Creating new perspectives since 2009

Jerusalemites pleased at removal of Israel’s barriers at Damascus Gate 

April 27, 2021 at 10:36 am

Palestinian protesters wave the national flag outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 26, 2021 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

Palestinians in Jerusalem are happy at the success of their campaign to have the barriers installed by Israel at one of the main entrances of the Old City providing access to Al-Aqsa Mosque removed. The Israeli police used the steel barriers at the Damascus Gate to create an obstacle for Palestinian worshippers seeking entry to the Noble Sanctuary.

This was a particular problem for the Palestinians during the current fasting month of Ramadan when the mosque is particularly busy. Media reports recalled the previous occasion when the Israeli occupation authorities installed electronic gates in an attempt to control the Palestinians. They too were removed.

Since the start of Ramadan, the Palestinians in Jerusalem have also been facing violence and harassment by extremist Israeli settlers, mainly, followers of the Kahanist Lahava group. The settlers have tried to set fire to Palestinian homes in Jerusalem’s Old City, and have called for those who protest to be killed.

The extremists have been protected in their vicious activities against the Palestinians by Israeli police. More than 100 Palestinian protesters have been wounded in these settler attacks, and more than 100 others have been arrested.

Israel has been working to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque spatially and in terms of access times, as it has done at Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, to allow Jewish settlers to enter the sanctuary and carry out religious rituals. The Muslims in Hebron have had a decreasing amount of space in the mosque ever since an extremist settler shot and killed 29 Palestinians as they prayed there on 25 February 1994. Baruch Goldstein also wounded 125 others before he was overpowered and killed.

READ: Palestinian protestors force Israel police to withdraw from Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate