Through the Lens: The Fight for Al-Aqsa
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.