Palestinians in Eastern Jerusalem Step Up Disobedience Ahead of Ramadan

Photo by Police Spokesperson on 19 February, 2023
By Baruch Yedid/TPS • 19 February, 2023


Jerusalem, 19 February, 2023 (TPS) — Palestinians barricading the entrances to certain eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods on Sunday morning is part of a wider effort to raise tensions in the city ahead of Ramadan.

An umbrella organization of Palestinian factions in eastern Jerusalem calling itself the Islamic National Forces had announced that on Sunday morning, civil uprisings in the UN-administered Shuafat Refugee Camp and the nearby village of Anata would blockade the entrances of those areas.

The villages of Issawiya, Jabel Mukaber and Al-Ram announced that they were joining the campaign.

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The organizations behind the Islamic National Forces published instructions on social media calling on residents to boycott the Jerusalem municipality and not to pay any fees, taxes or fines, and to even boycott property tax payments. The Palestinian organizations also forbade workers living in these neighborhoods from leaving to work. To enforce this directive, they ordered youths to block the access roads to the Shuafat and Anatha starting in the morning.

Young people, including masked residents of the neighborhoods, blocked key intersections with garbage cans and burning tires.

Police forces opened up the blockaded areas, and in one neighborhood, intervened when fights broke out between rioters and local residents who wanted to go to work.

Although it was initially believed that the residents were protesting checkpoints set up by police following terror attacks in recent days, an appeal by the organizers for wider solidarity suggested that the campaign is about drawing attention to Palestinian prisoners.

The Tazpit Press Service has learned from sources in Gaza that terror groups are considering resuming the launching of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory.

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began a campaign of disobedience on Thursday and threatened to launch a mass hunger strike during Ramadan against recent measures taken by Israeli Prison Service.

Palestinian sources told TPS last week that approximately 4,800 Palestinians will collectively refuse to cooperate with prison officials by not obeying orders, locking themselves in their cells, refusing to let guards search their cells, and not wearing prison uniforms.

The Ramadan hunger strike, if it happens, would be the largest mass hunger strike staged by the Palestinians, with prisoners affiliated with Fatah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups participating.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours and break their fast at sundown. The hunger striking prisoners will not eat at night either. Ramadan begins at sundown on March 22.

The eastern Jerusalem checkpoints were set up following two deadly terror attacks in recent days.

On Feb. 10, Hossein Karake, a 31-year-old Israeli citizen and resident of Issawiya plowed his car into a crowded bus stop in northern Jerusalem, killing three people, including two brothers ages six and eight.

On Feb. 13, Border Police Staff Sgt. Asil Sawaed stabbed aboard a bus while doing a routine security check at a checkpoint when a 13-year-old Palestinian boy pulled out a knife and stabbed Sawaed. A civilian guard aboard the bus fired but hit Sawaed instead. The boy, Muhammad Zalbani, was a resident of the Shuafat Refugee Camp adjacent to the checkpoint. Zalbani was detained unhurt.

On Wednesday, two Palestinians were arrested at a separate checkpoint trying to smuggle a disassembled M16 rifle, ammunition and a cartridge into the city from the Bethlehem area.



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