Written by Zayneb Almiggabber
Three Palestinians-Muhammad Sharaf, 18, Muhammad Khalaf, 18, and Muhammad Abu Ghanam, 20-were shot and killed during protests in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
These deaths come as the result of mass protests and demonstrations throughout occupied territories. Palestinians participated in a massive Friday prayer at the gates of al-Aqsa earlier today after new restrictions were enforced, denying the entry of Palestinian men under the age of 50. Moments after the prayer, Israeli forces began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. At least 150 Palestinians have been injured during various protests and demonstrations.
These deaths come as the result of mass protests and demonstrations throughout occupied territories. tweet
Protests were fueled by Israeli-imposed restrictions on entering the al-Aqsa compound following the cancellation of last week’s Friday prayers inside the site after two Israeli soldiers were killed. A closure of al-Aqsa has not been this strict since 1967.
The legal status of Jerusalem has long been a complicated one. According to a report by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), the area of East Jerusalem – including the Old City and al-Aqsa – is not legally part of Israel under international law. However, about 330,000 Israeli settlers are living in the region of East Jerusalem. The 300,000+ Palestinians living, legally, in East Jerusalem often face discrimination by Israeli authorities and are at risk of being forced out as Israel attempts to increase its control in the region.
A closure of al-Aqsa has not been this strict since 1967. tweet
This is hardly the first time that Israeli forces responded to an attack by utilizing harsh forms of collective punishment against the entirety of the Palestinian population. Under international humanitarian law, Palestinians have a legal right to resist as a population living under occupation – by any means – as documented in the Geneva Convention of 1949.
In addition, section 21 of UNGA resolution 37/43, released in December of 1982, explicitly states that it “strongly condemns the expansionist activities of Israel in the Middle East and the continual bombing of Palestinian civilians, which constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people.”
The 300,000+ Palestinians living, legally, in East Jerusalem often face discrimination by Israeli authorities… tweet
It is an unfortunate reality, however, that stories of the Palestinian struggle against the illegal occupation are often overshadowed by the mainstream victimization of Israeli lives at the expense of demonizing Palestinian ones.