Gazans fear new attack by Israel during Ramadan over escalations in West Bank
In contrast to the majority of residents busy focusing on the holy month of Ramadan, Abdul Hamid al-Za'anin, a resident of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, is distracted by the ongoing clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.
"For the second year in a row, the scenario of a military campaign between Israel and the armed Palestinian factions seems to be repeating this Ramadan," the 50-year-old father of eight told The New Arab.
On May 10, 2021, Israel launched an 11-day military campaign on the Gaza Strip, following a barrage of rockets into Israel by Palestinian factions, who in turn were responding to Israel's aggressions on the Al Aqsa Mosque in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli warplanes carried out hundreds of air raids on the besieged enclave, home to nearly two million people, most of whom are refugees of the 1948 ethnic cleansing by Zionist forces and the subsequent wars since.
"Israeli planes targeted our house in Beit Hanoun, killing my son and I was injured and had to amputate my left foot," al-Za'anin said, adding that he was transferred to Egypt for 8 months to receive treatment.
"The Israeli army destroyed my home and displaced my family for many months (...) Recently the house was rebuilt, but I do not feel safe, especially in light of the escalation of tension in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he said.
Salama Al-Batsh from the Jabalia camp also shares Al-Za'anin's fears. "No one can feel what we feel except for someone whose house was destroyed, or was injured or killed by the Israeli warplanes," the 38-year-old father of four told The New Arab.
"Unfortunately, because of what is happening in the West Bank and Jerusalem, I cannot celebrate Ramadan like others. I watch the news and live in suspense of another wave of tensions between the Palestinians and the Israeli army - and the Israelis do not differentiate between the military and civilians," he said.
The Palestinian health ministry's report revealed the large impact of Israel's deadly 11-day bombing campaign against besieged Gaza last May. 👇https://t.co/p3Db9mYUtX— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 6, 2022
Since the start of Ramadan, areas around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem have witnessed increasing clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces stationed at the site, with numerous Palestinians being arrested.
The Israeli police recently announced the deployment of 3,000 personnel in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleys of the old city of Jerusalem, with a focus on deploying overt and covert forces in the Bab Al-Amoud area.
The increased Israeli security measures prompted the Islamic Jihad movement to threaten Israel with another round of fighting, and the group organised military parades across several areas in the Gaza Strip with Al-Quds Brigades fighters wearing military clothes and brandishing their weapons.
For its part, Hamas said in a statement that "the occupation army's attacks on the Palestinians at Bab al-Amoud and on the residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank are a dangerous escalation that the occupation will bear the consequences."
Hamas spokesman Mohammed Hamada said to The New Arab that what was happening on the ground in the occupied terrirotiries was "blatant evidence of the occupation's insistence on carrying out its malicious plans against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
"We and our people took a pledge to protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa by all available means," he stressed.
Palestinians condemn Israeli FM's 'provocative' visit to East Jerusalem's Damascus Gate https://t.co/34zCyCXKBX— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 4, 2022
In a sign of Israel's awareness of the danger posed by its aggressive actions in Jerusalem spilling over to Gaza, Israeli media reported the "Iron Dome" system along the border with Gaza is on high alert.
According to the Israeli Army Radio, Israeli security services have growing fears over a major confrontation, quoting an Israeli security source as saying, "If the situation in Jerusalem escalates, the Gaza Strip will enter the arena of tensions as well."