Israeli police and Palestinians clashed Friday (7) on the esplanade of the mosques in Jerusalem after a demonstration against the expulsions of Palestinians in areas in conflict with the Jews.
This Friday (7) is the last of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims. Thus, tens of thousands of Palestinians went to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Islamic temple in the world, which is located in Jerusalem.
As Israel withdrew much of the social distancing measures, with vaccination making great strides in the country, worshipers were able to gather and pray in and around the mosque. “Our people will remain faithful and patient at home, in our blessed land,” Sheikh Tayseer Abu Sunainah said during the sermon delivered at the mosque.
Many participants remained at the site after the prayers, to protest the eviction of Palestinians living on disputed land with Jewish settlers. The demonstrators carried flags and sang verses like “with our blood and soul we will redeem you, Aqsa”.
Then there were clashes. “Hundreds of people threw stones, bottles and other objects at the officers, who responded,” said Wassem Badr, an Israeli police spokesman.
The number of injuries has not been confirmed. According to the NGO Crescente Vermelho, at least one Palestinian was injured in the eye by a rubber bullet. Another was hit by a similar projectile in the head.
On Monday (10), the Israeli Supreme Court will analyze a case of evictions in Sheik Jarrah, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. Most of the residents are Palestinians, but the site houses a sacred space for Jews: the tomb of Simeon, the Righteous, who was the high priest of Israel around 300 BC.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the evictions would violate Israel’s international commitments to the Palestinians, and called for an end to the evictions of residents.
The European Union and the governments of Kuwait and Jordan have expressed concern over the issue of deportations. The US government has said it is deeply concerned about the tensions in Jerusalem.
The Israeli government said the Palestinians “are treating a real estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, to incite violence.”