestinians following night-time (Taraweh) prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. The confrontations reportedly began at the Damascus Gate, leading into the old city of Jerusalem, where Israel has set up restrictive measures and has been preventing Palestinians from entering the only city to access mosques.
What is interesting is that much of Israeli media characterized the confrontations as riots and clashes, despite Israel’s most trusted news source Haaretz stating that there was no evidence of stone throwing. In fact, the Israeli News outlet says that most of the men were seen chanting Allahu Akbar (God is great) and reacted by letting off fireworks when confronted by riot police with shields, on horse-back and with skunk water trucks.
Israeli forces have reportedly arrested at least 30 Palestinians since the beginning of Ramadan and have used methods such as tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to confront demonstrators. Israeli police forces have also been filmed violently arresting Palestinian youths and brutally assaulting others who took part in demonstrations.
The first provocation by Israeli occupation forces came last Tuesday, the first day of the month of Ramadan, when Israeli police turned off speakers around the al-Aqsa compound. The ‘racist’ move was justified by Israel, by stating that they did not want a memorial service for dead occupation soldiers, held at the nearby ‘Western Wall’, disrupted by sounds of Muslim worship.
On Saturday night Israeli police arrested three Jerusalemite candidates for the upcoming Palestinian elections. The three were reportedly trying to hold a news briefing on the upcoming democratic elections in Jerusalem, something that Israel opposes.
Home demolitions in East Jerusalem have also continued, with the latest case coming this Tuesday in Jabal al-Mukaber, East Jerusalem. Amjad Ja’abees was forced to tear down his own home, or risk having to pay exuberant costs for the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to have it done for him.
This year, some 2,100 Palestinians, living in the neighborhoods Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan alone, are under direct threat of being expelled from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers or settler projects.
On Sunday an angry racist mob of Israeli settlers set out across Jerusalem to attack Palestinians, the group was caught chanting “death to Arabs” and was reportedly assaulting anyone with an Arab accent. This Monday night, another racist settler mob attacked Palestinians on Jaffa street, leading to fights between locals and the Jewish supremacists. There have even been reports that Israeli settlers were lighting up barbecues in Jerusalem’s old city, deliberately to inflame tensions with Palestinians who were fasting, such is the racist nature of these settler groups.
What’s more is that last Wednesday an anti-Palestinian draft-bill received 42 signatures from Israeli Knesset members, which aims to strip Palestinian-Israelis of their citizenships and Jerusalemites of their Jerusalem ID, if they engage in resistance attacks against ‘Israel’. This would mean that Palestinians who live in and are indigenous to Jerusalem and what is now ‘Israel’, would be stripped of their identity and forced into the occupied territories under military occupation.
‘Israel’ and its some 350,000 illegal settler colonists in East Jerusalem, are deliberately inflaming tensions with Palestinians and working to ethnically cleanse the city. The aim for ‘Israel’ and its racist neo-Nazi settlers is to make conditions so horrific for Jerusalemites that they leave, or to physically force them out of their homes.
Perhaps one of the most extreme cases of racist persecution is on full display this Ramadan in Jerusalem, yet the world’s eyes are completely closed to it. Perhaps the only solid move from inside the Western world has come from US Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are calling for conditioning their nations military aid to ‘Israel’ in order to advance the cause of peace. If they are able to follow through on this and the US eventually adopts this strategy, this could be a constructive way to pressure ‘Israel’ to halt its anti-peace agenda, but for the foreseeable future, that seems far away.