Dozens Injured In New Jerusalem Clashes

Lula Sharp
May 9, 2021

Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday.

The worldwide community has warned Israel about the illegality of its attempts to chip away at Palestinian territory by building illegal settlements around Palestinian-majority neighborhoods while evicting local residents. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the intrusion on the mosque and called on Israeli police to preserve Palestinians' rights to practice their sacred religious rituals.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 88 people were hospitalised while most of the wounded suffered injuries to the face and eyes from rubber-coated bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades. At least six Israeli police officers have also been injured, per Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the police actions.

In a call to Palestine TV late Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas praised the "courageous stand" of the protesters and said Israel bore full responsibility for the violence. After weeks of nightly violence, Israelis and Palestinians were bracing for more conflict in the coming days.

A large crowd of protesters screamed "God is great" outside the Old City's Damascus Gate, and police were pelted with rocks and water bottles.

"The Chief of Staff is sending a clear and last warning to the Israeli occupation and settlers that if they did not immediately cease their aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, we will not sit on our hands and will make them pay a heavy price".

Online activists have tried to raise awareness about the ongoing Israeli efforts to intimidate and expel local residents in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Police defended their actions as security moves, but these were seen as provocations by Muslims who accuse Israel of threatening their freedom of worship.

Instead, hundreds marched on highways leading to the city.

Israeli seurity forces advance on Palestinian protesters at the al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem
'It Is Inhumane': Ocasio-Cortez Slams Israeli Eviction Effort in Sheikh Jarrah

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque complex is one of Islam's most revered sites, but its location is also the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount. The move set off two weeks of clashes before Israel lifted the restrictions.

The U.S.is urging calm.

"They do not want us to pray".

Condemning the Israeli settlement policy, he said the building of new Israeli settlements and the expansion of existing ones and the confiscation of Palestinian lands and eviction of Palestinians from lands that are rightfully theirs breach worldwide law, undermine all chances of realizing the two-state solution and threaten regional security and stability.

"As we have consistently said, it is critical to avoid unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions or take us further away from peace, this includes evictions, settlement activity, and home demolitions", the spokesperson added.

The European Union called on the authorities "to act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions", saying "violence and incitement are unacceptable and the perpetrators on all sides must be held accountable". Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said the illegal threats to Palestinian-occupied territory "represents a violation of worldwide law, undermining the chances of reaching a two-state solution, and threatening the foundations of security and stability in the region".

Turkey criticised Israel and accused it of unleashing "terror" on Palestinians, with several Turkish officials calling for other countries to voice condemnation.

"The state of Israel will not let violence run loose and definitely will not allow terror groups to threaten it", he tweeted.

The United Nations called on Israel to halt all evictions in the neighborhood.

The clashes were the latest in a deadly day that saw Israeli forces shoot and kill two Palestinians after three men allegedly opened fire on an Israeli base in the occupied West Bank.

Israel also drew criticism from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that signed normalisation accords with the Jewish state a year ago.

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