After week-long protests, Israel removes barriers at Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem

The Damascus Gate has been a popular gathering point for Palestinians during Ramadan. Thousands have been protesting the restrictions, facing violence and marches by ultra-right-wing groups who are often supported by the occupation forces

April 26, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Damascus gate, Al-Aqsa
Palestinians gather at Damascus Gate near Al-Aqsa mosque after lifting of restrictions. (Photo: Wafa)

Israel has removed barricades at the Damascus Gate near the Al Aqsa mosque following over a week of protests in Occupied East Jerusalem. Metal barriers had been previously set up at the Damascus Gate area to prevent Palestinians from gathering there. The decision to remove the barricades was announced on Sunday, April 25 even as violence continued against Palestinians. For more than a week, Israeli right-wing sections and security forces had unleashed violence against Palestinians protesting the restrictions which were imposed by Israel at the beginning of Ramadan.

The Damascus gate near the Al Aqsa mosque has been a popular gathering point for Palestinians during Ramadan. Protesting Palestinians have faced violence and marches by ultra-right-wing and supremacist Zionist groups, often supported by the occupation forces.

After the withdrawal of the restrictions was announced by the Israeli police, thousands of Palestinians took out a march against racism and violence in the central part of the city.

Ultra-right wing Zionist groups, such as Lehava, carried out attacks against Palestinians throughout last week. They held marches raising slogans like “death to Arabs” under the watch of the Israeli security forces. On Thursday, April 22, security forces attacked Palestinians with water cannons and stun grenades when they were opposing one such march, leading to over 100 injuries. Security forces also arrested scores of Palestinians at a time when the Israeli right-wing was carrying out sporadic violence against Palestinians – attacking them on roads, in their homes and at workplaces.

Meanwhile, there were reports in the Israeli media of rockets being launched from inside the Gaza strip towards Israel. According to the reports, beginning on Friday, at least three rockets were fired inside Israel in retaliation to the ultra-right-wing violence in Jerusalem. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade reportedly carried out the attacks. In response, the Israeli authorities announced the closing off the Gaza fishing zone completely from Monday. Fishing is one of the main sources of livelihood in Gaza, which is reeling under severe land, air and sea blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

Israeli forces also opened fire on protesters in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Sunday when they were protesting against the violence in Jerusalem. At least three Palestinians sustained gunfire injuries in the village of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya. The Israeli army attacked the protesters with tear gas, stun grenades and live gunfire, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Similar incidents of protests against the Israeli violence were reported from other parts of the occupied territories.

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