JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police on Sunday entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis to safe the way in which for Jewish guests to the flashpoint holy website, fueling clashes that left 17 Palestinians wounded, in response to Palestinian medical employees.
The unrest occurred simply two days after clashes with Palestinians on the similar website. Violence in Jerusalem between Israeli safety forces and Palestinian demonstrators a 12 months in the past escalated into an 11-day Gaza conflict.
The hilltop compound housing the mosque is the third-holiest website in Islam, whereas it’s the holiest place for Jews, who discuss with it because the Temple Mount. The competing claims to the location have sparked quite a few rounds of violence.
This 12 months the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Christian holy week culminating in Easter Sunday and the week-long Jewish Passover are all occurring on the similar time, with tens of 1000’s of tourists flocking to the town after coronavirus restrictions have been largely lifted.
Israeli police accused Palestinians of “defiling and desecrating” a holy website, whereas Palestinian officers accused Israel of making an attempt to divide the delicate holy website. “What occurred in Al-Aqsa Mosque is a harmful escalation, the repercussions of that are to be borne by the Israeli authorities alone,” mentioned Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Police mentioned they entered the compound to facilitate the routine go to of Jews to the holy website. They mentioned Palestinians had stockpiled stones and arrange boundaries in anticipation of violence.
Omer Barlev, the Israeli minister in control of the police, mentioned it was vital to make sure freedom of worship “however we is not going to compromise when violence and terror happen.”
The police cleared Palestinians out of the sprawling esplanade outdoors the mosque itself early Sunday, whereas dozens of Palestinians remained contained in the constructing chanting “God is Best.” Video launched by police confirmed small teams of youths throwing stones, in addition to fireworks being fired from contained in the mosque.
Palestinians reported temporary clashes with Israeli police simply outdoors the mosque compound, whereas police mentioned Palestinians had thrown stones at buses outdoors the Previous Metropolis. Paramedics mentioned 5 folks driving in buses acquired therapy for minor accidents within the assaults.
Police launched a video displaying a crowd of youths pelting a passing bus with stones simply outdoors the Previous Metropolis. One other video from the police, taken inside one of many buses, confirmed Jewish households sitting on the ground of the car because it continued on its approach.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered further safety on public buses going to the Previous Metropolis after a scenario evaluation with prime protection officers.
“We’re working to calm issues down on the one hand and are taking vigorous motion in opposition to violent people on the opposite,” he mentioned.
The Palestinian Crimson Crescent medical service mentioned 17 Palestinians have been wounded, together with 5 individuals who have been hospitalized. Israeli police reported 9 arrests. By noon, witnesses mentioned police had moved out of the compound.
Jordan, which serves as custodian of the holy website, issued a press release condemning Israel’s actions, saying they undermine “all efforts made to keep up the great calm and forestall the escalation of violence that threatens safety and peace.”
Beneath longtime understandings, Jews are allowed to go to the Temple Mount however are barred from praying there. For many years, Jews averted worship there for spiritual causes.
Israeli authorities say they’re dedicated to sustaining the established order, however in recent times giant teams of nationalist and spiritual Jews have regularly visited the site with police escorts, one thing the Palestinians view as a provocation. The variety of guests usually rises throughout spiritual holidays. Palestinian officers mentioned almost 550 Jewish guests entered the compound, in comparison with just some dozen on most days.
Such practices have fueled issues amongst Palestinians that Israel is plotting to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or partition it. Israel strongly denies such claims, saying it’s dedicated to defending freedom of worship for all.
Clashes erupted on the website earlier than daybreak on Friday after police mentioned Palestinians had hurled stones towards the Western Wall, an adjoining Jewish holy website. Police entered in pressure and clashed with dozens of Palestinians shortly after daybreak prayers.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, which incorporates the Previous Metropolis, together with the West Financial institution and Gaza within the 1967 conflict. The Palestinians need a future state in all three territories. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a transfer not acknowledged internationally and is constructing and increasing settlements within the occupied West Financial institution. Hamas controls Gaza, which has been beneath an Israeli and Egyptian blockade for the reason that Islamic militant group seized energy there in 2007.
A radical Jewish group not too long ago known as on folks to convey animals to the location with the intention to sacrifice them for Passover, providing money rewards for individuals who succeeded and even tried. Israeli police work to stop such actions, however the name was extensively circulated by Palestinians on social media, together with requires Muslims to stop any sacrifices from happening.
Israeli police accused Palestinians of spreading disinformation on social media, heightening the tensions.