New clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police left nineteen injured on Sunday, April 17, in and near the Jerusalem Mosques esplanade, which had been the scene of violent clashes on Friday. According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, some of the injured were hit by rubber bullets.
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. early sunday, “hundreds” of Palestinian protesters began to collect “stones” on the esplanade shortly before religious Jews arrived at the site, considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, Israel Police said. The Israeli security forces entered the esplanade of the Mosques to “Evict” these protesters and “Restore Order”according to the police.
Since the taking in 1967 and then the annexation by Israel of East Jerusalem -not recognized by the international community-, Jews have been authorized to access the esplanade at certain times, but not to pray there. Prayer normally takes place at the Western Wall below, although religious Jews have been praying secretly on the esplanade for years.
These incidents occur as Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem, crossroads of the three monotheistic religions, Christian festivities for Holy Week, prayers for Passover, Pesach, and for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli civilians attacked
Meanwhile, near the Old City, Palestinian youths hurled stones at buses carrying Israeli civilians, including minors, according to Israeli police. Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem reported seven minor injuries from stone throwing, while Israeli police reported eighteen arrests.
« Al-Aqsa [mosquée présente sur l’esplanade] It is ours, and the Jews have absolutely no right to it.”Ismaïl Haniyeh, head of the political wing of Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, territory under Israeli blockade, said in a press release.
In Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, mosques called on the faithful to come to the esplanade, according to journalists from Agence France-Presse, while in the Gaza Strip more than a dozen rockets were fired into the sea on Sunday morning. Mediterranean, according to media close to Hamas. .
Carte blanche for security forces
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated that “The security forces had carte blanche to (…) ensure the safety of Israeli citizens.”. “We are trying to calm the situation on the ground while taking decisive action against the causes of the violence”Mr. Bennett added.
In the process, the Israeli Arab party Raam -four deputies- ” discontinued “ his participation in the government coalition of the prime minister: “If the government continues with its arbitrary measures” on the esplanade of the Mosques, “We will present a collective resignation”Raam warned in his press release. This freezing of Raam’s participation in the coalition has no short-term effect on Mr. Bennett’s government because the work of the Knesset is suspended until May 5.
On Friday morning, after weeks of tension linked to attacks by two Palestinians in the Tel Aviv area and Israeli operations to “counter-terrorism” In the occupied West Bank, clashes broke out between Israeli police and protesters on the Esplanade des Mosques, where the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque are located. In particular, Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque during these clashes in which more than 150 Palestinians were injured, an intervention that had drawn strong condemnation from Muslim countries.
Jordan, which administers the esplanade of the Mosques, blamed Israel for this new escalation of violence. King Abdullah II urged the Jewish state to “end the illegal and provocative measures that lead to further escalation” in violence
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke this Sunday by telephone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a political rival of the Islamist Hamas, to congratulate him on his ” calm “ and sound “good judgement” in this case, he said on his Twitter account. The UN had already requested a “de-escalation” to prevent the tensions in Jerusalem from turning, like last May, into a war between Hamas and Israel.
In the Vatican, during the traditional blessing to the city and the world for Easter, Pope Francis on Sunday asked for access ” free “ in the holy places of Jerusalem: “May the Israelis, the Palestinians and all the inhabitants of the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace. »