The Jerusalemites' victory in the Damascus Gate clashes laid bare the insignificance of the Israeli occupation soldiers and their reckless behaviour. This was obvious in the photos and videos showing the confrontations between the heavily armed soldiers and the young Jerusalemites, who stood tall and confronted them bare-chested with their heads held high in a scene of unmatched bravery.
Every time I look into their eyes and observe the moves of the security forces it seems as if their only wish is to get through the day without being forced to engage with a Jerusalemite in a confrontational situation. These young Palestinians reject Israel's repeated attempts to change the demographic reality in the Old City of Jerusalem and impose a Jewish presence at the expense of the indigenous people. The occupation authorities also want to ensure that illegal settlers can get into the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque, with protection from the security forces, both soldiers and police. This is a blatant violation of international agreements based on preserving the status quo in the city as it was prior to its occupation in 1967.
What is impressive is that the Palestinians were led during the Damascus Gate clashes by young people aged between 15 and 20. This generation was born after the 2000 Aqsa Intifada, and the Israelis have gambled on them being ready to conform to the occupation-imposed system, delinquent and misguided. However, these youngsters have proven the Israelis to be wrong at every turn, whether in the battle of the "electronic gates" in 2017 or the latest campaign to protect access to the Damascus Gate. They have not forgotten who they are and what they must do.
The sense that the soldiers are insignificant extends to their officers and the officials who direct them. One video being circulated on social media shows an officer negotiating with a young Jerusalemite over the possibility of surrendering the Damascus Gate square to the Palestinians and keeping the stair area. The young man's answer was full of strength and humour: "The stairs come before the square. Ramadan for us would not be complete without sitting on these stairs."
Despite their military superiority and advanced training, Israeli soldiers are reckless. They come across as a uniformed gang whose members are triggered easily by insults and irritated by the celebrations of young people at the Damascus Gate. All they can do in response is try to take brutal revenge on women and make random arrests to satisfy their vanity and arrogance.
They were, however, very careful not to kill any Palestinian, because they knew perfectly well the significant price that would be paid if any youths were martyred during these clashes.
Once again, despite more than seventy years of Israeli occupation, the determination of the population of Jerusalem has been shown to be undiminished. The people's steely will ensured that the Israeli forces were unable to erect barriers in one of the squares of the Old City.
Those young Jerusalemites may have a normal or even less than normal life, but in their veins runs an unmatched fervour that prevents them from standing aside helplessly and watching while the occupation soldiers desecrate the holy city and its sanctities, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque. They have demonstrated to the world the insignificance of the Israeli occupation soldiers and the fragility of their presence.
It is clear that no matter how much time passes by, theft remains theft and cannot become lawful. The Palestinian people are the rightful owners of their land, regardless of the presence of the thieves. It is inevitable that they will regain their legitimate entitlement as long as Palestinian awareness, determination, and steadfastness are handed down from generation to generation.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.