Palestinians are anxious as Israel vows a ‘strong response’ to the Jerusalem attack

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Marco Werman: Hatuqa is a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah in the West Bank. It’s the de facto capital of the Palestinians. Here’s what she says about reaction there.

 

Dalia Hatuqa: There seems to be a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear. If I’m to look at what’s happened in the past few weeks, I don’t see an end in sight. I hope I’m wrong, but things seem to be spiralling out of control.

 

Werman: The PA, the Palestinian Authority, what is their official line toward this violence? What did they say?

 

Hatuqa: Well, this morning we heard from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, through a statement condemning the deaths. He said he doesn’t want to see any civilians being hurt or killed, let alone in a house of God. He also said that he would like to see a decrease in the number of what he called “provocative measures” being taken by settlers and attempts by right wing Israeli groups to get onto the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where some of them want to pray. He cited those as some of the reasons behind why things have been so tense in the past few months now.

 

Werman: It has to be said, this attack on the synagogue is not an isolated event. It follows maybe half a dozen or more attacks on Israelis over the last few weeks. Why is all this violence happening now?

 

Hatuqa: We need to look at the root of the issue. East Jerusalem particularly has been hard hit. It’s very much different from the western half of the city.

 

Werman: East Jerusalem is the Palestinian side of the city.

 

Hatuqa: Correct, and east Jerusalem has always lived in squalor. If you go to any of the neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, there’s trash everywhere. There’s no sidewalks, they’re not allowed to build anywhere, their homes are constantly being demolished. I believe that all these things finally have boiled over -- at least, that’s what people say, people that we talk to on the ground in east Jerusalem.

 

Werman: Do you think there’s some kind of broad acceptance in Palestinian society that individual acts of resistance, or whatever you want to call it, that they’re okay?

 

Hatuqa: I think some people do see them as a natural response. I know some people have called the situation a “pressure cooker” that’s bound to explode. In a way, I think some people believe that this was bound to happen sooner or later.

 

Werman: How worried are people about Israeli reprisals?

 

Hatuqa: I think people are somewhat worried. You’ve had this random beatings, and so it’s difficult. I hear people saying all the time “I’m not sure I want to go to Jerusalem, I might be mistaken for a Palestinian or an Israeli,” so it’s really built up into this atmosphere of fear and I think it’s just going to spiral out of control. That’s my fear as a journalist and also on a personal level.

 

Werman: What about you, Dalia? Are you going to stay in the West Bank in Ramallah, and how much do you gauge and assess your own safety when you go out these days?

 

Hatuqa: Of course I’m staying. This is my home, so I’m not really going anywhere. I do get anxious when I’m out there, not to the extent where I’m going to sit at home and hide, obviously. But it is very stressful you do feel the anxiety in the air, you do feel that people are kind of looking at each other suspiciously. But overall, I feel really sad. But that’s just me on a personal level. I just feel sad that all of this is happening.

 

Werman: Palestinian journalist Dalia Hatuqa in Ramallah. Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Hatuqa: Thank you.