Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the thousands of Palestinians who have taken to the streets in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine against the latest manifestations of the settler colonial attack on Jerusalem as a Palestinian and Arab city. The imposition of electronic security gates at Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli occupation forces is a symbol and representation of the ongoing siege, strangulation and ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem under the false rubric of security that provides no security, peace or freedom from terror for Palestinians in Jerusalem while further emphasizing the denial of sovereignty and self-determination in the city.
Month after month, hundreds of Palestinians are seized in Jerusalem as monthly reports document the use of mass arrests against the population. Organizers in the city are subjected to ongoing attacks that attempt to strip their residency while families face ongoing land confiscation, home demolitions and settler attacks. Nevertheless, Jerusalem remains a center of resistance to occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism despite all of the “security” measures visited upon the Palestinian people for the purposes of repression.
The attacks on Jerusalem have included Israeli firing on demonstrators, killing of Palestinian teens, arrests of Jerusalemite activists including bans on the use of social media, banning Jerusalem activists from Al-Aqsa and arrests of mosque employees. Indeed, two Jerusalemite teen girls, Tamara Abu Laban, 16, and Alaa Ruweidi, 16, were seized by occupation forces in night raids on Saturday, 22 July with allegations of “incitement” for posting about their city and struggle on social media.
Palestinian prisoners have emphasized the importance of the struggle in Jerusalem, as well as the centrality of the struggle of Palestinians to break the siege on Gaza as their electricity is cut to one hour a day and as their land becomes increasingly uninhabitable under ongoing Israeli siege with the full complicity of international powers.
Prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement from Israeli prisons saluting the three Palestinians shot down as they rose up in the streets of Jerusalem on 21 July, Mohammed Mahmoud Khalaf, Mohammed Abu Ghannam and Mohammed Mahmoud Sharaf. They also urged Arab and international action in defense of the Palestinian people:
“The blood of the martyrs on the streets and alleys of Palestine and the squares of Jerusalem, will not be wasted. In this context, we call for the organization of marches and symbolic gatherings everywhere to commemorate the martyrs and emphasize the continuity of resistance and intifada on the road to return and liberation….We salute the heroism of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and support their steadfastness in the face of the systematic oppression and war waged against them by the occupation. We also record our pride in all of the Palestinian masses in the villages, cities, refugee camps and everywhere in diaspora who defend Jerusalem and the Palestinian people…We demand to continue the days of action to support the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and defend the holy sites, embodying the slogan of the continuation of intifada.”
Samidoun stands with the Palestinian people in rejecting the Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. We urge supporters and friends of Palestine and the Palestinian prisoners’ and Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom to join in the international protests and actions to stand with Jerusalem and all of occupied Palestine and its people, in Palestine and in exile.
Many people around the world, especially Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora, have taken to the streets in cities like Athens, Berlin, New York, Rotterdam and London to stand with Jerusalem as a unified Palestinian people. These demonstrations must grow and strengthen to place maximum pressure on the Israeli occupation and the international powers like the United States, Canada and the European Union that continue to provide cover and massive military, diplomatic and/or political support and alliances to the settler colonial project in Palestine.