Following several nights of tension, hundreds of Israeli settler extremists stormed the Old City of Jerusalem chanting “death to Arabs.” Palestinians responded by defending their sites and clashing with Israeli occupation forces, turning the event into a city wide riot. Unsurprisingly, Western Media is nowhere to be found.
Since the beginning of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan tensions have been rising between Israeli forces, illegal settlers and Palestinians. On the first day of Ramadan, last Tuesday, Israeli forces began instigating violence after shutting off loud speakers inside the al-Aqsa compound – Islam’s third holiest site – also blocking off the Damascus Gate to Palestinians wishing to enter the Old City of Jerusalem.
The shut off of the loudspeakers, characterized as a “racist” attack against Palestinians, was explained to have occurred due to Israelis not wanting to be disturbed by the Muslim call to prayer and Imam’s in the al-Aqsa compound. Israel was, at the time, running a commemoration event at the nearby ‘Western Wall’ to memorialize their dead occupation soldiers.
After preventing Palestinians from entering the “Arab Quarter” of Jerusalem’s Old City, youths began to clash with occupation police who were blocking their access to Mosques for prayer and breaking their fasts. Israeli forces brought in the usage of tear gas, stun grenades, riot police on horseback and skunk water cannons in what was to become a nightly occurrence.
Israeli settlers had also gotten involved in fights with Palestinians during the course of clashes that had been occurring in the surrounding areas of the Old City. A video then began to circulate on social media of a Palestinian teen slapping a settler in the face on public transport, for which two Palestinians were later arrested. Israeli settlers reacted to this by storming the streets of Jerusalem – starting conversations with strangers in order to gage whether they had an Arabic accent – and attacking Palestinians.
Israeli settler gangs posted their videos of their violent assaults of lone Palestinians on social media, bragging of what they had committed.
On Monday, Israeli settler mobs began to take their attacks to the next level, rallying in the streets of Jerusalem chanting “death to Arabs”, then continuing from that point to assault Palestinians. The Palestinian community of East Jerusalem did not take these assaults, attacks on vehicles, and racist mob protests lightly, also choosing to confront and fight settlers. By Monday night, Palestinian media outlet Quds News had reported that at least 30 Palestinians had been arrested as a result of the ongoing tensions in the city during Ramadan.
This situation has been escalating for days, leading to this Thursday night’s riots. Around 1,000 Israeli settlers, as part of what journalist Dan Cohen has called a “lynch mob”, chanted again “death to Arabs near the Bab al-Amud (Damascus Gate) area in Jerusalem. In response, a few hundred young Palestinians took to the streets to defend their businesses and homes in the Old City and were confronted with overwhelming Israeli police violence, leading to over 70 injuries according to Shehab News Agency.
A massive Israeli lynch mob chants “death to Arabs” at Damascus Gate, the center of Palestinian life in occupied East Jerusalem. Another day in the “only democracy in the Middle East.” pic.twitter.com/smUviMFo7A
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) April 22, 2021
The settlers did not stop, despite having been kept relatively restrained by Israeli police forces at the beginning of the night. Settlers managed to break through police lines and clash with Palestinians, leading to some settlers being knocked out unconscious and mob attacks of Palestinians. Videos later emerged from the Old City of Jerusalem at roughly 1:30 AM Friday morning, showing settler mobs attacking and attempting to break into Palestinian homes, waking up and frightening children left defenseless inside their homes. Rajai al-Khattib, a clearly marked Palestinian cameraman, was then assaulted by Israeli occupation forces and carried off into an ambulance at around 2:30 AM.
What is happening in Jerusalem right now is beginning to spark a new Palestinian uprising in the city and is the direct result of Israel’s tough restrictive measures, violent crackdowns and settler extremists. Yet when an openly racist mob of Israelis are going around and beating people up like a group of neo-Nazis, the Western media is nowhere to be seen.