Despite the many unpredictable and unforeseeable events that occur around the world, one unfortunate occurrence that seems to be a regular event is the Israeli military’s attacks on the Gaza Strip during the holy month of Ramzan. This consistent pattern serves as a stark reminder of the continuing oppression and mistreatment that the Palestinian people face at the hands of the Israeli state.
Like every year, the city of Jerusalem is currently experiencing heightened tension due to an incident where Israeli police attacked individuals who were worshipping in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the sacred month of Ramzan. This issue persisted into the early hours of Wednesday, as Israeli forces were observed forcibly removing Palestinians from the area and barring them from performing their prayers. Later on, Israeli individuals were permitted to enter the site, but only with the accompaniment of police officers.
The month of Ramzan brings back painful memories for Palestinians, reminding them of the loss and injury of their family members and friends during the most recent invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military. In 2014, during Ramzan, the Gazan population was subjected to 280 bombs dropped by the occupation, which caused the death of over 500 children in residential areas.
Unfortunately, the killings did not stop even during prayer time. Unlike Israel, the people of Gaza do not have access to an all-weather air defense force like the Iron Dome, which is heavily funded by US taxpayers. Instead of enjoying the sounds of Azaan and the children laughing during Ramzan, they were surrounded by the sounds of death.
After this tragedy, Israel has been cracking down on all forms of Palestinian Muslim worship. Recently, the surveillance of Palestinians has increased with the introduction of “tagging” soldiers to track and monitor them. This policy has led to more military checkpoints, more soldiers stationed at them, and preventing Palestinians from accessing the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramzan. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
In 2019, just before Ramzan began, Israeli warplanes heavily bombarded the Gaza Strip, causing the death of 19 innocent Palestinians. More than 130 homes were completely destroyed, while another 700 suffered partial damage, leading to over US$5 million in total property damages.
During Ramzan in May 2021, Israeli forces entered the compound and used tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades against worshippers. This resulted in hundreds of Palestinians being injured, which drew international condemnation.
During the holy month last year, Israeli forces launched incursions at the compound, which led to the arrest of over 300 Palestinians and left at least 170 wounded. This occurred after a violent event in late March in the occupied West Bank, which caused the death of 36 individuals.
The purpose of this barbarity is to create hardship for the Palestinians. This, understandably, causes frustration for Palestinians who must go through numerous checkpoints to practice their faith but are denied entry while soldiers point their guns at them. At the same time, illegal settlers are allowed to move about freely, which only adds to their frustration.
Palestinians living in cities like Jerusalem have to deal with numerous restrictions on their movement, such as checkpoints, walls, patrols, and military posts, which infringe upon their human right to move freely. During Ramzan, these restrictions become even more cumbersome. Since they are observing the holiday, Palestinians are not able to eat or drink during the day. They are often treated like cattle, intimidated by the occupation forces, and denied entry to certain cities in the West Bank or taken in for interrogation.
The Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza during Ramzan continue this year continue with unnecessary and cruel treatment the Israeli government inflicts on a population that is completely isolated from the outside world and poses no threat to ordinary Israelis. However, cruelty is the objective, as it serves to remind Palestinians that Israel has complete control over their daily lives and denies them basic rights, such as the right to peacefully celebrate the holy month of Ramzan.
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