Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police left a hundred injured on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, this Friday, April 15. “One hundred and seventeen wounded were transferred” in hospitals in Jerusalem and “tens” others were treated at the site, a rescue official said, amid fears of a conflagration in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Red Crescent had first reported seven wounded, after about twenty, in this morning’s clashes in the Old City of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied since 1967 by Israel, before quickly revising this assessment upwards. For its part, the Israeli police indicated that at least three policemen were injured in their ranks.
Witnesses reported that Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces and fired rubber bullets at some Palestinian protesters. around 4 a.m., “dozens of young masked rioters”some showing themselves with flags of the armed Islamist movement Hamas, “a procession began” on the Esplanade of the Mosques, and threw stones in the direction of the adjoining Western Wall, the most important place of prayer in Jewish tradition, the Israeli police announced, saying they had intervened to “Restore Order”.
These clashes on the Esplanade of the Mosques are the first this year since the beginning of Ramadan, a period of large concentrations of Muslims in this holy place, which also sometimes serves as a sounding board for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And this weekend, authorities feared slip-ups in the holy city with the start of Christian Easter and Jewish Easter celebrations with prayers at the Western Wall, a rare coincidence of calendars between the three main monotheistic religions.
During Ramadan 2021, the Muslim holy month, nightly demonstrations in Jerusalem and clashes even on the esplanade had turned into 11 days of war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, and Israel.
This violence in the heart of Jerusalem follows a series of attacks in Israel and Israeli operations in the West Bank, another territory occupied since 1967 by the Jewish state. Since March 22, Israel has been hit by four attacks, the first two carried out by Israeli Arabs linked to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist organization and the last two by Palestinians from the Jenin sector of the West Bank. These attacks killed fourteen people. In addition, 21 Palestinians, including assailants, have been killed in violence since that date, according to an AFP tally.
The third holiest place in Islam, the Esplanade of the Mosques – also called the Temple Mount by the Jews – is located in the Old City of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied since 1967 by Israel and which continues to be the scene of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters. . Jordan administers the Mosque Complex, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located, but access to this place is controlled by Israel.