Middle East Eye / December 11, 2022
Police on horseback beat and drag Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate during act of Arab solidarity.
Footage online showed Israeli forces armed with batons beating and dragging Palestinians celebrating the win outside the Old City’s walls.
Officers on horseback could also be seen aggressively dispersing Palestinians, including children.
Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at the Old City’s Damascus Gate to celebrate Morocco’s 1-0 win in an act of Arab solidarity. The Damascus Gate is a traditional gathering spot for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, but Israeli authorities have been restricting their ability to gather there to socialize in recent months.
Palestinians held up Morocco flags, chanting “raise your hand and dance with us” while dancing dabke. One Moroccan flag was raised at the top of the historic gate.
Similar scenes were seen in Palestinian communities in Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Palestine takes centre stage
The win makes Morocco the first African and Arab side to reach a World Cup semi-final, but many have named Palestine the real winner, as its cause continues to take prominence in Qatar.
Not long after leaving the pitch, midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri posted a photo on Instagram of himself with the Palestinian flag tied around his shoulders accompanied by a one-word caption: “Freedom”. Later he gave interviews to broadcasters at the game still wearing the flag.
Palestine, which did not qualify for the finals, has also seen notable support throughout the competition, especially among those from other Arab countries.