The past few days have seen a rise in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as Palestinian residents protested against the Israeli court ruling to allow Israeli settlers to take over their residences in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood along with a compensation to be paid to the settlers. What is being described as Netanyahu’s way of diverting attention, peaceful protesters were attacked with skunk water, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The situation escalated as armed Israeli police raided the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, on the last Friday of Ramazan, and then on Monday night, as worshippers observed the Night of Decree.
The attacks on the Al Aqsa Mosque complex have resulted in 300 injured people and the Israeli air strikes on Gaza — which came after Hamas fired rockets towards Israel in the wake of unheeded warnings to withdraw from Al Aqsa — have killed 24, including nine innocent children. The wave of violence and displacement has marked fears of another Nakba amongst the Palestinians. Traditionally, the Al Aqsa Complex, which is built over the Temple Mount, and houses holy sites for all three Abrahamic religions, has different entrances for Muslim and Jewish worshippers to avoid clashes. On Monday, far-right Israeli settlers attempted to violate the restriction of entering the mosque during a procession to celebrate Jerusalem Day, after which the Israeli police broke into the mosque as well. Days earlier, Palestinian Christians were also prevented from entering their holy site.
As the rocket fire by Hamas gains traction in the media with Israeli fatalities misreported, and many prominent global leaders voiced support for America’s “ally, Israel”, the Palestinian resistance has questioned the narrative enforced by the media and the role of global leaders. The resistance also revealed social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok censoring accounts of Palestinians reporting on the issue. For now, the Muslim leaders have come forward to condemn the attacks and according to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, an emergency OIC session is to be held soon. Till then, the Palestinian resistance shall continue on its own, with the rock as the only weapon and symbol of the indigenous population defending its land.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2021.