Where The 'Battle For Jerusalem' May Have Already Begun

In Jabel Mukaber, in East Jerusalem, relatives of Oday and Ghassan, the two Palestinians who attacked a synagogue this week, are ready to continue their fight.

Palestinian flags are draped on electrical poles
Palestinian flags are draped on electrical poles
Maurizio Molinari

JERUSALEM — Palestinian flags hung on electrical poles, pro-jihad graffiti on peeling walls, garbage cans on fire, and a large tent with a green-and-red carpet — all mark the community's loss in a public way.

We're in Jabel Mukaber, an East Jerusalem neighborhood, in a house belonging to the Abu Jamal family — where Oday and Ghassan, 22 and 32, lived before they stormed the B'nei Torah synagogue this week, the city's deadliest attack in more than six years. The two cousins entered the synagogue in Har Nof wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun, killing four people attending early morning prayers, and a police officer, before they were killed by police.

So, two days later, relatives and friends had set up the tents and chairs to welcome mourner of the deaths of the two Palestinian men.

Greeting everyone on behalf of the family is Aladin Abu Jamal, 32. "I'm the cousin of the two Shaheed," he says, "And contrary to what everyone says I don't believe that they're dead. They have become martyrs, honoring those who love them."

Wearing a black-and-white keffiyeh around his neck, a black T-shirt and jeans, Aladin speaks to the small crowd surrounding him. "Oday and Ghassan loved this land, they did what they did for the Al-Aqsa mosque and to make the world understand that this is our home and the Jews have taken it away," he adds.

Pausing between sentences for loud applause, he's receiving admiring glances from the shabab — young people — who just a few hours earlier had battled Israeli soldiers who arrived to arrest other relatives of the attackers.

Mahmoud, uncle of Oday and Ghassan, accused the military of "having taken 14 relatives, including Oday's wife." Agents from Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, came looking for information on possible accomplices of the two "lone wolves," but just one look around Jabel Mukaber is enough to realize that support for the attackers is everywhere.

A woman dressed in black, about 40 years old, approaches, raising her hands to the heavens and shouted, "Oday and Ghassan are all our children, we hope that Allah will give us many like them."

Just five minutes away by car is the heart of Jewish Jerusalem. The Abu Jamal family — like the other 14,000 residents of Jabel Mukaber — have Israeli documents and between this Palestinian nationalist stronghold and the Jewish quarter of East Talpiot there aren't any barriers or blockades. More than 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem are a weak point for the security of the Jewish state because they live mixed among 600,000 Jewish residents.

Yoav Nissim, a taxi driver in East Talpiot, knows Aladin Abu Jamal and on Saturdays brings his children to play on the green grass around a United Nations office, which marks the division of the two districts. "This Saturday I will not go because the atmosphere in the city has changed," he says.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem may have kept lower profiles during the First and Second Intifadas than those in the West Bank and Gaza, but they're now on the front line. As Mahmoud puts it, "If you want to know why I have two nephews who are martyrs, ask Netanyahu whether he wants to destroy the Al-Aqsa." The reference is to the growing tensions over how the mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, is managed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the attack Monday: "This is the battle for Jerusalem. They want to throw us out but we will not go." When I quote this to Aladin, he quips: "There's a lot of us, we have a lot of energy and faith in Allah which are unbeatable weapons to fight against those who occupy us."

So, the battle for Jerusalem will begin. And the people in this district are offering security to the Abu Jamal family as they pay homage to their sons, winding through the streets of their neighborhood — just a few meters away from the square where the Israeli military have set up their base. Among their anti-riot equipment is the aerostat — it's considered more efficient than drones.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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