On the first Friday of Ramadan, Palestinians continued to fight for their stolen lands while the Occupation sealed off Jerusalem. While demonstrations continued in Niâlin, al-Maâsra and Biâlin, Occupation forces restricted Palestinian access to Jerusalem and prevented Palestinians from praying at the al-Aqsa mosque.
In Niâlin, villagers marched to their threatened lands to hold Friday prayers. The Occupation deployed an estimated 200 soldiers in Niâlin, and this force fired upon the demonstration after prayers had finished, injuring a number of children and elderly villagers. As has become routine, soldiers targeted the families of the village, firing tear gas into their homes. After confrontations eased, a number of villagers took their iftar meal on the threatened land.
***image2***In Maâsra, villagers carried out their weekly demonstration. Occupation forces barred demonstrators from reaching the threatened areas, blocking them at the entrance of village. Participants called for the boycott of Israeli goods, which flood the Palestinian market and destroy local industry.
While the people of the village continued their local struggles, the Occupation authorities restricted access to Jerusalem. Additional soldiers were deployed around the city, and access through checkpoints was restricted. Massive traffic jams occurred near Rachelâs Tomb and Qalandiya, the two largest checkpoints blocking access to Jerusalem. Clashes between local youth and soldiers erupted later in the day at Qalandiya.
The police presence was strengthened across the old city, particularly at the gates of the al-Aqsa mosque. Occupation authorities also placed further restrictions on those that managed to reach al-Aqsa.
During Ramadan, Palestinians from across the West Bank attempt to enter Jerusalem to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque. While this has become more difficult with the construction of the Wall, many are able to sneak across at various locations and enter the old city in the hopes of praying in al-Aqsa. This year, the Occupation has fortified areas of the Wall near ar-Ram with additional razor wire in an attempt to totally control Palestinian movement in and out of the holy city.