(Jerusalem) New clashes in Jerusalem, protests in the occupied West Bank and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip: Tensions escalated between Palestinians and Israeli forces today, Saturday, in the wake of the largest clashes in the holy city in years.
On Friday evening, skirmishes broke out in the suburbs of the Old City of Jerusalem the day after intersecting demonstrations involving a group of far-right Jews chanting “Death to the Arabs,” the Palestinians and the police, and more than 120 were wounded. .
Police and Palestinian youths were playing a game of cat and mouse near the Damascus Gate, after last Friday prayers that gathered tens of thousands of worshipers in the mosque yard, the third holiest site in Islam, during this period of the month of Ramadan.
Palestinian youths threw water bottles and stones at the police, who deployed in large numbers, used sound bombs in an attempt to disperse the crowd, and also led to a few arrests, including muscle arrests, an AFP journalist immediately noted. Other incidents also occurred in various Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Qalandia crossing, which connects Israel and the West Bank, on Friday evening, when various things were set on fire. Police said Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Rachel’s Tomb, a holy site for Jews in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, while a demonstration was also held in Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.
Later that night, at least 15 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave geographically separated from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, into Israel, according to the IDF. Some of the missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile shield and others landed in vacant areas.
In response, tanks, combat aircraft and military helicopters, according to the army, targeted sites of Hamas, an armed Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, and in recent years agreed to a truce with the Hebrew state after three wars. Between the two camps (2008, 2012, 2014).
After the clashes that took place on Thursday near the Old City, the fiercest in recent years in the holy city, Hamas’ military wing offered its support to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem as a warning to Israel.
We say to the youth and our people in Jerusalem: We heard the echoes of your blessed cries and heroic clashes. Knowing that behind you is a strong and ready resistance (for the battle), the military wing of Hamas warned in a statement. He adds: “The spark that ignites today will be the fuse for the explosion to come in front of the enemy.”
A group of Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second armed Islamic group in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement released Friday night to Saturday that they “cannot remain silent” in the wake of the violence in Jerusalem.
The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement – which is close to Iran, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad – expressed its solidarity with the Palestinians “strongly”, condemning the actions of “the occupation police” and “settler gangs.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the “incitement to hatred” of the extreme right-wing Israeli groups and urged the international community to “protect” the Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
The clashes began in recent days in Jerusalem after police prevented people from sitting on the stairs surrounding Bab al-Amud (Bab al-Amud, in Arabic), a place where Palestinians usually meet in the evenings during Ramadan.
And when far-right Jews planned to demonstrate near this wide gateway to the Old City, many Palestinians saw this as a provocation and an attempt to take control of this symbolic site.
Calls for calm
The United States, which is “deeply concerned” by this violence, called for “strong rejection” of “the sermons of extremist demonstrators who chant slogans of violent hatred.”
“We call for calm and unity, and we urge the authorities to ensure the security and rights of all in Jerusalem,” US diplomatic spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter.
On Thursday, the United Nations special envoy to the Middle East, Tor Wainesland, condemned the clashes that have been going on for several days between Israeli police and Israeli and Palestinian civilians, and called for “de-escalation.”
Neighboring Jordan, which manages Islamic holy sites in the Old City, condemned “the provocations of extremist Jewish groups,” calling on Israel to “stop it.” […] Harassment of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion told the Israeli Kan channel to speak with Palestinian leaders in East Jerusalem in the hope of ending “this unnecessary violence” that is taking place a month before the first Palestinian legislative elections in fifteen years, and during discussions in Israel about the possibility of an Arab party supporting a government Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to form it with the far-right parties.