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The Israeli occupation provokes Palestinians religiously before Ramadan

March 13, 2022 at 11:00 am

Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians while they were gathering to mark Lailat al Miraj near Masjid al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem on February 28, 2022. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

In light of the escalation of attacks on Palestinians and the Israeli acts of aggression in occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli intelligence forums predict that this will lead to a wave of security tensions before Ramadan.

Israeli intelligence forums monitored what they believe to be a series of Palestinian operations in East Jerusalem, especially in the Bab Al-Amud area, particularly following the stabbing attacks on soldiers and settlers. These incidents occurred in conjunction with religious events, such as Israʾ and Miʿraj, and soon, the month of Ramadan. This confirms that the occupation forces did not learn the necessary lessons from the 2021 war.

The analysis of field events in Jerusalem indicates that Al-Aqsa Mosque constitutes a permanent point of conflict between the two sides, requiring the occupation army to find an appropriate way to neutralise or dismantle these points, including the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the Old City. This is especially the case with the upcoming Palestinian national occasions commemorating the Nakba and the Deir Yassin massacre, with a focus on Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.

The accelerated rate of escalation in East Jerusalem also indicates that a flare-up is likely. Nonetheless, Israeli security officials do not take any steps to prevent further complicating the existing tension. As a result, what happened last year may be repeated.

In addition to the security tensions concerning Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalemites complain about the racism against them by the Israeli authorities who make life difficult for them, in preparation for their expulsion from Jerusalem within the framework of Israeli ethnic cleansing.

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The Israeli security communities are concerned about the “Big Dawn” campaign where Jerusalemites, inhabitants of the West Bank and Palestinians of 1948 were called via social media to attend a weekly event every Friday at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The occupation knows very well that the purpose of these campaigns is to strengthen the Palestinian presence at Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the one hand, and to challenge the Israeli occupation that claims sovereignty over it, on the other. Therefore, this was at the forefront of political issues concerning the Palestinians and was considered a platform for incitement against the occupation, which is well aware that any security escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque may spark a new Intifada in all territories of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli conclusion is that the Palestinian public still remembers the events of Ramadan 2021, which led to the Gaza war, and they considered it a great victory over the Israeli occupation. Although the occupation is not interested in escalation, for the time being, it will not be able to remain silent for long if religious events develop at Al-Aqsa Mosque before Ramadan.

At the same time, Bab Al-Amud in occupied Jerusalem still represents an element of security tension. In light of continuous Israeli violations, crimes of settlers and the attempts by the “Temple Movements” to Judaise the various landmarks of the Holy City, the occupation army does not hesitate to use aggressive means against Palestinians.

Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians while they were gathering to mark Lailat al Miraj near Masjid al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem on February 28, 2022. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians while they were gathering to mark Lailat al Miraj near Masjid al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem on February 28, 2022. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

While Muslims worldwide celebrated Israʾ and Miʿraj, Palestinians headed to East Jerusalem from all parts of occupied Palestine to commemorate the occasion. However, Bab Al-Amud turned into a battlefield due to the occupation’s attacks on Palestinians in an effort to spoil their religious celebrations.

Occupation police and border guards were deployed extensively at Bab Al-Amud in front of tens of thousands of Palestinians celebrating the religious occasion, while Israeli soldiers used batons and sound bombs. A video of an eleven-year-old girl who was injured was widely circulated by activists on social media platforms.

Despite all the significant political events that Israelis have experienced in recent months, it is not easy to forget the violence by the police against Palestinians in Bab Al-Amud and the Old City. The result is that they may open their eyes too late after a new war has already approached and is about to erupt.

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Bab Al-Amud has a high possibility of erupting due to the arbitrary Israeli measures it is experiencing. Therefore, during the first moments preceding the outbreak of the last Gaza war, many civil and human rights organisations warned of the consequences of such steps, especially in a place considered a central gathering for Palestinian youth.

Nonetheless, the occupation forces ignored these calls and caused a domino effect, which developed into the Gaza war. Today, more than ten months after its outbreak, what is happening in Bab Al-Amud and East Jerusalem reveals an increase in the intensity of occupation police violence. Specifically, it shows the occupation’s concentration in this area, where the provocations bear a more serious dimension because they coincide with Muslim religious celebrations.

We are not facing new Israeli repressive practises in Bab Al-Amud in particular, but it is clear that the occupation police, border guards and army are determined to use force against Palestinians this time. This should worry Israel because it may pay the price for this arbitrary policy. It will lead to another escalation due to the Israeli persistence in practising more violence and oppression against Palestinians under the pretext of imposing alleged Israeli “sovereignty” in the Holy City.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.