Several student blocs from Bethlehem University and Al Quds University protested the Israeli destruction of Al Aqsa Mosque’s Moroccan Gate on Tuesday afternoon. The students took to the streets of Bethlehem and shouted slogans criticising the continued threat to Muslim holy sites and the process of purging Jerusalem of its Muslim heritage. Some of the sites targeted in the destruction date back to 661 through 750.The students began at the Red Cross in Bethlehem and roamed the streets into the Cinema shopping district, down to the Bab Askak crossroads, and along the Jerusalem-Hebron Road. They walked until literally hitting the Israeli wall that surrounds Bethlehem .
They carried Palestinian flags, and those of Fateh, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to illustrate the solidarity between parties. Slogans written across wide banners and signs called for unity and condemned the Israeli actions against Haram Al Sharif, calling on all Arab and Islamic movements to defend Jerusalem and save Al Aqsa Mosque.
They walked until they could not go further. Facing the Wall and the Rachel’s Tomb military installation, most Palestinians cannot move through what has become over the years the prohibitive entrance between northern Bethlehem and southern Jerusalem.
Protesters marched toward the Wall in the area of the Rachel’s Tomb sniper post and military installation which is permanently occupied by Israeli forces. The young people shouted to open the gate so that they could move onwards to Al Aqsa Mosque in nearby Jerusalem. They began to beat on the gate in protest at being denied access to the Muslim holy site.
Israeli soldiers fired concussion grenades and gas bombs at the students who pelted the sniper towers with stones. Several of the young people are suffering from gas inhalation this afternoon after becoming nauseous and fainting.