Why so much rests on the fate of a tiny neighborhood in East Jerusalem

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Palestinians protesting at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. (photo: Amir Levy / Getty Images)
The attempts by settlers to forcibly displace Palestinian families have set off a catastrophe

By Rula Salameh | The New York Times | May 11, 2021

The protests at Al Aqsa against denying us access to our holy sites are related to the same oppressive process of disenfranchisement and occupation.

JERUSALEM — I watched the wailing ambulances bring the injured, the medical staff carry them on stretchers and the nurses guide them into the emergency ward. I saw blood-soaked clothes and gauze-wrapped necks and faces.

On Monday more than 330 Palestinians were wounded by the Israeli police at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Many of those needing medical attention were taken to Al Makassed hospital, about a mile and a half from the mosque, in East Jerusalem.

Tensions had been rising as Israel blocked access for Palestinians from outside Jerusalem headed to the mosque for prayers during the last days of Ramadan, the sacred Muslim month of fasting. Serious violence erupted on Jerusalem Day, when Israelis annually celebrate their capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. Early Monday, Israeli police officers stormed the mosque compound and began firing rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades at some Palestinians who were praying and others who were throwing stones.

I am a Palestinian community organizer and film producer and live in Beit Hanina, less than five miles from Al Aqsa Mosque and Al Makassed hospital. I have been part of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation for years.

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