No Palestinian Male in Occupied Jerusalem Escapes Beatings, Israel’s War on Gaza

Damascus Gate, Occupied East Jerusalem

Early on Friday morning, Samer and Omar hoped to make it to noon prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. They live in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, just 15 minutes away from the mosque. Many Palestinians from around the city attend Friday prayers at this holy site.

However, the two friends were stopped by Israeli forces at Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City. The officer asked where they were from and when they said “Issawiya”, they were told to go back and pray there. Other Palestinian men also received similar responses when attempting to enter the area. While Israeli forces had imposed restrictions on the Old City, more people were allowed to enter the previous Fridays.

Frustrated, the two young men turned away, but were approached by the officers later and told to leave the area without an explanation. In the process, they were pushed and beaten by the officers, with Omar suffering heavier injuries. They expressed their determination to stay despite the treatment.

Since October 7, Israeli forces have increased actions against Palestinians in Jerusalem, including imposing a curfew, restrictions on movement, and the isolation of the city from the occupied West Bank. Young Palestinian men, in particular, have experienced increased violence and harassment.

Journalists have also been targeted, such as Mustafa Kharouf, a photojournalist who was beaten by Israeli paramilitary officers while reporting. The officers’ actions have led to injuries and heightened tensions for Palestinian residents.

For the people living under occupation in Jerusalem, life has become much more difficult since last year. Recognizing the dangerous situation, interviewees in this article have chosen to remain anonymous.

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