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Collective punishment for Palestinians

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Yesterday’s attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant has had far reaching consequences for Palestinians, who only two days ago began observing the holy month of Ramadan. The attack, in which four Israeli’s were allegedly killed by two Palestinians, resulted in the denial of access of Palestinians to Masjid Al-Aqsa, as well as the closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. While Israeli authorities have described the closures as ‘security measures’, Palestinians say that the closures will not prevent future attacks, but are instead calling for a political solution.

In light of the attacks, the Co-ordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that 83 000 Palestinians would be affected. It added that hundreds Gazan residents, who had received permits to visit relatives and holy sites during Ramadan, would also be denied access to Al-Aqsa.

Freelance Palestinian Journalist, Mohamed Daraghmeh, explained that following the attack the atmosphere within the Palestinian territories is one of frustration, as Israeli regulations continue to tighten.

While the decision to close Jerusalem to Palestinians has always been adopted by Israel, Daraghmeh said Israeli journalists and writers have now voiced concern that the methods employed by Israeli authorities only fuel the already intensified conflict.

“We can’t freely travel”

Daraghmeh explained that one of the restrictions that are a constant reminder of the occupation is the restriction of movement, which Israeli authorities have for decades controlled.

Palestinians are, therefore, forced to undergo daily scrutiny at check points when going about their daily lives.

As Ramadan annually sees hundreds of Palestinians descent on the compound of Masjid Al-Aqsa hoping to gain entry, in recent years outbreaks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have resulted in the sporadic denial of access.

“Israeli authorities have allowed the entry of females over 45 years old and males over 50 to the compound.”

He further noted while the Israeli government says that the security measures are a means to protect Israeli citizens, the closures only create an environment that encourages the upsurge of conflict.

“People will now find more reason to take action and struggle against the Israeli occupation, since the current uprising did not come out of nowhere – it is as a result of the continued occupation of Palestinians,” he added.

Daraghmeh said that the new generation of Palestinians has shown defiance in the face of the restrictive regulations, a stance he notes has not gone unnoticed by Israeli authorities.

In recent years, the conflict between the two peoples has received considerable international attention, with supporters of both sides calling for an end to the conflict.

Meanwhile, on Friday the families of the Israeli victims who died in yesterday’s shootings were laid to rest, with the families receiving an outpour of international support.

VOC


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