Clashes between Palestinians and Israelis injured more than twenty people on Sunday on and near the esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. Islam’s third holiest site has already been the scene of violent clashes on Friday.
Early this Sunday, “hundreds” of Palestinian demonstrators began to pile up “stones” on the esplanade shortly before the arrival of Jews. The latter can visit this place, considered the most sacred in Judaism, at specific times and under certain conditions.
The Israeli security forces entered the esplanade of the Mosques, called Temple Mount by the Jews, in order to “dislodge” these demonstrators and “restore order”, said the police.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 19 injured Palestinians, five of whom were evacuated to local hospitals. Some of the injured were reportedly hit by rubber bullets.
The incidents come as Christian Easter festivities are held on Sunday, as well as prayers for Passover, Passover, and the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem, the crossroads of the three monotheistic religions.
At the same time, near the Old City, located in the eastern part of Jerusalem occupied by Israel since 1967, young Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Israeli civilians, including minors, according to the police.
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital reported seven minor injuries from stone-throwing aimed at buses traveling near the Western Wall, the holiest place of prayer in Jewish tradition, while Israeli police reported 18 arrests.
« Al-Aqsa [nom donné aussi en arabe à l’esplanade des Mosquées, NDLR] is ours, and ours alone, and the Jews have absolutely no right to it,” said Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political wing of Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, in a statement. Hussein el-Sheikh, a tenor from the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to end “the blatant aggression” against the esplanade of the Mosques.
In Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem the mosques called the faithful to go to the esplanade. And in the Gaza Strip, more than a dozen rockets were fired Sunday morning towards the Mediterranean Sea, according to media close to Hamas.
The pope for “free” access
On Friday morning, after weeks of tension linked to attacks by two Palestinians in the Tel Aviv area and Israeli “counter-terrorism” operations in the occupied West Bank, clashes broke out between police and demonstrators on the esplanade of Mosques. The Israeli forces notably entered the Al-Aqsa mosque during these clashes which injured more than 150 Palestinians and aroused strong condemnation from Muslim countries.
Jordan, which administers the esplanade of the Mosques, blamed Israel for this new escalation of violence. On Sunday, during the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing at the Vatican, Pope Francis pleaded for “free” access to holy places in Jerusalem.
The UN had called for a “de-escalation” in order to prevent tensions in Jerusalem from turning, as last year, into war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, a territory under Israeli blockade located around 80km from Jerusalem, and Israel.
Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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