Occupied Jerusalem

- Before the Maghrib call to prayer and until midnight, Jerusalemites gather in the square and terraces of Bab al-Amoud, as usual, in the blessed month of Ramadan, spontaneously, as it is the national and social icon in which they find an outlet for themselves and a space to emphasize the Arab identity of the place.

The throat of a young man sings the song “The Moon of Our Prophet.” Then the young men gather around him and chant her words with him. Nearby is a small child, no more than three years old, who rolls and runs innocently in front of dozens of young men who did not hesitate to encourage him with cheers and applause.

The seller of Ramadan corn and juices and the sellers of Ramadan decorations spread around them in an exceptional atmosphere that is not disturbed except by the presence of dozens of elements from the occupation army, police and special forces who prepared to deal with Jerusalemites during the holy month with an iron hand.

This large presence was preceded by arbitrary measures taken by the police since the first night of Ramadan, which indicate that they were determined to wage their war on Bab al-Amud again in an attempt to impose their sovereignty over it.

Yair Lapid during his provocative tour of "Bab al-Amud" and the Old City of Jerusalem (Anatolia)

series of provocations

On the first night of Ramadan, the police erected iron screens in a way that restricts the seating and movement of Jerusalemites, and followed this by erecting a mobile center near Bab al-Amud on the second night.

On the morning of the second day, specialized teams began installing headlights on top of the observation rooms that were built by the occupation force in 2017, in the vicinity of Bab al-Amud.

Hours later, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stormed Bab al-Amud and the Old City, accompanied by Inspector General of Police Kobi Shabtai and the Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman.

During his tour, Lapid said, "We are talking about a difficult period in which tension prevails, but we have police that we can trust to get through this complicated period... I am proud of the police, the border guards, the IDF forces, and everyone who guards us in these tense days."

During his provocative tour, Lapid emphasized "to provide all the necessary resources for the police to be able to carry out its duty in the best way."

In the same context, the police announced the deployment of 3,000 policemen in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleys of the Old City, with a focus on deploying overt and secret forces in the Bab Al-Amoud area, which, according to police allegations, turned into a "ring for rioting and disturbing public order."

An elderly man was severely beaten by special forces after trying to free his son from arrest in Bab al-Amoud yesterday, Sunday (Al-Jazeera)

The Bab al-Amoud area and the adjacent Sultan Suleiman Street witnessed violent confrontations on the second day of Ramadan, during which the police used sound and gas bombs, and indiscriminately attacked those present with severe beatings, and announced the arrest of 10 Jerusalemites, confirming their intention to carry out a campaign of arrests in East Jerusalem against the background of the confrontations.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society announced that it dealt with 19 people during the clashes on the second day of Ramadan, and ambulance crews transferred 4 injuries to the hospital.

Jerusalemites refute the occupation’s narrative in which it claims that Jerusalemites initiate targeting the occupying forces in the place by throwing stones and empty bottles, stressing that the provocative means devised by the occupation with the advent of Ramadan every year are enough to ignite confrontations throughout the month.

The Jerusalemite Bara'a Abu Ramoz, who is located in Bab al-Amud on a daily basis, spoke about her relationship with the place, saying that it is the only outlet for Jerusalemites in light of the lack of sufficient space to contain them.

"It is the place I go to to meet friends and relatives, have tea and coffee and exchange parties, and in Ramadan we intensify our meetings on its stands," she said.

Abu Ramoz believes that the intense presence of the occupation forces and the transformation of Bab al-Amoud into a military barracks is the main reason for the outbreak of confrontations in the area.

"I noticed the spread of a huge number of all units of oppression in and around Bab al-Amud and the alleys of the Old City, and this naturally leads to friction with Jerusalemites and thus ignites violent confrontations," she says.

Regarding the various manifestations of the Bab al-Amoud revolt that erupted in the month of Ramadan last year, she said that this year the repression is more violent.

The occupation forces indiscriminately attack passersby and destroy vehicles and motorcycles after arresting their owners.

She added, "Neither the elderly, nor the women nor the children were spared the attacks, and the force of the undercover forces directed weapons directly and indiscriminately at anyone who approached the elements while carrying out the arrests."

A picture showing the large presence of the occupation forces in Bab Al-Amoud yesterday evening (Al-Jazeera)

The closest scenario..escalation

In turn, the academic specializing in Israeli affairs, Adel Shadeed, spoke about the possibility of the escalation of events in Bab al-Amud and their development towards a comprehensive confrontation, saying that Israel had no interest in going towards a new round of escalation with unknown levels, developments and ends.

He explained that this has repercussions on the stability of Naftali Bennett's government and the great strides made by his government and the previous government in the field of "economic peace" and calming the Palestinian situation, and then the course of normalization with a group of Arab regimes, but despite that, there remains the possibility of things turning around and going toward a confrontation, as happened last Ramadan. incoming.

"All indications indicate that Israel has become convinced that the hypothesis of escalation is very close and the issue of preventing the development of events from the Israeli point of view is difficult, and therefore this scenario seems to be the most likely."

On the reinforcement of the police presence in the Holy City with thousands of personnel, the Palestinian academic confirmed that this comes in the context of "defensive" measures from the Israeli point of view, especially after the qualitative operations in the last two weeks, which revealed the fragility of the Israeli security system.

And because Israel cannot acknowledge the major security failure, the state of escalation in Jerusalem comes to cover the security failure to thwart the operations that struck the core of the individual security of the Jewish community on the one hand, and the continuation of the current security operation that Israel called “breaking the waves” on the other hand.