In June 2017, Israeli officials approved a new security strategy at the Damascus Gate after Netanyahu suggested it be turned into a “sterile area” [an area without Palestinians].
Certain routes will be specified for entering the Old City at the Damascus Gate, and more technological devices will be installed and used at the area to maintain Israeli police’s control and surveillance over the area. . . . Palestinians will only be allowed to enter the Old City through Damascus Gate via specific routes, where they will undergo “thorough searches.”
Israeli authorities have completed the construction of a watchtower checkpoint at the entrance of Damascus Gate, the main gate into the Muslim Quarter of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
The watchtower checkpoint is one of three that Israel began to install last month, drawing criticism from Palestinian residents of the Old City, who say the construction watchtower is aimed at further restricting Palestinian access to the area and solidifying an already constant presence of Israeli forces in the area.
Damascus Gate was the site of several violent attacks after a wave of unrest began in October 2015, characterized largely by small-scale stabbing attacks against uniformed Israeli forces.
A number of Palestinians were also shot and killed in the area by Israeli forces in alleged attempted attacks.
In addition to the police watch tower, surveillance cameras have been set up by Israel at almost every corner and street in and around the Old City to monitor all activity.