Citing the need for stricter security practices following the murder of two Israeli Security Force (ISF) officers in occupied East Jerusalem in mid-July, the Israeli government ordered the installation of metal detectors and security cameras at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – the third holiest site in Islam – and barred the entrance of worshipers under the age of 50. What unfolded in the weeks following the Israeli-imposed restrictions on the place of worship, as well as its worshippers, was a tense environment that left many wondering if a third Intifada was looming. For two weeks, Palestinians boycotted the compound and organized peaceful demonstrations on Fridays, to coincide with the weekly Jumu’ah prayer.
While the protesters peacefully recited āyāt (qur’anic verses) and kneeled in the direction of Mecca, they were met with excessive force at the hands of the ISF, embodied by rubber bullets, sound grenades, and tear gas. The photos that follow are a collection of shots displaying how the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nablus protested collective punishment, restrictions to their right to worship freely, and the occupation.
Muslim men gather in collective Friday prayer in front of Israeli military barricades as a means of protesting the new security measures.
ISF officers stand on the roof of a hostel, overlooking protesters.
Men and boys prepare for Jumu’ah prayer by laying out their prayer rugs.
Men wait in the heat for mid-day prayer to commence.
Taken from the security barricades at the front of the Damascus Gate demonstration. The ISF had cut off many streets and entry points via heavily guarded barricades placed near to and around Damascus Gate, as well as by East Jerusalem’s Arab bus station.
Chairs remained empty in the usually crowded Temple Mount compound, as Muslims boycotted worship in the holy site as a form of protest.
Following clashes in Bethlehem, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) used tear gas on Palestinians.
A discarded hat in front of stones – symbolic tools of Palestinian protest -following clashes in Bethlehem.
Women take part in Friday prayer outside of Damascus Gate.
While the demonstration began peacefully, the day ended with three deaths at the hands of the ISF.
The streets were void of people but littered with stones, rubble, and used tear gas canisters following a day of clashes.