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HomeNewsInternational NewsWhy is East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate a hotspot for tensions?

Why is East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate a hotspot for tensions?

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Damascus Gate is a centre of Palestinian cultural life, but Israeli forces regularly attack Palestinians in the plaza.

Occupied East Jerusalem (Al Jazeera) – The Damascus Gate, or Bab al-Amud – as it is known in Arabic, has re-emerged as a flashpoint between Palestinians and Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem.

Since the start of Ramadan on April 2, Israeli forces, including undercover units, have assaulted and arrested Palestinian residents in the Damascus Gate area on an almost daily basis. Hundreds of others were arrested from Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Similar scenes were documented last Ramadan during protests against Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza.

The Damascus Gate is an Ottoman-era plaza, which has been in its current form since 1537. It is the largest of the seven open gates to Jerusalem’s Old City, which lies in East Jerusalem.

It opens onto the souq in the Muslim Quarter, the main market for Palestinians in the city – for everything from spices to home appliances.

Walking distance from the gate is the main business and commercial artery of East Jerusalem – Salah al-Din Street – as well as the central Palestinian bus stations.

A social, cultural, and political Palestinian landmark, Damascus Gate is one of the few open spaces available for residents to gather. A favourite pastime for many is grabbing a coffee from the nearby Musrara area and sipping it on the large stone steps of the gate.

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