At the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the Israeli police not only stormed the Moorish minarets and Bab al-Silsilah in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and cut off the loudspeaker wires in them, but rather inflicted on the Jerusalemites the joy of receiving the holy month by installing iron screens in which the amphitheater was closed (one of the gates of the Old City), to prevent gathering in this The area, which is the most prominent gathering place for Palestinians.
As the worshipers left the Old City through this gate, the occupation forces deliberately dispersed them by firing rubber bullets and sound bombs, and the youths responded to them by throwing fireworks, and so far dozens of people have been arrested following the ongoing confrontations in this place for the sixth consecutive day.
The young Jerusalemite Hanadi Al-Qawasmi told Al-Jazeera Net that, in recent years, the Damascus Gate has turned into a vital, social and political center for Jerusalemites.
Over the past decade, it has witnessed many demonstrations and social events, and it has turned into a kind of city center where people meet, and the Jerusalem presence doubles especially during Ramadan.
The occupation seeks to convert the Damascus Gate into a safe space for settlers (Al Jazeera Net)
Adjust and narrow
Hanadi Al-Qawasmi believes that the attacks are mainly aimed at trying to prevent or control this gathering, because the Israeli security rationale is afraid of any Palestinian gathering that might be used to confront the occupation, but sometimes it may not be concerned with total prevention, but rather to precisely and restrict the gathering until the gathering reaches a form that satisfies it.
"Israel is suppressing people at the Damascus Gate, first by preventing them from sitting in it, then by chasing them with bombs and rubber bullets in the area until their legs are cut off from it."
Ziad Abhais, a researcher on Jerusalem affairs, said that the occupation realized after the uprising in the Lions Gate that it was necessary to surround the popular gathering points in Jerusalem, and to re-engineer the possibility of popular assembly in the vicinity of the Old City so that the same upheaval would not be repeated.
Abhais confirmed that the two doors the occupation was keen on re-engineering their entrances were the Damascus and the tribes doors, and the procedures at the Damascus Gate were easier and closer to the presence of a square in front of it, while the Lions Gate is the most knocked door leading directly to the street, and thus the siege procedures were slightly delayed.
Ziad Al-Hammouri: The strategic objectives were behind converting Bab al-Amud into a military barracks (Al-Jazeera Net)
The Jordan-based researcher added that exactly half a year after the Lions Gate endowment, a side security control room and 3 watchtowers were erected in the square opposite the door, and a fourth watchtower was added later, in addition to an observation room located on the roof of the door, and the permanent presence of the police at the door itself.
Thus, the door was turned into a military barracks.
"The barracks are an attempt to take this space from the Jerusalemite community and prevent it from gathering in it, whatever this gathering, and turn it into a protected gathering point, and most likely it will become for the settlers. Therefore, we see the settlers when they go to the celebrations of the Day of the Unification of Jerusalem, for example, they deliberately gather in the Damascus Gate specifically, because it has turned into a protected space. And relatively safe. "
Based on these data, Abhais believes that any battle at the Damascus Gate is an important battle for the space surrounding the Old City, and an important battle for the heart of the city and its identity, regardless of the position of any one of the social practices carried out by those leading the confrontation today in the place.
In turn, the director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, Ziyad al-Hammouri, said that strategic goals were behind the transformation of Bab al-Amud into a military barracks by erecting permanent points for soldiers and an integrated surveillance camera system that monitors the most accurate movements in the region and its surroundings.
He added, "The worrying thing is the continuous attempts, under various pretexts, to dry up the arrival of Jerusalemites to the Old City, and to intimidate and terrorize them by deliberately provoking the youth into the outbreak of daily confrontations, as we are witnessing now."
A general picture from the Damascus Gate, showing one of the permanent military points designated for Israeli soldiers (Al-Jazeera Net)
Dozens of detainees
As for whether the Damascus Gate will turn into a daily battlefield this Ramadan, Al-Hamouri asserted that there are always seeds of an uprising in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalemites are congested as a result of the daily arbitrary Israeli measures against them, and that they are ready to resist without limits every time they feel that the occupier is trying to cut their communication and separate them from Their identity and sanctities.
Al-Maqdisi lawyer Hamzah Qutayna indicated that dozens of young men have been arrested since the first day of the holy month until now due to the clashes that broke out in the vicinity of Bab al-Amud and al-Sahira, and that some of them were released on conditions, while others were brought before the court and it was decided to extend their detention.
Commenting on the recent events, he told Al-Jazeera Net that the Israeli police, since the beginning of Ramadan, have been conducting provocative actions that increase friction with the Palestinians in the vicinity of the Old City, such as preventing the people of the city from sitting in Bab al-Amud, although it is the main place approved for decades for Jerusalemites to gather, especially during Ramadan. .
"The police and heavily armed soldiers provoke the youths by conducting humiliating and unjustified searches in front of passers-by, which angered them and leads to friction that develops into confrontations, and the police accelerate the use of violence and excessive force without taking into account the presence of a large number of children and women in the place, and the clear goal is to empty the town Old and intimidating Jerusalemites from heading to it and to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. "
It is noteworthy that a number of extremist settlers - including members of the Knesset - called on the Jews to go to the Damascus Gate to help the soldiers and police in dealing with young Jerusalemites, and among those extremist Netsi Jovshtin, who published a tweet saying, “We received promises to change the situation in Bab al-Amud, members of the Knesset and promised, We will wait and see. I will contact you in the coming days, and if the situation does not change, we will be there on Thursday. "