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No Joy, Festive Atmosphere: Jerusalem Prepares For Eid Al-Adha In Shadow Of Gaza War

15.06.2024 11:12

Mood in East Jerusalem, West Bank characterized by sorrow, economic strain amid Israeli onslaught launched on Gaza.

As Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem prepare to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the spirit of the celebration has been significantly muted in the shadow of Israel's ongoing onslaught against the Gaza Strip.

Israel's relentless attacks on Gaza for eight months have cast a shadow over the region, dampening spirits and economic activity in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank for the holiday that marks prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son on the order of God.

The atmosphere in East Jerusalem, under the weight of sorrow and financial constraints, saw minimal activity in markets.

Anadolu spoke to vendors selling sacrificial animals in the neighborhood of Abu Dis, that considered a suburb of occupied East Jerusalem and located on the West Bank side of the Separation Wall, which seems to imprison Palestinians.

A quarter of the more than 450,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem cannot move to other parts of the city because of the Separation, or Shame, Wall built by Israel in 2003.

Neighborhoods with a high population density such as Abu Dis are among the areas detached from Jerusalem. Palestinians living in the neighborhoods can only reach jobs and schools by passing through Israeli checkpoints.

The Separation Wall also prevents nearly 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank from crossing into East Jerusalem.

Thus, while East Jerusalem is isolated from its historical hinterland and Palestinians, the separation is perhaps most keenly felt on festive days. Especially for millions of Palestinians, performing holiday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Despite being so close, it remains a dream.

The Separation Wall, which divides the economic and social life of East Jerusalem, according to UN reports, causes an annual economic loss of $194 million for Palestinians.

Abu Dis: Inside Jerusalem but far away

Under normal circumstances, reaching Abu Dis, a few kilometers from the center of East Jerusalem, should take minutes.

But to reach the neighborhood, a much longer route must be taken, passing through Israeli checkpoints and illegal Jewish settlements. The detour can sometimes exceed one hour.

Ghazi Jawhar, head of the Abu Dis Livestock Association, said the neighborhood was separated from Jerusalem by the wall.

"Livestock was one of Abu Dis's main sources of income and considered a main source of revenues for people," he said.

Highlighting challenges they face because of the Israeli onslaught against Gaza, Jawhar said: "Grain prices had already increased due to the Ukraine war. This situation (Gaza war) also negatively affected small livestock."

Pointing out that a climate of sorrow has engulfed the entire Palestinian people because of the war, Jawhar said:

"Now it's the Gaza war. There is a climate of sorrow enveloping the entire Palestinian people due to Israel's attacks. We are now entering the holiday process. We should be experiencing the atmosphere of Eid al-Adha right now. However, we see that this process has been clearly affected by the war."

Jawhar noted that due to the war, more than 300,000 Palestinian workers employed in Israeli areas have not been able to go to work for eight months, and similarly, officials affiliated with the Palestinian Authority have not been able to receive their full salaries.

Indicating that all the situations negatively affect the livestock business, Jawhar said, "In terms of supply and demand, there is no situation where farmers and livestock tradesmen can reduce prices. Feed is expensive, demand is very low. We really want to help people in terms of prices, but the war and the decrease in income in the West Bank have negatively affected this situation."

No joy, festive atmosphere, but war, occupation

Mohammed Abo Helal, a livestock farmer in the Abu Dis neighborhood, said he struggles to maintain his farming amid difficulties, squeezed next to the Wall of Shame.

Describing the effect of the conflict on life, Abo Helal said: "We are also really affected by the war. Because people are sad and there is no festive atmosphere."

Stating that due to the increase in prices, demand is low, Abo Helal said, "Prices have also increased this year. It seems that this low demand will continue until the holiday."

He pointed to the genocidal war in Gaza by Israel and the wall.

"You see our farm is small. We cannot expand our farm due to the occupation. We are not experiencing joy or a festive atmosphere. There is war and occupation everywhere," he added.

Suleiman Mosa, another farmer, lamented the decline of livestock farming due to the occupation's economic pressures.

"My father used to raise hundreds of animals," he said. " Now, my brother and I can barely manage a few." -

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