Home International Israel-Palestine: more than twenty injured in new clashes in Jerusalem

Israel-Palestine: more than twenty injured in new clashes in Jerusalem

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More than twenty people were injured this Sunday during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police on the esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. Since Friday, April 15, Jerusalem has once again been the scene of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis.

More than twenty people were injured this Sunday during clashes between Palestinians and Israelis on and around the esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, the scene of violent clashes on Friday. The esplanade of the Mosques – also called Temple Mount by the Jews – is located in the Old City in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied since 1967 by Israel.

Early on Sunday, ‘hundreds’ of Palestinian protesters began heaping ‘stones’ on the plaza shortly before religious Jews arrived at the spot, considered Judaism’s holiest and Islam’s third holiest site , Israeli police said.

The Israeli security forces entered the esplanade of the Mosques in order to “dislodge” these demonstrators and “restore order”, said the Israeli police. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 19 wounded Palestinians, some of whom were hit by rubber bullets.

Since the capture in 1967 and then the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel – not recognized by the international community -, Jews have been authorized to access the esplanade at certain times, but not to pray there. The prayer normally takes place at the Wailing Wall, below, even if for years religious Jews have been praying in secret on the esplanade.

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These incidents come as Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem, the crossroads of the three monotheistic religions, Christian festivities for Easter, prayers for Passover, Passover, and for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Rocky coaches

Meanwhile, near the Old City, young Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Israeli civilians, including minors, according to Israeli police. Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem reported seven minor injuries from the stone throwing, while Israeli police reported 18 arrests.

“Al-Aqsa (name given in Arabic to the esplanade of the Mosques, editor’s note) is ours, and the Jews have absolutely no right to it,” said in a press release Ismaïl Haniyeh, head of the political branch of the Hamas, Palestinian armed Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip, territory under Israeli blockade.

For his part, Hussein el-Sheikh, a tenor of the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to put an end to “the blatant aggression” against the esplanade of the Mosques. In Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, mosques called on worshipers to come to the esplanade, according to AFP journalists. And in the Gaza Strip, more than a dozen rockets were fired Sunday morning towards the Mediterranean Sea, according to media close to Hamas.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reaffirmed that “the security forces had carte blanche to (…) ensure the security of Israeli citizens”. “We are trying to calm the situation on the ground while taking determined action against the causes of the violence,” added Naftali Bennett.

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For “free” access

On Friday morning, after weeks of tension linked to attacks by two Palestinians in the Tel Aviv area and Israeli “counter-terrorism” operations in the occupied West Bank, clashes erupted between Israeli police and demonstrators on the esplanade. Mosques, where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque are located.

Israeli forces notably entered the Al-Aqsa mosque during these clashes where more than 150 Palestinians were injured, an intervention that drew strong condemnation from Muslim countries. Jordan, which administers the esplanade of the Mosques, blamed Israel for this new escalation of violence.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who is in Germany where he underwent surgery for a herniated disc, called on the Jewish state to ‘end the illegal and provocative measures that lead to a further escalation’ of violence , according to a statement from the royal palace on Sunday.

At the Vatican, during the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing for Easter, Pope Francis for his part pleaded on Sunday for “free” access to the holy places in Jerusalem. “May Israelis, Palestinians and all the inhabitants of the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace”, said the sovereign pontiff.

The UN had called for a “de-escalation” in order to prevent tensions in Jerusalem from turning, like last year, into war between Hamas and Israel.

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