Jerusalem (AP) – After renewed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, concerns about a major conflict are mounting.
On Monday, serious clashes broke out on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif / The noble sanctuary) in the old city. Videos on the Internet showed police officers using stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets against stone-throwing Palestinians in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day on Monday. The country celebrates the conquest of the Arab eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City, during the Six Day War in 1967.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 215 people were injured, four of whom were seriously. Just over 150 people were taken to hospitals. Police say nine officers were injured. The number of injuries can increase. There were allegations that Israel was denying paramedics access to the property. There would be injuries there. There had already been clashes at night at Damascus Gate and in Sheikh Jarrah district. Protests have also been reported from other cities.
Fearing violence, Israeli police banned Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on Monday during planned flag marches through the old city. The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state of their own.
The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque is of extraordinary importance to Jews and Muslims alike. It is the third holiest site in Islam. At the same time, there were two Jewish temples, the last of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70. The Western Wall is a remnant of that destroyed temple and the holiest site for the Jews.
Hussein al-Sheikh, adviser to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, criticized Israeli police’s “storming” of the Temple Mount. The Palestinian leadership is keeping all options open to respond.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said it had engaged Israel’s chargé d’affaires in the country. The US government has expressed concern. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, according to a spokesman, urged Israel to exercise “maximum restraint”. According to a report in the Times of Israel newspaper, the UN Security Council will consider the situation in Jerusalem.
An incident took place in the morning on a street on the outskirts of the old city of Jerusalem: an Israeli driver rammed his car into a Palestinian after his vehicle was pelted with stones by a group of Palestinians. Israeli police said the man had lost control of the car. The driver was then attacked by a crowd. An Israeli police officer shot into the air and forced the Palestinians to let him go.
The situation in the West Bank and Arab-dominated eastern Jerusalem has been tense since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan. About 300 Palestinians and about 20 police officers have been injured in violent skirmishes in Jerusalem since Friday. Many Palestinians are angry that police have cordoned off parts of the old city to prevent rallies. In addition, some Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood are threatened with eviction by the Israeli authorities.
Previously, Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip had once again fired rockets at the Israeli border area. According to the army, warning sirens were sounding in the city of Sderot and other cities. Three projectiles were fired. One of them apparently intercepted the iron dome’s missile defense.
On Sunday evening, Palestinian militants had already fired four missiles in the direction of Israel. In addition, explosive and incendiary balloons were sent across the border facility. Israeli tanks then fired at bases of the Islamic Hamas that ruled the Gaza Strip. Israel also closed the Erez border crossing into the Palestinian territory that morning.
On Sunday evening, Israel had already closed the fishing zone for the Gaza Strip until further notice. Hamas has declared its solidarity with the people of Jerusalem. Hamas flags were waved recently during Ramadan prayers on the Temple Mount.