After clashes that left more than 200 injured the night before, tensions returned to Jerusalem on Saturday, with a new wave of conflict between Palestinians and Israeli police, as tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers prayed at the Al Mosque. -Aqsa during the night. The Islamic saint of Laylat al-Qadr.
Young Palestinians threw stones, lit fires and broke down police barriers in the streets leading to the fortified gates of the Old City, while officers on horseback and in shock used effect grenades and cannons with water to repel them.
At least 63 people were injured, including a minor and a one-year-old baby, and 11 were taken to hospital, the Palestinian Red Crescent (the equivalent of the Red Cross in Muslim countries) said. . According to the Israeli police, at least one policeman was also injured.
Tensions escalated during the holy month of Ramadan and amid growing anger over the possible eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
TV footage showed buses of Muslim worshipers from Israeli Arab towns stopped by police on the main road en route to Jerusalem.
News of the blockade spread on social media, attracting hundreds of young people. Dozens of cars rolled in the wrong direction through the now empty lanes leading into the city, picking up other Muslims who had abandoned their own vehicles to begin the ascent on foot. Some shouted in Arabic: “With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, Al-Aqsa!”
Police said they were only stopping those who planned to participate in the riots before the buses could continue.
Police commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said more police were dispatched to the city on Saturday. “The right to protest will be preserved, but the riots will receive a firm response without zero tolerance,” he said in a statement.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also said in a statement that law and order would be maintained, as well as the right to worship.
In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators gathered along the border. The IDF said the crowd threw burning tires and fireworks at the troops.
“We salute the people of Al-Aqsa, who oppose the arrogance of the Zionists and ask our people to support their brothers,” said Moussa Abu Marzouk, one of the leaders of the ruling Islamic armed group Hamas. Gaza, on their social networks.
On Friday (7), there were clashes at the mosque esplanade, during a demonstration calling for an end to evictions in areas in conflict with the Jews. At least 205 Palestinians and 18 Israeli officials were injured.
The date coincides with the celebration of Quds Day (Arabic name for Jerusalem), during which Muslims protest to reaffirm the right claimed by Palestinians over the city. There were acts recalling the date also in Iran, Yemen and Pakistan.
Many participants remained at the site after praying to denounce the eviction of Palestinians living on disputed land with Jewish settlers. Police, in turn, used water jets and armored vehicles to disperse protesters who gathered near the homes of families threatened with eviction.
Israel police spokesman Wassem Bard said the security forces only responded to attacks, as he said hundreds of people threw stones, bottles and other objects at the officers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “cruel terrorist” in a speech on Saturday night in Ankara, saying the country “is savagely attacking Muslims in Jerusalem who have no other concern than to protect their homes and their elders. country”.
Jerusalem is experiencing days of tension and protests against plans to withdraw Palestinian families from the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood. At dawn on Friday, 15 Palestinians were arrested in the midst of the acts. A few hours later, new demonstrations took place in the region. On Monday (10), the Israeli Supreme Court will analyze a case of evictions in Sheik Jarrah, where the majority of the residents of the neighborhood are Palestinians.
However, the place shelters a sacred space for the Jews: the tomb of Simeon, the Just, high priest around 300 BC. The case in question involves the withdrawal of four Palestinian families, and the Jerusalem regional court ruled earlier this year that the land be returned to Jewish families.
Under Israeli law, if Jews prove that their families lived in East Jerusalem prior to 1948, they can request the return of their property rights. The rule is highly contested by the Palestinians.
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 evacuation of residents, and the US government, which has expressed deep concern over tensions in Jerusalem, called for the suspension of unilateral acts, such as the eviction of families.
The Israeli government said the Palestinians “are treating a real estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, to incite violence.”
At the end of April, the NGO Human Rights Watch published a report accusing the State of Israel of having committed crimes of apartheid and persecution against Arabs and Palestinians, which, in international law, amounts to to crimes against humanity.
In the more than 200-page document, the NGO points to restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and the seizure of land for the construction of settlements in the territories occupied since the 1967 war as examples of the crimes committed.