With the start of the holy month of Ramadan, Israel has increased attacks on Palestinians celebrating near the Damascus gate in occupied East Jerusalem. Following a visit by Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid near the Damascus gate on Sunday, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the site in the evening. Israeli forces attacked the crowd with tear gas, rubber coated bullets and stun grenades and arrested at least 14 Palestinians. At least 19 Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. On Monday, April 4, Israeli forces arrested a 21-year-old Palestinian for sharing videos of violence committed by them at the Damascus gate on Sunday.
A Palestinian man who’s son is taken by Israeli police is badly beaten on his head for demanding his son is returned to him at Damascus Gate…
This isn’t an exception. It’s standard practice by Israeli regime forces. https://t.co/RiMMTYnFlp
— Dr. Yara Hawari د. يارا هواري (@yarahawari) April 4, 2022
The Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas, in separate statements, condemned Lapid’s visit to the Damascus gate on Sunday, calling it a “provocative incursion”.
Lapid’s visit followed the arrest of at least four Palestinians from the area by the Israeli forces after they objected and retaliated to their forceful eviction.
A large number of Palestinians gather near the Damascus gate every evening during the month of Ramadan after prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque and to end the day of fasting.
The occupation forces have a policy of not allowing such gatherings near the Damascus gate. They heavily barricade the area and often use brutal force to disperse the crowds which invites retaliation from the people.
Israeli occupation militias routinely provoke Palestinian worshipers and brutalize them at Damascus Gate near Al Aqsa Mosque.pic.twitter.com/WrNhjV4uv1
— Palestine Info Center (@palinfoen) April 4, 2022
Last year, following weeks-long protests, Israeli forces were forced to remove the barriers near the area. The protests took place in the context of evictions from the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and attacks by ultra-Zionist right-wing sections on the al-Aqsa mosque. The protests continued for almost a month and spread throughout the occupied territories.
There has been a rise in Israeli violence against Palestinians recently despite increasing recognition that the state of Israel is an apartheid state and supposedly heightened international pressure.
According to Quds News Network, at least 31 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces since the beginning of 2022. 17 Palestinians were killed in March alone.
Following last week’s attack on its security forces in which five people died, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, claiming that they were members of Islamic Jihad.
The number of arrests (mostly illegal detentions) and injuries among Palestinians has also gone up in comparison to last year.
In a news report on Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health claimed that Israel killed a total of 355 Palestinians and injured at least 16,500 in 2021. According to the ministry, out of the total Palestinians killed, at least 87 were children and 60 women.
As per data released by the Palestinian Prisoners Society on the eve of Palestinian Child’s Day, at least 160 Palestinian minors are currently languishing in Israeli jails. The group estimates that Israel has detained at least 19,000 Palestinian children since 2000.
Israeli forces shot and killed 2 Palestinians in a refugee camp, including a 17-year-old boy.
Israel has increased military raids and mass arrests in the occupied West Bank — where rights groups accuse Israel of apartheid against Palestinians — after the killing of 11 Israelis. pic.twitter.com/8M6ngIwmcS
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 31, 2022
The majority of the Palestinians killed were from Gaza, which faced an 11-day bombing campaign by Israel last May. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, a total of 265 Palestinians were killed in those attacks and more than 2,000 were injured.