Middle East Eye / February 28, 2022
Two arrested and several injured near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem during festival marking Prophet Muhammad’s journey to the heavens.
Video footage shared by local journalist Baraah Abo Ramouz purported to show Israeli forces attacking and kicking the unnamed minor in Damascus Gate plaza, where the Israeli army had amassed to disperse Palestinian crowds.
Another video published by the Palestinian news agency Wafa showed Israeli forces shoving a Palestinian man’s head onto the pavement and placing a knee on his neck before arresting him.
According to Wafa, two people were arrested and around 31 were injured, with Israeli forces using skunk water, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets to disperse Palestinians.
Palestinians had gathered in the Old City to mark Al-Isra wal-Miraj, a day when Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad visited the al-Aqsa Mosque from Mecca during a night journey and then ascended to the heavens.
Thousands observe the festival, which falls almost one month before the beginning of the month of Ramadan.
Almost 90,000 Palestinians travelled from towns in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel to observe the day at Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Wafa.
The Palestinian news agency had reported Monday’s arrests came after Palestinian scouts approached the Damascus Gate chanting religious songs.
Ahed al-Rishq, a member of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, told Wafa that the “[Israeli] occupation did not like the Palestinian celebrations, so resorted to oppressing the people in Damascus Gate, injured and arrested several of them.”
He added that “despite all these assaults, Palestinians in Jerusalem remain adamant in holding national and religious celebrations. Jerusalem is ours, and al-Aqsa is ours.”
Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 and considers all of the city as its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.