Damascus Gate – 3rd Friday of Ramadan

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Ruthi Barkai (reporting and photos); Translator: Bracha Ben-Avraham
שער שכם, ירושלים

11:30 – 13:00

My general impression while crossing Road 1 to HaNevi’im Street – the border between East and West Jerusalem - was that there were fewer people here than there were two years ago.

There were men and women soldiers from the Border Patrol in a fenced–in corner, where they usually stand on normal days. According to the sign at the stop light the road was supposed to close from 12:00 to 1:00 on Fridays, but it was still open.

There were not many buses; the light rail had stopped, and there were police barricades in the area but few police, who are usually there all year.

HaNevi’im Street that leads to Damascus Gate is open on Fridays as usual. The most significant change that I saw was that almost all the stores were open.

More people were arriving from the bus stop in East Jerusalem. These were worshippers who had arrived by bus or transport from the checkpoints.

There was little traffic until 12:00 but more people continued to arrive by 13:00. The news crews were standing along the right side of the road leading down to Damascus Gate but meanwhile they were waiting for action. There were no police or border patrol present except for some female policewomen next to the barriers and the two booths on either side of the stairs at Damascus Gate.

Is this intentional, or are most of the forces inside the Old City?