The Judaisation of Jerusalem has implications for the wider struggle to liberate Palestine

Palestine Update 471

The Judaisation of Jerusalem has implications for the wider struggle to liberate Palestine

While Israel’s military offensive against Gaza may have taken the spotlight off the expulsion of Palestinian families from Jerusalem, its bid to engineer demographic changes in the occupied city and control the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa have serious implications for the struggle to liberate occupied Palestine. The trigger of the current crises was the eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, just over a mile to the north

1967 Occupation, Naksa –Cartoon
[Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

of the Old City, on the road to Mount Al-Masharif. This spiralled into protests before Israeli police attacked worshippers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque on the auspicious Night of Al-Qadr on 10 May.

At the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took control of East Jerusalem, it agreed to maintain the status quo at Al-Aqsa, which includes the Dome of Rock and Qibli Mosques, leaving their custodianship to the Jordanian Ministr
y of Religious Endowments. Jews were allowed to have access to Al-Buraq Wall (“the Wailing Wall”) on the western side of Al-Aqsa. Over the years, however, Israel has not only expelled Palestinian Muslims from the city but is making access to Al-Aqsa Mosque increasingly difficult for them.

The population of illegal Israeli settlers in Jerusalem is growing at a faster rate than the population of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the total population of Jerusalem was 882,700 in 2016, with 536,600 Jews, 319,800 Muslims, 15,800 Christians and 10,300 unclassified.

Until the early 20th century, Muslims were a majority in the city. According to Ottoman-era taxation registers, recorded by authors Amnon Cohen and Bernard Lewis in their book Population and Revenue in the Towns of Palestine in the Sixteenth Century, the Jewish population in 1553 was 1,958; there were also 12,154 Muslims and 1,956 Christians in a total population of 16,068.

‘A war declaration’: Palestinians in Israel decry mass arrests
Israeli police launch wave of detentions targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel who rallied in support of Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa, and Gaza.
Israeli police announced they will arrest hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel over the coming days for their participation in recent sit-ins in support of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip. The wave of mass arrests will take place as part of what police called “operation law and order”. It is intended to penalise those who have taken part in demonstrations against settler violence, the Israeli forces’ crackdown on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and the military’s 11-day bombardment campaign of Gaza, which killed 248 people.
Israeli police said some 1,550 people have already been arrested since May 9 and the campaign is a “continuation” that aims to “prosecute” demonstrators who have over the past two weeks taken to the streets in towns and cities across Israel. Thousands of security forces from “all units” will be deployed to carry out raids, it said, in towns and cities predominantly inhabited by Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population.

The statement did not say the campaign would target Jewish settlers who have attacked Palestinians and their homes, as documented in videos and images widely shared on social media. Police – including border guards and reserve brigades – will search homes and conduct “investigations” until charges are submitted and prison sentences are imposed, it added. Hassan Jabareen, the general director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, declared the campaign a “war” against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists and minors. The massive arrest operation is a “militarised war against Palestinian citizens of Israel,” Jabareen said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera on Monday, urging a “rapid response” from all Palestinian political movements, parties, and from the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. The purpose of the arrests is to “intimidate and to exact revenge on Palestinian citizens of Israel – ‘to settle the score’ with Palestinians, in the Israeli police’s own words – for their political positions and activities”, he said.

Israeli police launches wave of mass arrests against Palestinian citizens of Israel
 “Israeli police Monday overnight launched a wave of mass arrests against Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of violent crackdown on recent protests against Israel’s brutal settler-colonialism and apartheid regime. Thousands of notorious Israeli border police officers and reserve brigades started a large-scale detention campaign to arrest over 500 young Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of what Israel dubbed as “Operation Law and Order” to “settle accounts” with the latter over their participation in protests against Israel’s colonial policies, including the forced displacements in Sheikh Jarrah, encroachments upon Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and settler mob violence. As part of executing the campaign, the forces are carrying out violent arrests, kick into doors and brutalize and intimidate minors and families in the impoverished communities across Israel. Director of the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), Hasan Jabarin, slammed the arrest campaign as a “declaration of war against Palestinian protestors, political activists and minors to take revenge against them for their recent political and national positions”. While Israel has depicted the campaign as intended to restore order and deterrence against “rioters” and “criminals” involved in attacks against “Jews” over the past two weeks, Palestinian citizens of Israel have maintained that it intended to intimidate and discipline those who participated in the recent protests and crush their resilience and resistance to Israel’s apartheid and colonial regime and settler mob violence.”

Israel has declared war against Palestinians who dare to resist its colonial project and demand freedom
“Israel has declared war against Palestinians who dare to resist its colonial project and demand freedom. Today, the Israeli police announced their intent to arrest over 500 Palestinian citizens of Israel over the next 48 hours. This wave of mass arrests will take place as part of what Israel calls a “law and order” campaign. Thousands of police officers will carry out violent arrests, kicking into doors, brutalizing families and kidnapping our brothers and sisters. This is not just an attempt to intimidate and discipline those who participated in the Unity Uprising for justice and liberation. This is a declaration of war. It is the settler colonial project’s way of attempting to crush our people’s spirit, resistance and resilience. Over 1400 have already been arrested since May 9th. At least 200 people will be charged. Israel’s arrest campaigns have primarily targeted minors & working class kids. Do not remain silent. Speak up & make it a priority for your solidarity campaign.”

Lawyers for Defending the Uprising Detainees | the Terror of Israel’s Arrests
“Since the start of protests in the 1948′ Occupied Lands from Sunday May 9th, 2021 to Friday evening, May 14th, 2021, in addition to hundreds detained in Jerusalem and the West Bank, more than 700 people have been detained, including tens of children. It is abundantly clear from the details of the arrests that the goal is to terrorize Palestinians and deter them from protesting and taking to the streets, as well as to thwart their efforts to defend their families, homes, neighborhoods, and towns from organized assaults by Zionist mobs. Through these arrests, the Israeli security agencies and the legal system provided protection and cover for those mobs who not only assaulted, abused and shot at Palestinians; they also set fires and destroyed their property. “

Root causes of Israel-Palestine conflict must be addressed: UNRWA

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini speaks during a press conference at the UN compound in Gaza City on May 23, 2021. [Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)
Philippe Lazzarini said the situation in Gaza is getting worse because the very basis of the conflict has not been addressed.

“Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said on Sunday “the layers of hardship in Gaza keep getting thicker” because the very basis of the conflict has not been addressed. Lazzarini promised to urge the international community to address “the root causes of the conflict, the occupation, the displacement, of which we had a strong reminder in East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah, the blockade and the cycle of violence – this sense of normality will only be a mirage until the next conflict.”