Since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the situation in the West Bank and in the eastern part of Jerusalem has been tense. There are serious clashes on the Temple Mount. The US is pushing for moderation.
Jerusalem (AP) – Severe clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces injured more than 200 people in Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 205 injured on Saturday. 88 of them were taken to hospitals. Many were hit by rubber bullets. According to Israeli police, 17 officers were injured.
Clashes took place around the old city and the Sheikh Jarrah district. There were mainly disputes on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif / The noble sanctuary). Thousands of Muslims gathered there to pray on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan. According to police, the clashes started when stones and fireworks flew from between the believers. Police officers then went to the site. The confrontations lasted well into the night.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the escalation. Islamist Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip announced on Saturday that Israel would “pay the price.” Initially, there was no response from the Israeli government. The US State Department and UN Special Envoy Tor Wennesland were deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Both called for moderation.
Since the start of Ramadan and the postponement of the Palestinian parliamentary elections, there have been repeated tensions and violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israeli security forces prevented an attack on a base in the north of the West Bank on Friday. Two attackers were killed.
The cause of the unrest in Jerusalem is believed to be the anger of the Palestinians over the Israeli police’s blocking measures in the Old City area during Ramadan. In addition, a conflict over the possible expulsion of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah increased tensions. In the case of four families, a decision could be made on Monday.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the central issues in the Middle East conflict. Israel claims Jerusalem as “the eternal and indivisible capital” for itself. The Palestinians, for their part, are holding on to their claim to East Jerusalem as their capital.
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