Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades in direction of rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amid rising anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from houses on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
At least 53 Palestinians and 6 officers had been injured within the night-time clashes at Islam’s third-holiest web site, Palestinian medics and Israeli police stated, as 1000’s of Palestinians confronted off with a number of hundred Israeli police in riot gear.
Tension has mounted in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah – a neighbourhood the place quite a few Palestinian households face eviction in a long-running authorized case.
Calls for calm and restraint poured in on Friday from the United States and the United Nations, with others together with Jordan condemning the doable evictions. Tens of 1000’s of Palestinians packed into the hilltop compound surrounding the mosque earlier on Friday for prayers. Many stayed on to protest in opposition to the evictions within the metropolis at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian battle.
But following the night meal that breaks the Ramadan quick, clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa with smaller scuffles close to Sheikh Jarrah, which sits close to the walled Old City’s well-known Damascus Gate. Police used water cannon mounted on armoured autos to disperse a number of hundred protesters gathered close to the houses of households going through potential eviction.
“If we don’t stand with this group of people here, (evictions) will (come) to my house, her house, his house and to every Palestinian who lives here,” stated protester Bashar Mahmoud, 23, from the close by Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya.
CALM DOWN AND BE QUIET
An Aqsa official appealed for calm on the compound by way of the mosque’s loudspeakers. “Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!”Israel’s Supreme Court will maintain a listening to on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday, the identical day that Israel marks Jerusalem Day – its annual celebration of its seize of East Jerusalem throughout the 1967 Middle East struggle.
The Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service stated 23 of the Palestinians injured at Al-Aqsa had been taken to hospital, most of them wounded within the eyes and face by rubber bullets and stun grenades. A police spokeswoman stated Palestinians had thrown rocks, fireworks and different objects in direction of officers, with among the six injured requiring medical therapy.
“We will respond with a heavy hand to any violent disturbance, rioting or harm to our officers, and will work to find those responsible and bring them to justice,” the spokeswoman stated.Violence has additionally elevated within the occupied West Bank, the place two Palestinian gunmen had been killed and a 3rd critically injured on Friday after they opened fireplace at an Israeli base, police stated. After that incident, Israel’s army stated it will ship further fight troops to the West Bank.
PLAYING WITH FIRE
Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, however the neighbourhood additionally incorporates a web site revered by non secular Jews as the tomb of an historic excessive priest, Simon the Just. The spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights stated the evictions, “if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” on East Jerusalem territory it captured and occupied, together with the West Bank, from neighbouring Jordan in 1967.”We name on Israel to instantly halt all pressured evictions, together with these in Sheikh Jarrah, and to stop any exercise that will additional contribute to a coercive setting and result in a danger of forcible switch,” spokesman Rupert Colville stated on Friday.
Washington was “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem,” stated U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter.”As we head right into a delicate interval within the days forward, it is going to be vital for all sides to make sure calm and act responsibly to deescalate tensions and keep away from violent confrontation,” Porter stated.
The European Union, Jordan and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council have expressed alarm at the potential evictions. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi stated Jordan had given the Palestinian Authority paperwork that he stated confirmed the Sheikh Jarrah Palestinians had been the “legitimate owners” of their houses.
Israel’s “provocative steps in occupied Jerusalem and violation of Palestinian rights, including the rights of the people of Sheikh Jarrah in their homes, is playing with fire,” Safadi stated in a international ministry assertion on Twitter.
Israel’s international ministry stated on Friday that Palestinians had been “presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, in order to incite violence in Jerusalem.” Palestinians rejected the allegation.