April 2021…Damascus Gate…the center of events in Jerusalem…198 arrests in the city
The occupation authorities escalated their assault on Jerusalemites in the city during the month of April, especially with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, and Damascus Gate was the center of events in the city, after the iron barriers were placed on its stairs, to prevent Palestinians from sitting and meeting during the days of Ramadan. The courtyard of Damascus Gate was transformed into the point of night confrontation, which spread to the streets adjacent to it and the neighborhoods and towns of Jerusalem.
Wadi Hilweh-Jerusalem Information Center said in its monthly report that the occupation forces carried out dozens of arrests and attacks during the protests against the ban on presence in the area of Damascus Gate. The area and the surrounding streets turned into a military zone, with the occupation authorities deploying their various forces including “special forces, officers, and police.” The cavalry teams, the Musta’ribeen unit (undercover police), the intelligence services, and wastewater and colored water vehicles,". The forces suppressed the Palestinians by various means, andafter 13 days of putting the iron barriers, the occupation authorities were forced to remove them, and despite this, the repression and pursuit of the youths continued, by beating, pushing and electrocuting them, and spraying wastewater in their direction, in a new attempt to prevent them from raising the Palestinian flag or chanting songs and chants of “God is Great” in Damascus Gate square.
The confrontations escalated in the city of Jerusalem on the 22ndof April, following calls by the extreme right-wing "Lyhava” organization, to organize settler rallies under the slogan "Defending Jewish Honor".The people of Jerusalem came to defend the city and thwarted the entry of dozens of settlers into Damascus Gate. Their march was mainly held in Street No. 1, which is located meters away from the area of Damascus Gate and al-Musrara Street, and during that settlers chanted racist slogans against the Arabs, raised Israeli flags, and carried out attacks with stones and sticks against Jerusalemites while driving their vehicles or walking in the adjacent streets, as well as causing damage to several vehicles and buses parked in the streets adjacent to the place of their gathering and presence.
The duplicity in the police’s dealings with both parties was evident, as they used force and violence against Palestinian youths, while avoiding any contact with extremist settlers.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem monitored 198 arrests from the city during April.
The center added that 168 arrests have been made since the 13thof April, including 106 arrests from Damascus Gate and Herods Gate, and Sultan Suleiman Street, Nablus Street, Salah al-Din Street and the area of al-Musrara. Among those arrested during the events were "3 females and 42 minors"; 19 of them between the ages of 12-15 years old.
The center added that all the detainees were severely beaten during the arrest process, especially inside the observation rooms set up at the entrances to Damascus Gate Square. According to what the center documented in interviews with the detainees, the forces intentionally hit them on the head, face and back, using sticks and punched and kicked them with their legs and using their helmets.
The center added that a number of detainees were transferred from the interrogation centers to hospitals due to suffering a partial coma, severe pain and high blood pressure, including those who had a broken nose, bruises, fractures in the hands and swollen head.
The center stated that the detainees were suspected of "throwing stones and empty bottles, fireworks, assaulting the police, participating in riots and disturbing public order and security, and damaging vehicles and public facilities."
The center added that most of the detainees were released unconditionally and without being brought before the court, and some of them were deported from Damascus Gate Square and the area adjacent to it, and some were deported from the Old City, while others were transferred to house arrest for periods ranging from 3 to 7 days.
The occupation authorities and settlers continued their violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in an unprecedented violation, at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the occupation forces stormed the minarets of Al-Aqsa Mosque at, "Lions, Al-Silsileh, Al-Ghawanmeh, and Dung gates", by force, and cut off the main speaker wires, coinciding with the Night and Al-Taraweeh prayers, to secure settler celebrations in Al-Buraq Square.
The call to prayer was raised, and the Night and Al-Taraweeh prayers were performed through the internal speakers of Al-Aqsa.
The occupation forces also tried to obstruct the distribution of water and dates, and prevented the entry of light meals into Al-Aqsa courtyards for the fasting worshippers.
Settlers continued their incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque through Dung Gate, guarded by special occupation forces, officers and police. In April, 3458 settlers and students of religious institutes stormed Al-Aqsa, and the incursions concentrated during the first days of the month in celebration of the "Jewish Passover" holiday.
During the storming of Al-Aqsa, the settlers performed collective and public prayers in the mosque, especially in the eastern region and opposite of Al-Silsileh Gate and Al-Qataneen Gate, and also performed their rituals and prayers at the gates of Al-Aqsa from the outside.
The occupation forces also stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on the 15thand 22ndof last month, after the end of the Al-Taraweeh prayers and forced the worshippers intending to stay overnight to leave.
Deportation orders and suppression of events
The occupation authorities continued to issue deportation orders, as 20 orders were issued in April, deporting 4 young men, from the village of Issawiya,away from Jerusalem, and 13 from Al-Aqsa Mosque, and 3 from the Old City Jerusalem.
The occupation authorities also continued to prevent the holding of events in Jerusalem during last April, as the intelligence services prevented two conferences of election candidates for the Palestinian Legislative Council, by surrounding hotels "where they were to be organized" and informing their administration to prevent the event, and during that it carried out arrests and summons to attendees or candidates.
The intelligence services banned a cultural and entertainment event in the "Sons of Jerusalem" club in the Old City of Jerusalem, under the pretext that it was organized by the Palestinian Authority.