More than 150 hurt as Palestinians clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site – EURACTIV.com

More than 150 folks had been wounded Friday (15 April) in clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the primary face-off on the flashpoint holy website because the begin of Ramadan.

Israeli police mentioned dozens of masked males marched into Al-Aqsa setting off fireworks earlier than crowds hurled stones in direction of the Western Wall — thought of the holiest website the place Jews can pray.

Witnesses mentioned Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades.

The Palestinian Red Crescent mentioned 153 folks had been hospitalised and “dozens” of others had been handled on the scene. Israeli police mentioned a minimum of three officers had been harm.

Around 400 folks had been arrested, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club mentioned.

The clashes come after three weeks of lethal violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank, and because the Jewish pageant of Passover and Christian Easter overlap with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third-holiest website. Jews discuss with it because the Temple Mount, referencing two temples mentioned to have stood there in antiquity.

Last yr through the Muslim fasting month, clashes that flared in Jerusalem, together with between Israeli forces and Palestinians visiting Al-Aqsa, led to 11 days of devastating battle between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that guidelines the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid mentioned Friday’s “riots” had been “unacceptable”.

“The convergence of Passover, Ramadan and Easter is symbolic of what we have in common. We must not let anyone turn these holy days into a platform for hate, incitement and violence,” he mentioned.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland urged “the authorities on both sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and prevent any further provocations by radical actors”.

The US, European Union and the Arab League have additionally voiced their concern.

Washington on Friday mentioned it was “deeply concerned” by the occasions in Jerusalem.

“We call on all sides to exercise restraint (and) avoid provocative actions and rhetoric,” State Department spokesman Ned Price mentioned in a press release.

‘Red line’ 

Police mentioned crowds had hurled rocks “in the direction of the Western Wall… and as the violence surged, police were forced to enter the grounds surrounding the mosque,” including officers didn’t enter the mosque.

But Al-Aqsa mosque director Omar al-Kiswani advised AFP that an “assault was made inside the Al-Aqsa mosque”.

“More than 80 young people inside the holy mosque were displaced,” he mentioned, including: “Al-Aqsa mosque is a red line”.

Before Ramadan, Israel and Jordan stepped up talks in an effort to keep away from a repeat of final yr’s violence.

Jordan serves as custodian of the mosque compound, whereas Israel controls entry.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh mentioned there was “no place for the invaders and occupiers in our holy Jerusalem”.

Analysts say Hamas needs to maintain the battle alive within the West Bank and in Jerusalem however keep away from escalation within the Gaza Strip after final yr’s warfare, and with 1000’s of Gazans’ Israeli work permits in danger.

“Hamas does not want a new confrontation,” mentioned Mukhaimer Abu Saada, professor of political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.

An Israeli safety supply mentioned the Islamic Jihad militant group — which controls neither the West Bank nor Gaza — can be extra inclined in direction of an escalation with Israel.

The group warned “the confrontation will be closer and harder” for Israeli forces if “they do not stop the aggression against our people”.

Along with Hamas, Islamic Jihad mobilised 1000’s of individuals in Gaza on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians at Al-Aqsa, AFP correspondents reported.

Spiralling violence 

Israel has poured further forces into the West Bank and is reinforcing its wall and fence barrier after 4 lethal assaults within the Jewish state prior to now three weeks.

A complete of 14 folks have been killed within the assaults since March 22, together with a capturing spree in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish metropolis in better Tel Aviv.

Twenty-two Palestinians have been killed over the identical interval, together with assailants who focused Israelis, in line with an AFP tally.

On Thursday, Israel introduced it might block crossings from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel from Friday afternoon by means of Saturday, the primary two nights of Passover week, and doubtlessly preserve the crossings closed for the remainder of the vacation.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who misplaced his parliamentary majority final week, has given Israeli forces a free hand to “defeat terror” within the West Bank, which Israel has occupied because the Six-Day War of 1967.

Some of the assaults in Israel had been carried out by Arab residents of Israel linked to or impressed by the Islamic State group, others by Palestinians, cheered by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Three Palestinians died Thursday as Israeli forces launched recent raids into the West Bank district of Jenin, per week after a lethal gun assault in opposition to a Tel Aviv nightlife district. A fourth died of his wounds on Friday.

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