Israel has faced growing international pressure to curb right-wing Jewish settlers and end planned evictions from a crucial neighborhood in East Jerusalem that have sparked violent clashes between police and Palestinians, including within the compound. of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which both signed a peace treaty with Israel last year, condemned Israel, while the United States – the Jewish state’s staunchest ally – has expressed deep concern over the plan to expel several Palestinian families who have lived in the country. Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood for generations. Turkey called Israel’s actions “terrorism”.
“It is essential to avoid measures that exacerbate tensions or take us further away from peace,” the US State Department said, listing Israeli expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem, as triggers. .
Thousands of Palestinian youth protested near the hills surrounding the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday evening, and Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse crowds after breaking the daily fast during Ramadan. . Some 200 Palestinians were injured, no fatalities, and 17 police officers were injured, Palestinian and Israeli doctors said.
Police said the Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and other objects at the officers. Videos uploaded show police officers throwing stun grenades at crowds, including one who entered the mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
The mosque is in an area controlled by Israel, which captured East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in 1967, but administered by an Islamic foundation.
Turkey condemned Israel for al-Aqsa confrontation
“Cruel Israel, the terrorist state of Israel, is brutally and unethical
attacking Muslims in Jerusalem ”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan said in televised remarks. “It is the duty of every Muslim to
protect the time, dignity and pride of Jerusalem. Each attack on
Jerusalem’s places of worship and Muslims is an attack on us.
The area on which the mosque is located is called the Temple Mount by the Jews and is the holiest site in Judaism – the original home of the second temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Many Jews worship at the Western Wall, the surviving part of the temple, and face in its direction during prayer.
Jewish settlers have targeted Sheikh Jarrah, a middle-class Arab neighborhood between east and west Jerusalem for decades, in an attempt to make the region predominantly Jewish.
Sheikh Jarrah is home to the legendary American Colony Hotel, a relatively affluent middle-class Arab population, and ends near the Ancient Damascus Gate, an entrance to the old walled city of Jerusalem. It also houses an ancient tomb of a Jewish high priest, Simon the Just.
Long-standing trials involving the homes of several Palestinian families are expected to result in a verdict soon, as lawyers for the families brace for a decision that will hand their homes over to the settlers.
At the center of the dispute is whether the families legally owned the houses prior to 1967, when the neighborhood was controlled by Jordan, or whether the land belonged to a Jewish trust that had legally purchased it from Arab families in 1876 to the Ottoman era. Large parts of the neighborhood had been razed under Jordanian control between 1948 and 1967 – the trust eventually sold its property to Jewish settlers, while Arab families stayed in their homes and submitted documents to the courts challenging the purchase of the coin trust. of the land in dispute. The private property rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territories are recognized by Israeli law, but human rights groups have documented that Palestinians routinely lose cases involving these rights.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said they had already provided documents proving the families were the “rightful owners” of their homes.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Monday, which is also Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, when it captured the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Although relatively peaceful in the rest of the country, Jerusalem Day is a regular flashpoint between Palestinians in East Jerusalem and right-wing Israelis.
Arab groups announced mass protests on Saturday, and Israeli police stepped up their deployments with protests set to peak on Monday.