SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Jerusalem tense over evictions and holidays

East Jerusalem has seen nightly clashes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with Palestinians pitted against Israeli police and settlers.

The issues and the scale of the protests have varied, covering religion, land and politics, but running through them all is the core conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over the city that has sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Here are some of the factors that have brought Jerusalem to near boiling point:

From the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April, Palestinians clashed nightly with Israeli police who put up barriers to stop evening gatherings at the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate after iftar, the breaking of the daytime fast.

Palestinians saw the barriers as a restriction on their freedom to assemble. Police said they were there to maintain order.

Why did the violence flare up again?

An Israeli Supreme Court hearing was due on May 10 in a long-running legal case about whether several Palestinian families would be evicted and their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near Damascus Gate, given to Israeli settlers.

Some settlers have already moved into the street affected – living next door to the Palestinians facing possible removal.

As the court hearing neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis began holding larger demonstrations, saying more evictions could cause a domino effect throughout the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighbourhood.

Sheikh Jarrah also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just, leading to frequent tensions between Palestinian living there and religious Jews visiting it.

The case, in which a lower court ruled that the land in question belonged to Jews in East Jerusalem before the 1948 War, has gathered domestic and international attention, amid criticism of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

On Sunday the Supreme Court hearing on the evictions was postponed, pushing at least one flashpoint past the end of Ramadan and allowing more time for a resolution. A new session will be scheduled within 30 days.

    Source:
  • Reuters