Al-Quds uprising puts Israel in a bind

April 24, 2021 - 19:54

TEHRAN – Palestinians from all walks of life took to the streets last night in the occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds) for the 11th night in a row to protest against Israeli police and settlers’ provocations against the city’s Palestinians. 

More than 100 Palestinians have been wounded after Israeli police moved to attack and arrest protesters. 

Armed Israeli police scuffled with Palestinians angered by extremist Jews in the occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds) for a second night on Friday amid simmering tensions caused by provocative measures by Israeli authorities and settlers. 

Tensions have been intensifying in al-Quds since at least the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims across the world begin a 30-day period of prayers and fasting. Muslims, including the Palestinians, usually pray and worship God more in Ramadan. That happens in public places such as mosques. However, Israeli authorities imposed strict restrictions and bans on gathering in public places. 

In an attempt to prevent Palestinians from observing their Ramadan traditions, the Israeli police set up checkpoints in some squares and closed them to the Palestinians at night.

To make things worse, authorities paved the way for extremist far-right Jews to stage anti-Arab marches. These extremists marched in the occupied Jerusalem chanting provocative slogans such as “death to Arabs,” something that enraged Palestinians and prompted them to launch what some observers called another Intifada which soon spread to other parts of Palestine, including the Gaza strip. 

Three people were injured by Israeli army gunfire and many sites were destroyed in several Israeli strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip Friday night and early Saturday morning, Palestinian news WAFA reported on Saturday. 

It said that Israeli soldiers stationed at the northern Gaza border opened fire at Palestinians who gathered near the fence to protest Israeli treatment of fellow Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, injuring three of them. In the meantime, Israeli artillery fired three missiles at two locations in the northern Gaza Strip causing fire and damaging the sites and nearby homes, WAFA reported, adding that Israeli tanks also fired two shells at locations in the central and southern Gaza Strip causing damage but no injuries.

Israeli warplanes joined in the strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip and fired several missiles at locations in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, causing fire and heavy damage to the sites as well as damage to homes in the vicinity of the attacked sites.

Israel announced that it launched attacks against Gaza after resistance groups stationed there retaliated against Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

National Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip reiterated Saturday that the escalating events in the occupied city of Jerusalem are a “battle to prove national sovereignty” in light of the escalation of Israeli settlers' attacks and daily assaults against Palestinians in the city.

Representatives from these groups demonstrated in Gaza in support of their fellow Palestinians and to protest against the Israeli aggression against the residents of Jerusalem.

Despite Covid-19 bans, Palestinian youths in Gaza staged demonstrations in solidarity with the occupied Jerusalem and to demand resistance against Israel’s attacks.

The armed wings of the Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza launched a barrage of rockets against Israeli targets bordering the strip as the Israeli army bombed Palestinian sites in Gaza.

The Palestinians are locked in a decades-long struggle against Israel to protect their cities and identity. They have staged countless demonstrations so far to make the world understand that Israel is an occupying force and that the Palestinians have the right to live in peace on their ancestral land.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that the Palestinian resistance will not allow the occupation to change the identity of the occupied city of Jerusalem, as it is the eternal capital of the Palestinians, and will not accept the continued incursion by settlers towards its people.

On the other hand, Israel claims that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, a claim recognized only by a handful of countries while the international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Palestinian territories it occupied in the 1960s.

Hazem told Al Araby Al Jadeed that what is happening is part of a major and continuous struggle between the Palestinian people and the occupation project aimed at eliminating the Palestinian presence.

The timing of Israel unleashing far-right extremists against Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem raised questions on whether Israel is deliberately stirring the pot of East Jerusalem to prevent the Palestinians from holding their first national election in 15 years.

The vote is scheduled for May 22. But Israel is still insisting that it won’t let Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem participate in the election, a clear violation of democratic rules and previous agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. 

Israel’s stubborn opposition to trappings of democracy caused the United Nations and European members of the Security Council to call on Tel Aviv to allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to exercise their right to vote.

“It is very important that Palestinians in all parts of the occupied Palestinian territory are able to participate in this very important democratic process,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Some current and former members of the UN Security Council also called for a similar thing. 

“We stand ready to support free, fair, and inclusive elections across the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and welcome the constructive engagement by the Palestinian factions,” Security Council members Estonia, France, and Ireland, and former members Germany and Belgium said in a statement.

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