The Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem and its consequences

This paper deals with the reality of the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem in terms of the forms of the struggle, its tools, its future and its repercussions on the general Palestinian struggle, the factional and popular Palestinian visions and their relationship and role in this struggle, and the impact of these stances on the Palestinian struggle on the roles of the main actors, and the prevailing equation between Israel and Jerusalem in light of these visions .


Jerusalem constitutes a major focus of the conflict with Israel due to its religious and political position, and the city has recently become an incubator for the renewal of the Palestinian struggle. Where the spark of most of the popular uprisings in the last ten years was launched to confront the continuous arbitrary Israeli measures targeting religious places, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the processes of Judaization and familyization of the city’s neighborhoods, and the implementation of settlement and colonial projects to control and divide the land, and attempts to uproot the Palestinians by restricting them, and completing the procedures for separating the city From its surroundings and isolating it permanently, and these movements and movements made Jerusalem the center of the confrontation, and it was named after the names of the areas in which it was launched or the goals for which it was launched.

This paper deals with the reality of the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem in terms of the forms of the struggle, its tools, its future and its repercussions on the general Palestinian struggle, the factional and popular Palestinian visions and their relationship and role in this struggle, and the impact of these stances on the Palestinian struggle on the roles of the main actors, and the prevailing equation between Israel and Jerusalem in light of these visions . The paper starts from the hypothesis of a transformation in the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem in the context of the isolation and privacy imposed by the occupation, in parallel with the changes taking place in the general Palestinian struggle due to the positions of the parties in view of their political projects and their view of resistance in light of the multiplicity of political projects of the major factions on the Palestinian arena and the transformations of the struggle Palestinians in general.

First: The status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian struggle

The Palestinian political actors have different visions regarding the status of Jerusalem. The Palestine Liberation Organization and its offspring are the Palestinian Authority that seeks to make East Jerusalem the capital of the State of Palestine within the framework of the two-state solution project by establishing a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with an indirect concession to Israel of Jerusalem The West Bank, which it had occupied in 1948 in accordance with the organization’s recognition of Israel, has postponed negotiations with Israel on Jerusalem to the issues of the final solution contained in the interim program of the Oslo Accord (1)In which the Palestinian Authority was established, in 1994. While the national and Islamic action factions opposed to the Oslo approach, represented by the Islamic resistance movements “Hamas” and Islamic Jihad, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, view Jerusalem, with its two parts and its suburbs, as the capital of Palestine within the framework of the project to liberate the entire national territory. It believes that there is neither right nor sovereignty for Israel over Islamic and Christian holy sites. The discourse of the Islamic parties differs from the leftist ones in their view of Jerusalem, with the first focusing on the religious importance of the city as a means of intellectual mobilization and mass mobilization, while the leftist parties focus on the pan-Arab dimension. There is also the Islamic Liberation Party in Palestine, which meets with the Islamic parties that Jerusalem is an Islamic land and defending it is a jihad, but it differs with it and with the Palestinian Authority as well in its view of the idea of ​​a Palestinian state and borders; Where he calls for “establishing the Islamic caliphate on the method of the Prophethood.” And he believes that the defense of its members for the city of Jerusalem, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is a temporary jihad until the Islamic armies awaken to liberate it. As for the Arab and Islamic parties inside Israel, they believe that Jerusalem is a right for the Palestinians and Arabs, and that the struggle is legitimate in it to protect it. The “Islamic movement” within the Green Line (the northern branch), led by Sheikh Raed Salah, converges with the Muslim Brotherhood’s view of Jerusalem as Islamic, and because of the movement’s struggle and activity inside Jerusalem, it has become banned and persecuted by Israel. And the southern branch of the Islamic movement within the Green Line calls, through its political and parliamentary arm, the “Unified List” participating in the Israeli government coalition led by Mansour Abbas, for calm in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and allowing people to perform worship, and believes that East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state, and this is a fixed position that cannot be Change it, and that the status of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque must be agreed upon within any peace agreement. and working”(2) It is the capital of the State of Israel, while right-wing voices in it seek to implement plans to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially in terms of the temporal and spatial division of the mosque.

Palestinians, wherever they are, contribute to the national struggle towards Jerusalem by various means. The Palestinians of the West Bank, especially the youth, sometimes resort to stabbing and ramming operations, and carry out some armed operations inside Jerusalem and at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to popular demonstrations supporting and popular confrontations with the occupation army. As for the Gaza Strip, which is completely isolated from the West Bank and Jerusalem, the Palestinians organize demonstrations near the borders of the Strip to support the steadfastness of Jerusalem, and the popular incubator of the “resistance” in the Strip receives Israeli raids in rounds of military confrontation between Israel and the factions, while the struggle of the Palestinians who hold the Israeli ID card in the occupied territories meets in 1948 with the struggle of Jerusalemites by virtue of the ability to enter Jerusalem and participate in the activities in support of Jerusalem and Rabat in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its reconstruction. As for the Palestinians of the diaspora, their struggle with Jerusalem is represented by organizing supportive campaigns in financial terms, and internationalizing the issue of Jerusalem through marches, events, various scientific conferences, sermons and religious activities. The Jerusalemites, who are directly concerned with it and its concerns, see that their city is not subject to division and Judaization, and they face both the policies of uprooting and the violation of rights. fist of the military government.  

Second: Shifts in the spatial space of Jerusalem

Since the beginning of the second intifada, the “Al-Aqsa Intifada”, which erupted from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, at the end of September 2000, the occupation has sought to isolate the city of Jerusalem geographically from its surroundings through a series of settlement and military measures that began by erecting barriers and watchtowers, building bypass roads and severing the bonds of the surrounding areas. , passing through the construction of the wall of annexation and settlement expansion around Jerusalem, which was completed by 2008 and reached a length of 168 km (3) , and left a number of effects on various levels that affected the Palestinian population, the deepest of which was the geopolitical aspect.

Israel transformed Jerusalem from a complete governorate with an area of ​​345 km2 (4) into isolated parts, including East Jerusalem, which consists of the Old City and the surrounding neighborhoods, with an area of ​​123 km2, and this went beyond the previous division of Jerusalem into two parts: eastern and western, according to the stages of occupation of the city (5) . The city of Jerusalem has been isolated from its suburbs by the wall with the installation of military checkpoints as permanent border points, most notably the Qalandia checkpoint, which has become a border crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank. Crossing the barriers is prohibited except for those who hold Jerusalem identity and permits. Also from its north and northwest, it included the settlement blocs surrounding Jerusalem within the wall and linked it to the city, while isolating Palestinian neighborhoods and towns. And the occupation applied to the latter the policies of colonial neglect (6)To create continuous crises on social and economic levels to turn it into an unstable society (7) whose Palestinian residents are searching for their living needs and solutions to their ongoing crises, and made each of them a different specificity in the procedures of separation and isolation from the rest of the areas and from its vital artery linked to the city of Jerusalem, and diverted it towards Ramallah, which It has become more like an “economic capital”, due to the concentration of the Palestinian Authority’s institutions, commercial activity and the private sector, and the concept of confrontation has shifted to strengthening steadfastness in the current situation in the West Bank environment.

The measures to isolate Jerusalem geographically deepened the effects of the division of identity, and the differences emerged after the completion of the isolation regulations by redefining Jerusalemites as those who own the identity granted by Israel to the residents of Jerusalem, as they are able to pass the barriers and move to areas of the West Bank, while Israel does not allow the people of the West Bank, including residents Jerusalem suburbs may enter Jerusalem, except for permit holders whose issuance is subject to security and age conditions.

In light of this exclusivity, Israel has persisted in its colonial policies to establish a different reality in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, transforming its residents into a social group separate from its Palestinian surroundings under the military police rule, and applying continuous policies of erasure and uprooting on them, including: residency withdrawal, house demolitions and forced self-demolition on the pretext of Non-licensing, control of absentee property (8)Restricting urban expansion by restricting construction and not granting licenses, surrounding the city with the wall and settlements and confiscating thousands of dunums within it, continuing to impose financial taxes such as the “Arnona” tax (the land tax) that is imposed on real estate on a monthly basis, and restricting economic and commercial projects by striking the tourism sector by tightening military measures in the old town and the restriction of religious tourism; This reduced the number of visitors in the vicinity of the Old City, whose shops suffered from weak purchasing power and suffered great losses. Hundreds of shops were closed in the city, while the occupation merchants competed with them, who received support and tax exemptions from their government.

Israel also imposes its restrictions on institutional work by imposing strict control and closing dozens of institutions and associations in view of their activities and objectives, and imposing restrictions on public freedoms, including freedom of movement, by erecting barriers and police stations at the gates of the Old City and the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque, continuing arrests, deporting activists and imposing fines Exorbitant financial measures on them, and the imposition of police control and control methods to confront the attempts of Jerusalemites to rise up against the occupation policies, which include operating surveillance cameras in all streets and places, and deploying large forces of the army and “border guards” (9) permanently in the alleys and streets of Jerusalem, as Israel seeks To implement the Greater Jerusalem project by expanding the city’s borders to reach an area of ​​about eight hundred square kilometers, and occupy 10% of the area of ​​the West Bank (10) .

Third: The struggle of the Jerusalemites: its transformations and forms

The struggle in the city of Jerusalem witnessed significant historical transformations related to the nature of events and the confrontation with Israel, and the factions were active in an organized manner in the city of Jerusalem during the second intifada in 2000-2004, which also witnessed the participation of West Bank residents of Jerusalemites in the confrontation arenas in the city’s neighborhoods and Al-Aqsa Mosque, but turned The struggle in it gradually became a narrower framework confined to the city’s residents, due to the measures to isolate the city, which also accompanied the decline of national unity and the disintegration of the Palestinian internal front due to the political division between Fatah and Hamas after 2007, and as a result of which the factional work in the West Bank declined following the pursuit of the occupation and the strengthening of “PA Fist”Security related to security coordination with Israel, so Jerusalemites resorted to struggle through popular gifts that start from Jerusalem and expand geographically to the West Bank and some Arab areas inside Israel, including the donation to protest against the burning of the child Muhammad Abu Khdeir by Jewish settlers in 2014, and the Al-Aqsa gift in 2015 -2016, which was called the “gift of knives”, and the movement of electronic gates, in 2017, through the open sit-in in the Bab Al-Asbat area in protest against the installation of electronic gates and inspection systems at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it lasted for 14 days.

The Jerusalem struggle entered deeper stages after former US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel the end of 2017, through a series of protest rallies in response to the escalation of occupation measures against Jerusalem, including: the donation of the Bab al-Rahma chapel, in 2019, which ended with the restoration The prayer hall was opened after many years of arbitrary closure, and the city of Jerusalem witnessed, in 2021, a popular uprising that was the largest in response to the escalation of the wave of Israeli violations, including the increasing incursions of Jewish settlers into Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the occupation police in conjunction with the month of Ramadan, and in the context of efforts to pass the temporal and spatial division project ( 11)to the mosque by encouraging and protecting groups of settlers and temple groups to storm the mosque’s courtyards, and the occupation army’s closure of Bab al-Amud and other neighborhoods in the city with the aim of restricting the movement of Palestinians, disturbing the Ramadan atmosphere and imposing control in preparation for the settlers’ annual march on the anniversary of the occupation of Jerusalem; Which has come to be called the “Flags March”, and the uprising began with spontaneous Palestinian activities in Bab Al-Amoud to break the arbitrary decisions of the occupation as it constitutes a public space for Jerusalemites. After confrontations that lasted for several days, the army removed the roadblocks and opened the door, and the demonstrations later moved to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the Occupation Court had issued a decision to vacate the homes of Palestinian families, under the pretext of lack of proof of ownership.

In the month of Ramadan in 2022, the occupation army stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the city witnessed sporadic clashes in response to the occupation’s oppression of the citizens and its efforts to evacuate the spatial space of the city from the Palestinians in preparation for the media march organized by the settlers. The Jerusalemites also broke the occupation’s decision to restrict the path and size of the funeral procession for journalist, Sherine Abu Aqleh, (May 13, 2022), and marched in thousands and raised Palestinian flags in a funeral that Jerusalem has not witnessed for years.

These rounds of confrontation indicate that the temporary popular uprising has become one of the forms of the Palestinians’ collective struggle in Jerusalem. It is noted that the forms of struggle in Jerusalem have developed in view of the reality of the city and its relationship with the surroundings, officially and popularly. Where the Palestinians have introduced new methods of confrontation in the city that penetrate its geopolitical peculiarity as a gathering isolated from its surroundings, its residents are monitored by electronic systems that enhance the feeling of constant control and persecution, including not concentrating the struggle action in a specific area and with a specific leadership that is easy to control, and the shift towards more collective and individual struggle Spontaneous and the most unexpected.

It can be said that the struggle in the city of Jerusalem is divided into two main forms:

1- Collective struggle: The policies of the occupation created a different reality for the city of Jerusalem, in which the privacy of the Palestinian population as a social group increased, estimated at 311,044 (12) , threatened by the threat of mass targeting and confined to a limited, besieged and isolated geographical space, and this repositioned the collective identity in view of the risks and limited contact with The other gatherings of Palestinians in the occupied territories in 1948, the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora, and the neighborhoods of Jerusalem that the occupation is trying to divide and isolate and allocate their issues in a collective struggle that wraps up in the face of the occupation, and the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque gather as confrontation arenas.

The struggle through the popular uprisings has become like a cumulative social system in the face of the occupation, bearing at each stage a cause, benefiting from previous experiences, and the Jerusalemites focus their efforts to change the current situation related to it through a collective struggle, in which a mass pattern prevails that employs sit-ins and marches to achieve its goals, and coincides with With it, civil disobedience for the Palestinians through work stoppages and commercial strikes, street closures in Jerusalem, stopping vehicles, raising flags and slogans, various artistic and cultural activities such as reading circles around the Jerusalem wall, festivals, plays, and others. The struggle is conducted with the participation of various professional segments, most notably the merchants through commercial strikes, as well as workers, school and university students, artists, academics, media professionals, doctors, clerics and teachers. All of these groups have integrated roles in the collective struggle of the Jerusalemites.  

The methods of collective struggle in Jerusalem are distinguished from other cities of the West Bank, by the method of practicing daily life as resistance, since the city’s environment is characterized by the presence of settlers in the activities of daily life, by virtue of their presence in Jerusalem among the Palestinians in the Old City and other neighborhoods (13)For the Palestinians, the exercise of life amidst these restrictions constitutes an essential part of the struggle to confront the efforts to control the space, and to confront the continuous restrictions on the commercial and production sectors. Here, the Jerusalemites practice their daily lives with a permanent presence in the alleys and markets of the Old City, while highlighting the collective identity of the Palestinians as an original group in the face of the other identity, in order to preserve the heritage of Judaization. Jerusalemites also turn social events, such as the Palestinian zaffa, into a means of struggle with national chants, and funerals into crowds leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque. .

The goals and orientations of the participants in the collective struggle also vary, from religious to national liberation to get rid of the occupation, or the duality and merging of the goal, visions and ideology between religious ideologies and national or national liberation. age and social groups.

2- Individual struggle: It is a “struggle form” that focuses on the individual and his self-will in making the decision to move, and choosing the form, goal, and method; Whether one or more individuals participated in its implementation, it is not based on a mandate or organizational decision issued by a faction. This form of struggle turned into a non-spontaneous pattern and a new culture of resistance that gradually developed throughout the West Bank due to political factors, most notably the political division and its repercussions on the collective struggle, and to bypass the security grip in the pursuit of armed groups, frustration with the political program and the closing of its horizon (14) . Most of the individual operations whose perpetrators left Jerusalem and the West Bank were carried out in Jerusalem, in addition to the tendency of Jerusalemites to carry out run-over operations from time to time.

Then there is the struggle at Al-Aqsa Mosque; The confrontation in the mosque has emerged since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, when it was targeted by Jewish religious groups, including the “Temple Mount Trustees” group (15)The al-Qibli prayer hall was burned by an extremist in 1969, and the occupation army committed several massacres against worshipers in its squares, including the massacre of Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1990, 1996, and 2000. Confrontations have increased since 2015 following the intention of extremist Jewish groups to implement plans for the temporal and spatial division of the mosque. Through rounds of storming settlers and “performing prayers” under the protection of the occupation police, but they were often confronted by the worshipers or those stationed in the mosque, most notably the Ramadan 2021 and 2022 confrontations. Determining the age of worshipers who are allowed to enter in the category over 50, and reducing the number of worshipers and those stationed in the courtyards.

The Palestinians faced the occupation in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its gates with individual operations, the majority of whose perpetrators were from the West Bank, and it became a phenomenon in 2015 in the “gift of knives” initiated by the young Muhannad Al-Halabi from Al-Bireh by carrying out an operation near the Lions Gate in response to the Israeli police’s suppression of the mourabitat in front of the media lenses. This model became for the youth of the West Bank and Jerusalem who carried out dozens of stabbing, ramming and shooting attacks in Jerusalem, and from the occupied territories in 1948 who carried out shooting attacks targeting the occupation police at the entrances to the mosque.

The privacy of Al-Aqsa Mosque as a place of worship that suffers from restrictions and siege contributed to the creation of Jerusalemites of tools and means of struggle in which they combined the response to intrusions with worship as part of the faith, by strengthening Rabat as a religious and social model that contains programs, scientific seminars and religious lessons for the Almoravids and the Almoravids to strengthen the presence in the mosque outside prayer times that witness most Tours of incursions by settlers and groups of the Temple, and its development and transformation into a permanent activity for groups of men, most of whom are elderly, holy women, and young male and female students. Which inflamed the feelings of Muslims and increased their sympathy with the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque and shed light on Israel’s violations against the mosque, and some Almoravids and Almoravids turned into leading elites due to their role in religious mobilization and conveying the image to the world, and they were led by the Rabat front due to their exposure to deportation

Since 2020, the “Great Dawn” prayer has emerged, which is an invitation addressed to all those who are able to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially the youth group, to perform the Fajr prayer in congregation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and focused on the form of a religious event held every Friday, as part of a joint initiative with the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. To confront the common “Judaization” of the sanctities. Among the forms of collective struggle is what is built on family foundations with the aim of strengthening family ties by declaring allegiance to the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque, such as the “Picture of the Holy Family in Al-Aqsa Mosque” event.

Fourth: The prevailing Palestinian visions and their reflection on the national role of Jerusalem

Palestinian visions related to the Jerusalem struggle differ in terms of defining the required “struggle” in line with the foundations of the political project for each of them. The Palestinian Authority’s political program is based on negotiation and peaceful popular resistance, while the Fatah movement’s leadership supports these positions and is almost completely consistent with the orientations of the Palestinian Authority. As for the other leftist and Islamic national action factions, led by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front, they do not see negotiations as a way to achieve Palestinian rights, and seek liberation through “armed resistance” to dismantle the “Zionist project” and liberate “historic Palestine.” This difference has contributed to creating work methodologies And different orientations towards the city of Jerusalem.

1- The position of the Palestinian Authority on the struggle in Jerusalem

After the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, Israel allowed the continuation of institutional work partially in the city through the Orient House (1980-2001) (16) , which was established by Faisal Al-Husseini in the early eighties as a research and documentation institution aimed at preserving the Arab identity in the city. Al-Husseini became under This role is a leader that enjoys a standing and attention from the majority of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Orient House was subjected several times during the eighties to decisions of closure, especially in the first intifada; Where it was closed for 4 years between 1988 – 1992, and was converted into a headquarters to receive diplomats to Faisal Al-Husseini, who was appointed responsible for the Jerusalem file in the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the role of the House increased through activities and activities after Oslo until an Israeli decision was issued to close it permanently, in 2001, During the events of the uprising and a few months after Husseini’s death.

Jerusalem remained outside direct institutional work despite the Palestinian Authority’s discourse as the capital of the state and considering Jerusalem as a governorate, and the establishment of its headquarters in the town of Al-Ram, north of the city. However, these attempts were weak in light of the occupation’s grip on the city and its neighborhoods and the restriction of the governorate’s activity through imposing restrictions, including the arrest of the governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, more than thirty times and his expulsion from the West Bank, and the Authority’s unwillingness to use pressure methods in order to extend its sovereignty over the city outside the framework of understandings with Israel, and contented itself with turning to the occupation government to request permission for Jerusalemites to vote in the presidential, legislative, municipal and other elections, and the Jerusalemite citizen remained away from The basic services that the Palestinian government can provide, and this breaks an essential part of the ties that make up the relationship. On the other hand, Jerusalemites relied on the Jerusalem municipality and the occupation institutions to obtain these de facto services.

The occupation after Oslo sought to change the features of Jerusalem and establish the Israeli presence in it in an accelerating manner by increasing the number of settlers and encouraging them to reside in East Jerusalem; Where their number increased from about 137,000 settlers, in 1993, to approximately 174,000 settlers, in 2000, and then to about 247,000 settlers, in 2020 (17)And he began building new settlement units, and confronted the Palestinian Authority’s negotiating ambitions with expansionist works on the ground with the aim of dissolving the negotiating goals by creating new, stable facts that contradict the hopes of the Authority. The Palestinian Authority entered into two rounds of armed confrontation with Israel, the first: in the tunnel outbreak, in 1996, which erupted as a popular reaction to digging an Israeli tunnel under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and then the Authority’s security services entered into an armed confrontation with the Israeli army, and the second, in 2000, after the five-year transitional period of the Oslo Accords ended, and the parties failed to reach understandings on final status issues, especially Jerusalem.(18) . The Palestinian Authority later entered into a new equation in its relationship with Israel after 2005, based on strengthening security coordination and prohibiting armed action against Israel. Its reaction focused on the escalation of Israel’s policies in Jerusalem by addressing the “international community” and the United Nations, and calling for respect for international legitimacy, UN resolutions and international law.

2- The armed resistance factions and the Jerusalem struggle

Since their inception in 1987, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have sought to generalize their programs based on resistance in all its forms, including military ones, throughout Palestine, including Jerusalem, expressing their objection to the settlement line of the Palestinian Authority through the Oslo Agreement and its outcomes. Jerusalem has been an arena for carrying out armed attacks and operations for the two movements since the nineties. Both of them sought to concentrate the confrontation in the city and turn it into an unsafe environment for the “occupation” army and its settlers. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (19) of the Fatah movement were also active during the second intifada and carried out a series of armed attacks and operations in Jerusalem and inside Israel.

Gaza has become a major center of gravity for Hamas and with it other resistance factions. From there, their efforts were directed towards Jerusalem, where they worked to develop missiles that reach deep into Jerusalem, and for the first time bombed targets in the city in the confrontation round in 2012, and the city became within the range of missiles and under targeting during the confrontation rounds. 2014 and 2021. In the last of them, the missile system strengthened Gaza’s ability to influence Jerusalemites and motivate them to “resist”, especially as it linked its military escalation to the aspirations and goals of Jerusalemites from the revolt, making Jerusalem at the center of the recent confrontations.

Fifth: The repercussions of the Jerusalem struggle on the general Palestinian struggle

The recent popular gifts showed that Jerusalemites did not distinguish between peaceful and armed means in order to establish their presence and respond to the occupation’s measures and the attacks of its settlers, and to limit the systematic uprooting attempts by the occupation, as in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhood. It seems that the struggle to preserve the city, its mosque, its people, and its identity is the common denominator on which Palestinians meet in Israel, Gaza, the Diaspora and the West Bank, which makes the struggle of Jerusalemites closer to the project of liberating all of Palestine and not to the proposed settlement projects. On the other hand, the gaps between Jerusalemites and the Palestinian Authority are increasing because they were not a priority in its political project, which refers to ceding the western part of their city, with which they are linked by the same history as the Jerusalemite refugees who were uprooted from their homes in 1948 in neighborhoods such as Lifta, Ein Karem and Deir Yassin, Qatamon, and others were distributed in the West Bank and the diaspora, and supported the struggle of the Jerusalemites in the hope of returning to their homes, as well as the limited tools that the authority legitimizes in the peaceful struggle and which the Jerusalemites do not adhere to in their struggle, and the closure of the political horizon of the Palestinian Authority program in light of the new reality imposed by Israel on the ground In the vicinity of Jerusalem and the West Bank. These factors contributed to bringing Jerusalemites closer to the project of the anti-Oslo resistance factions, due to the presence of a common denominator, which is the right of return and liberation.

Sixth: Israel’s position on the struggle in Jerusalem

In Israeli society and the government, there is an equation based on the necessity of “imposing stability” in the city of Jerusalem and its neighborhoods in order to achieve Israel’s goals in the city, either through the suppression of the Palestinians by force and launching campaigns of arrests and imposing fines to intimidate them and subject them to move forward in the project of Judaization while passing the efforts of Jewish groups to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque By storming it and plans to build the Temple, or by maintaining calm by easing the pace of religious provocation and general provocation of Jerusalemites, because inflaming events in the eyes of some voices within Israeli society threatens their stability.

An example of this is the Israeli debate regarding the flags march in Jerusalem, which is considered the most important event for a number of parties, led by the right-wing, to consolidate the settlers’ sovereignty over the city by organizing it every year to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of Israel, and to refuse to give up any part of it. While some left-wing voices stand against it because it fuels the conflict with the Palestinians. There was a lot of talk about this event during the last two years (2021-2022), when the Israeli government prevented the march due to threats from Gaza during the “Battle of the Sword of Jerusalem,” and in 2022, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett considered it a challenge after Hamas tried to exploit the battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem.” “(20) . Israel also seeks to abolish the linking of Jerusalem with other communities, especially Gaza, by thwarting Hamas’ success in achieving this link in the recent confrontation that it called the “Sword of Jerusalem” by pressing it regionally not to implement its threats against the continued incursions, settlers’ activities, and the army’s violations.

Israel continues to implement plans aimed at gradually displacing Jerusalemites, such as evacuating housing units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood as part of an Israeli plan to advance towards East Jerusalem, to separate and isolate the Old City from its surroundings, and to break up the social fabric of Jerusalemites by planting settlement pockets in the middle of the Old City (21) . The Israeli government seeks to abort the Jerusalem movements by turning them into a set of separate cases and subjecting them to follow-up in the Israeli Supreme Court, such as the case of Sheikh Jarrah and the Silwan neighborhood, or by turning them into cases that concern specific families and not others in these neighborhoods and making separate settlements and deals with each of them.   

Despite these measures, the movements and resistance of Jerusalemites still constitute a constant pressure on the security occupation system, which is anticipating any events that could erupt in Jerusalem, and is forced to remain in a state of permanent readiness, and the settlers live in a state of instability as a result, and this breaks the equation of Israel’s quest to impose full sovereignty on the city.

Seventh: The future of the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem

There are several expected scenarios for the future of the struggle in the city of Jerusalem in view of the prevailing political interactions and the specificity of Jerusalem and Palestinian gatherings, and in light of the prevailing struggle visions and their repercussions or feasibility. 

First: The status quo remains with Israel’s control of Jerusalem, and with it the phenomenon of popular and social movements in Jerusalem continues to confront Israel’s violations against Jerusalemites, and perhaps employ new tools by taking advantage of the success of previous movements and donations. In this case, the events remain mostly temporary as their momentum increases within the framework of the Jerusalemites’ reaction to the violations, and ends or reduces its intensity with the achievement of the goal, but the confrontation will continue in daily life with the occupation and the Palestinians’ efforts to consolidate their presence and confront the Israeli liquidation policies, with the possibility of returning the Jerusalem file to The negotiating table through the Palestinian Authority due to the intensification of the confrontation, and Gaza’s entry to the front line in Jerusalem remains dependent on several factors, most notably the size of the Jerusalem event and the nature of the Israeli practices that led to it, the conditions of Hamas’s appeal to its foreign relations, as well as the livelihood demands of the residents of Gaza.

In this case, too, it is possible that the movement will expand into a popular uprising centered in Jerusalem, to include areas of the West Bank and the areas occupied in 1948, but this scenario remains subject to circumstances and political transformations.

One of the repercussions of the situation remaining as it is is the stagnation of the struggle in Jerusalem, either due to the escalation of repression against Jerusalemites and the tightening of the security grip, in light of the preoccupation of other Palestinian gatherings with side issues and living concerns, the continued division of Palestinian factions, and the failure to note the priority of Jerusalem in the programs Some of its forces, or by the Israeli government putting an end to the tendencies of the Israeli extreme right and limiting the provocation of the religious feelings of Jerusalemites under pressure from internal political and security parties to reduce the state of conflict in Jerusalem.  

The second scenario: Reaching a consensual political solution between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, either by establishing a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This solution may reduce the confrontation due to Israel’s withdrawal from East Jerusalem, to become free of the army, but this solution may not receive approval from the Palestinians in the city and its suburbs in light of the occupation’s control over West Jerusalem and the neighborhoods are linked with each other geographically, and does not receive factional approval to be a solution definitively for the Palestinian cause. However, in the current situation, this option remains a long way off, because the trends of the extreme right dominate the positions of the government, and Israel seeks to impose them on the ground and confirms that Jerusalem is its unified capital; This makes the demand of the Authority to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, a demand difficult to achieve.

As for the option of establishing a Palestinian state on isolated parts of the West Bank within the framework of the “deal of the century,” with the town of Abu Dis Al-Qudsiyah being the capital of the State of Palestine instead of East Jerusalem, it is also difficult to achieve, and the Palestinian Authority rejected it, because accepting this solution means abandoning Jerusalem and accepting its division And approval of the plan to annex lands and settle them, but this solution amounts to a fait accompli in the West Bank, which is divided into communities separated by Israeli settlements, and the town of Abu Dis, which lies outside the wall of annexation and settlement expansion, part of its lands were annexed in favor of the “Ma’ale Adumim” settlement, which is a small town in terms of area. Jerusalem and its neighborhoods, and is not fit to be a capital. These political solutions remain outside the calculations of the Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Diaspora, the West Bank and Gaza, and do not limit the continuation of the struggle.

Third: The one-state solution based on the dismantling of the Zionist project and the establishment of one state for all, and this solution does not stop the conflict in Jerusalem, especially the religious conflict, and does not limit the ambitions of religious Jews in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and contributes to the continuation of the confrontation inside Jerusalem on this basis. While it does not receive approval from the Palestinian political parties, the authority and the factions, it does not meet the aspirations of the refugees to return to their homes, and it faces wide opposition within Israel in light of the dominance of the right and efforts to impose the Jewishness of the state and laws targeting the Arab presence inside Israel. Therefore, this scenario remains weak in light of the current data.

Conclusion

The geographical divisions created by Israel in the space of Jerusalem and their social repercussions contributed to transformations in the course of the struggle in East Jerusalem and its neighborhoods by separating it from the general struggle, and changing the majority of its means to use it in the face of the occupation’s internal plans. The closest equation in light of the current facts and the positions of the parties is the continuation of the confrontation in Jerusalem and around Jerusalem in light of the continued attempts of Judaization and uprooting and turning it into a struggle for existence. And the most important element that brings the Palestinians together under the umbrella of the general struggle in all Palestinian groups, with their different programs and views of the Palestinian cause.

About the author

Hamdi Ali Hussein

A researcher interested in the Palestinian political field, he holds a master’s degree in public policies from the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar, and a master’s degree in international studies from Birzeit University in Palestine. His research interests cover the transformations and contexts of the Palestinian national movement, and the repercussions of colonial policies on the spatial space in the occupied West Bank. . He has several contributions and research, including: “The Repercussions of the 1967 War on the Palestinian National Project,” and “The Arab Normalization Agreements with Israel and its Political Dimensions on the Palestinian Cause.”REFERENCE

  1. Jerusalem, State and Borders, Colonies, Refugees, Security Arrangements, Relations and Cooperation with Other Neighbors, and Other Matters of Common Concern (DN), “Oslo Agreement (Declaration of Principles – On Palestinian Self-Government Arrangements) September 13, 1993,” Agency Official news and information, Wafa, (DT) (Accessed date: June 25, 2022),  https://bit.ly/3JJZcuD .   
  2. The Greater Jerusalem Project: It is a colonial project that aims to annex the settlement blocs surrounding Jerusalem and link them to the city, with the confiscation of large areas of land located between these communities. 
  3. Saqr Jabali, “The Apartheid Wall: Facts and Figures”, Wafa Official News and Information Agency, (DT) (Accessed date: June 25, 2022), https://info.wafa.ps/ar_page.aspx?id= 4981 .  
  4.  Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, “Al-Quds Statistical Yearbook 2022”, No. 24, (Ramallah – Palestine, 2022), 19.  
  5.  The occupation divided Jerusalem into two parts: western and eastern, the first being occupied in 1948 and the second in 1967.    
  6. Neglecting the Palestinian population in the occupied territories in terms of administrative services, leads to the creation of a state of chaos among the Palestinians, which facilitates control and stifling them. 
  7.  Elia Zureik, 2016, “Zionism and Claims of Discrimination from Western Colonialism”, chapter in a book: The Question of Palestine and the Future of the Palestinian National Project (Part Two): Settler Colonialism and Reimagining the Future of the National Project, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha – Qatar.  
  8. Refugees who were displaced from their lands before 1948, according to a law in force in Israel called the “Absentees’ Property Law” issued in 1950, according to which Israel establishes itself as the custodian of their properties and takes control of them, including the properties of the Islamic Endowment. The purpose of its application in Jerusalem is to control the property of Palestinians, including those residing in the West Bank, by decision of the government or an assigned ministerial committee (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah).  
  9. They are the most trained unit of the Military Police deployed in and around Jerusalem.
  10.  “Jerusalem.. Population and Area since 1967,” Al Jazeera Net, June 6, 2017, (access date: June 28, 2022), https://bit.ly/3uKLWiX .  
  11. It is an idea put forward by the Israeli right that aims to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque by dividing it in time by setting prayer times for the Jews other than the times of Muslim prayers on normal days, during which the mosque is evacuated from Muslims. It is also fully allocated to the Jews on their holidays, which amount to about 100 days a year, and Shabbat, which amounts to 50 days annually, and it is forbidden to raise the call to prayer during Jewish holidays. Likewise, Israel seeks to divide it spatially by allocating specific places for each party, i.e. allocating some places inside the mosque and turning them into Jewish synagogues. (Source: Al Jazeera, https://bit.ly/3O9QfLT ). 
  12.  “Estimated Population in the Mid-Year of Jerusalem Governorate According to Locality 2017-2026,” Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, May 30, 2022, (entry date: July 5, 2022), https://bit.ly/3Pq2GEj . 
  13.  Ahmed Ezz El-Din Asaad, The Sociology of Resistance and Mobility in the Colonial City of Jerusalem, (Ramallah – Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center, 2018), p. 10, p. 39.   
  14. Ashraf Badr, Hamdi Hussein and others, “The Intifada Wave… Current Features and Future Prospects,” Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies – Masarat, July 13, 2016 (entry date: July 17, 2022),  https://bit.ly/ 3A4YWDb .  
  15.  An extremist Jewish group claims the existence of an alleged structure historically before Al-Aqsa Mosque, and calls the Al-Aqsa Mosque area “Temple Mount” and seeks to rebuild this structure on the ruins of Al-Aqsa Mosque. 
  16. (16) “House of the Orient.. Founded by Al-Husseini and closed by the occupation,” Al-Jazeera Net, December 7, 2015, (accessed July 10, 2022), bit.ly/3yFxoSV. 
  17.  “Number of Colonists in Israeli Settlements in the West Bank by Region 1986 to 2020,” Wafa, the official news and information agency, (entry date: July 10, 2022), https://bit.ly/3BkIrnL .
  18.  Areas under the full security and civilian sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords. 
  19.  The Palestinian Authority worked to dissolve these armed brigades in the West Bank after 2005 in the context of the shift towards reproducing the Oslo Accords by strengthening the security coordination system and moving towards negotiation and diplomatic means.   
  20.  Ashraf Badr, “The Flag March… History and Motives,” Al-Quds City website, June 9, 2022, (accessed July 17, 2022), https://alquds-city.com/articles/1058 .
  21.  Ahmed Ezz El-Din Asaad, “The gift of Jerusalem 2021: The Israeli security establishment fails to achieve its goals,” Madar Center, May 17, 2021, (entry date: July 2, 2022), https://bit.ly/3hrJF6F
SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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