PALESTINE — Israel directed military operations to Gaza, killing 20 Palestinians, including nine children, in airstrikes as violence and crackdowns by Israeli forces continued on Palestinians over protests stemming from threatened eviction of families from Sheikh Jarrah.
Days of violence in Jerusalem, including the multiple raids on of the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan’s holiest nights by Israeli forces, have left scores injured and have drawn international condemnation over the potential evictions of Palestinians from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers.
Hamas earlier demanded Israel withdraw from Al-Aqsa by late afternoon and, when it did not, fired a barrage of rockets towards Israeli towns and Jerusalem, the Middle East Eye (MEE) reported.
Israeli forces violently raided the mosque on Monday for a third time in the past days, using sound grenades and tear gas and damaged the interior of the building, injuring hundreds. Al Jazeera reported that around 500 worshippers were trapped inside the mosque while running from Israeli forces. Hundreds of people were injured.
Video: Inside the Al-Aqsa mosque on Monday as Israeli forces invade the mosque for a third time in the last few days
U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price condemned Hamas for shooting several missiles into Israel earlier on Monday, but did not to mention Israel’s deadly air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of nationalist Israelis gathered at the Western Wall to mark Jerusalem Day on Monday, the anniversary of Israel’s victory in the 1967 war.
The removal of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem have been an ongoing issue. Israeli police cracked down on Palestinians on Friday night after protests against their forced potential removal. U.S. media has framed the situation as “clashes” between Israeli authorities and Palestinians, even though Israel’s settlement actions have been deemed a violation of international law by several watchdogs.
“These are not ‘clashes,'” said Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour. “They are attacks. They are violent assaults by an occupying force.
“They are acts of ethnic cleansing, carried out by Israeli forces, on Palestinians, for worshipping at the al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, or for merely existing in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. What we’re seeing aren’t ‘clashes.’ What we’re seeing is the oppression of an apartheid state, against people engaged in peaceful worship during the holiest nights of the year for Muslims around the world.”
MEE reported last week that Israeli police were storming the neighborhood, violently breaking up vigils and beating and choking activists conducting sit-ins in protest of the displacement of Palestinian refugees living in the area. Over the past week, Israeli police have repeatedly fired a foul-smelling liquid known as skunk water that lingers through the night to try to disperse demonstrations, as confirmed by Reuters.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said early on Tuesday that its emergency teams have so far dealt with a total of 714 casualties in occupied Palestinian territories. In occupied East Jerusalem, it treated 520 cases of wounded Palestinians.
A proposed U.N. Security Council statement on Monday called on Israel “to cease settlement activities, demolitions and evictions, including in east Jerusalem in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law” and to refrain from unilateral steps “that exacerbate tensions and undermine the viability of the two-state solution.” That statement failed to move forward after the U.S. mission to the U.N. asked for more time to deliberate the matter.
Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a residential area less than a kilometer away from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. On Sunday, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered several families evacuate their homes, even though some have lived their for decades.
Israeli courts do not have the authority to settle civilians in occupied Palestinian territory, under the Geneva Convention, and the displacement of Palestinian families stand against international humanitarian law. The neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah comprises some 3,000 refugees who were forcibly displaced from their original homes in other parts of what was historic Palestine in 1948.
On Sunday the Supreme Court hearing on the evictions was postponed. A new session will be scheduled within 30 days.
MEE reported videos of Jewish settlers with thick Brooklyn accents who were caught on camera bullying their way into Palestinian homes over the past week.
“If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it,” one settler said to Mona al-Kurd, a Palestinian woman whose house was being invaded.
From the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April, Israeli police have attacked Palestinian demonstrations after putting 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, Reuters reported.
U.S. lawmakers condemn Israel’s actions over evictions
Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Several prominent U.S. politicians have called for peace and condemned the potential forceful removal of Palestinians from their homes.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging for a briefing on the steps being taken to deescalate tensions and promote a peaceful resolution to the recent violence.
“It is important that the United States plays a constructive role in resolving this escalating situation through strong diplomatic engagement with Israelis and Palestinians to both prevent further violence and address the underlying drivers of the conflict, including continued settlement expansion and efforts to forcibly remove Palestinians from East Jerusalem,” Dingell wrote. “With this in mind, we request that the State Department hold a Congressional briefing as soon as practicable with members of Congress to discuss actions that the United States is taking to address these developments and promote peace, dignity and security between Israelis and Palestinians.”
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) condemned Israeli national violence against Palestinians.
“The United States must speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward,” he said over Twitter.
"What were really telling Palestinians fighting apartheid is the same thing being told to my Black neighbor fighting police brutality: There is no form of acceptable resistance to state violence, it seems, except the denial of humanity and dignity. Give Up" @RashidaTlaib pic.twitter.com/NZu9qN0gI0
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) May 10, 2021
“I see some who were silent as Palestinians were ripped from their homes and tear gassed in their holiest mosques now finding their voices — to stand with the Israeli gov as airstrikes leave Palestinian children dead,” U.S. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) tweeted. “Where are your voices when Palestinians are under threat?”
“This is apartheid, plain and simple,” she said in an earlier tweet, showing a video of Israeli forces launching stun grenades on a crowd of worshiping Palestinian men, women, children and elderly gathered to break fast at Al-Alqsa.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) called Israeli strikes on Gaza “terrorism.”
“Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism,” Omar said on Twitter. “Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians.”
Both Omar and Tlaib have called the displacement campaign an act of ethnic cleansing. Asked about that categorization on Sunday, Price, speaking for the U.S. State Department, said “That’s not something that our analysis supports.”
A demonstration occurred in Dearborn on Sunday, with people joining each in cars that drove from Ford Field to Hines Park. One of the organizers of the demonstration, Maha Z., sent over a statement to The Arab American News.
“This is an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people in an effort to replace them with illegal Israeli settlers,” she said. “We stand with them and their right to live in their homes. As we ended the protest and our day we got word that Mesjid AlAqsa is under attack. Hundreds have been injured. Our goal is to raise awareness because if we wait on news stations to cover this terrorization of the Palestinian people, we will wait our entire lives and they never will.”
Slider: Demonstrations for Palestine in Dearborn, Sunday, May 9. Photos courtesy of Sam Mousa
A protest planned by the Detroit chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement under the title Nakba 73: Resistance Until Liberation, is planned for Saturday, May 15, at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit.
Another protest is planned for Sunday, May 16, at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, organized by New Generation for Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine at Wayne State University and The Arab American News: