Palestinians rejoice as Israeli police withdraw from Jerusalem's Damascus Gate

Palestinians rejoice as Israeli police withdraw from Jerusalem's Damascus Gate
Occupying Israeli forces withdrew from Palestine's Damascus Gate, outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
2 min read
26 April, 2021
Celebrations took place in Jerusalem after the Israeli withdrawal [Getty]
Israeli police have conceded to Palestinian demands to remove a barricade around occupied East Jerusalem's Damascus Gate, which has been by Israel to control the movement of Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque area. 

Israeli police on Sunday night removed all metal barricades that prevented Palestinians from accessing the steps of the Damascus Gate plaza, according to Palestinian Authority’s news agency Wafa.

The Gate is a popular place for Palestinian youths to socialise following prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

Israeli police erected barriers in the area on 13 April - which marked the first day of Ramadan - and attacked anyone attempting to sit on the steps. 

The police withdrew on Sunday and removed the barricades, opening the plaza for the city's residents after withdrawing from the area.

The Israeli withdrawal sparked singing and dancing, along with Palestinian flags being raised by the local population. 

East Jerusalem and the West Bank have been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Israeli authorities annexed East Jerusalem shortly afterwards, sending hundreds of thousands of settlers to live there, in contravention of international law and evicting Palestinians from their homes. 

Israel routinely curbs access to the mosque but has increased restrictions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, sparking tensions with Palestinians attempting to access the mosque.

Read more: Sheikh Jarrah and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem

Tensions were fuelled in the area on Thursday night by the arrival of far-right Israelis. At the end of the march, a mob harassed Palestinians and chanted "death to Arabs".

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 105 wounded with 20 treated in hospital, while Israeli police said 20 officers were injured.

Violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem continued throughout the weekend.

Israeli settlers threw stones and molotov cocktails at vehicles in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem where several families have recently been evicted from their homes.

Settlers also attempted to break into Palestinian-owned homes in Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday.

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