Israel yesterday carved a hole into the Old City walls of occupied Jerusalem to create a new “gate” near the ancient Damascus Gate (Bab Al-Amoud).
The news came from Palestinian sources inside the city which said that for several days the Jerusalem Municipality has been making changes to an inner courtyard of the Christian Quarter, Quds Press reported. The new “gate” is thought to lead to Christian homes inside the Old City, but the reasons for its construction are unclear.
The community leader, Basem Saeed Wajih, told Quds Press that “we have not been informed of any changes or new alleys or roads in the Christian Quarter by the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality.”
Israel regularly acts with impunity against Jerusalem’s infrastructure. Yesterday, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian printing press in the city’s Silwan neighbourhood, just outside the Mughrabi Gate. Israeli forces subsequently detained and assaulted the Palestinian inhabitants who filmed the incident. A Jerusalemite whose family members were detained said that “they [Israeli forces] just used an unbelievable amount of violence, they had army forces and didn’t notify us [of the demolition] at all.”
Earlier this week, Israel also razed Palestinian land in Jerusalem’s Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood, despite not having a court order to do so. Hashem Badr, a member of a local committee, said that Israeli bulldozers entered the neighbourhood and began to raze the land and uproot several trees under the protection of Israeli occupation forces. Badr stressed that the Custodian of Absentees’ Property, the department responsible for the razing, attempted to claim ownership of the property and carry out the seizure of the land without an official court order.
Jerusalem has been under Israeli occupation since the Six Day War of 1967. Following the war of 1948, which saw the creation of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba, Jerusalem was divided into two with the East (including the Old City) falling under Jordanian control and the West under Israeli control. The city is now administered by Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, which is seen by Jerusalemite Palestinians as an illegitimate institution and often boycotted in municipal elections.