#AceNewsReport – Aug.17: Israel’s foreign minister also asked neighbouring countries for help: Greece and Cyprus responded with offers to send firefighting aircraft, officials said, though it was not clear if they would be needed.
#AceDailyNews says that Israel battles huge wildfire near Jerusalem and the blaze appeared to have been brought under control on Sunday night but strong winds and low humidity caused it to regain intensity on Monday….as authorities were forced to evacuate about 2,000 residents of nearby towns and villages as a precaution:
Firefighters have the #Jerusalem area wildfire mostly contained, with #Fire Chief Insp.-Gen. Dedi Simchi telling Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev that international aid is no longer needed.https://t.co/RBJAhpPiAc
“We are deployed in many areas because the winds could bring the fire to new places,” Israel Fire and Rescue Services official Niso Guetta told Army Radio.
EPAIsrael’s government requested assistance from several neighbouring countries
Reuters: The wildfire has destroyed 2,000 hectares of forest in the Jerusalem Hills
The blaze sent a plume of thick black smoke over Jerusalem, and residents have been advised to limit their outdoor activity because of the very high pollution levels.
The wildfire is one of the largest in Israel’s history, but so far no-one has been killed. In 2010, 44 people were killed by a fire on Mount Carmel, in the north of the country, that burned 2,500 hectares.
Reuters: The wildfire is one of the largest in Israel’s history
ReutersResidents of Jerusalem were advised to stay indoors because of the very high air pollution
Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simchi has said the fire was caused by humans, but investigators do not know yet if it was arson or negligence.
“The climate crisis will make such events more frequent and powerful, and Israel is particularly sensitive to drought and warming,” Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg warned during a visit to a fire service command centre, according to the Times of Israel.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
#AceNewsReport – June.15: The eight parties, including a small Arab faction that is making history by sitting in the ruling coalition, are united in their opposition to Netanyahu and new elections but agree on little else:
ISRAEL: Knesset approves new coalition, ending Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s unseated long-term leader as Naftali Bennett, the head of a small ultranationalist party, was sworn in as prime minister after a narrow 60-59 vote in parliament but if he wants to keep the job, he will have to maintain an unwieldy coalition of parties from the political right, left and center after he’s rise to Israel’s new PM
Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his 12-year hold on power in Israel after its parliament voted in a new coalition government.
Right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett has been sworn in as prime minister, leading a “government of change”.
He will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties which was approved with a razor-thin majority of 60-59.
Mr Bennett will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal.
He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, for a further two years.
Mr Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving leader who has dominated its political landscape for years – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.
During the debate in the Knesset (parliament), a defiant Mr Netanyahu promised: “We’ll be back: After Netanyahu sat silently during the vote. After it was approved, he stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking Bennett’s hand. A dejected Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, briefly sat in the opposition leader’s chair before walking out.
They are likely to pursue a modest agenda that seeks to reduce tensions with the Palestinians and maintain good relations with the US without launching any major initiatives:
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, remains the head of the largest party in parliament and is expected to vigorously oppose the new government. If just one faction bolts, it could lose its majority and would be at risk of collapse, giving him an opening to return to power.
The country’s deep divisions were on vivid display as Bennett addressed parliament ahead of the vote. He was repeatedly interrupted and loudly heckled by supporters of Netanyahu, several of whom were escorted out of the chamber.
Bennett’s speech mostly dwelled on domestic issues, but he expressed opposition to US efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. “Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” Bennett said, vowing to maintain Netanyahu’s confrontational policy. “Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action.”
Bennett nevertheless thanked President Joe Biden and the US for its decades of support for Israel. Netanyahu, speaking after him, vowed to return to power. He predicted the incoming government would be weak on Iran and give in to US demands to make concessions to the Palestinians.
If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country in our way,” he said: Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the new government will likely be more stable than it appears:
Even though it has a very narrow majority, it will be very difficult to topple and replace because the opposition is not cohesive,” he said. Each party in the coalition will want to prove that it can deliver, and for that they need “time and achievements.”
Still, Netanyahu “will continue to cast a shadow,” Plesner said. He expects the incoming opposition leader to exploit events and propose legislation that right-wing coalition members would like to support but can’t — all in order to embarrass and undermine them.
The new government is meanwhile promising a return to normalcy after a tumultuous two years that saw four elections, an 11-day Gaza war last month and a coronavirus outbreak that devastated the economy before it was largely brought under control by a successful vaccination campaign.
The driving force behind the coalition is Yair Lapid, a political centrist who will become prime minister in two years, if the government lasts that long. He called off a planned speech to parliament, instead saying he was ashamed that his 86-year-old mother had to witness the raucous behavior of his opponents. In a brief speech, he asked for “forgiveness from my mother.”
I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Instead she, along with every citizen of Israel, is ashamed of you and remembers clearly why it’s time to replace you,” he said: The new government is expected to win a narrow majority in the 120-member assembly, after which it will be sworn in. The government plans to hold its first official meeting later this evening:
It’s unclear when Netanyahu will move out of the official residence. He has lashed out at the new government in apocalyptic terms and accused Bennett of defrauding voters by running as a right-wing stalwart and then partnering with the left:
Netanyahu’s supporters have held angry protests outside the homes of rival lawmakers, who say they have received death threats naming their family members. Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service issued a rare public warning about the incitement earlier this month, saying it could lead to violence. Netanyahu has condemned the incitement while noting that he has also been a target.
His place in Israeli history is secure, having served as prime minister for a total of 15 years — more than any other, including the country’s founder, David Ben-Gurion: Netanyahu began his long rule by defying the Obama administration, refusing to freeze settlement construction as it tried unsuccessfully to revive the peace process. Relations with Israel’s closest ally grew even rockier when Netanyahu vigorously campaigned against President Barack Obama’s emerging nuclear deal with Iran, even denouncing it in an address to the US Congress:
But he suffered few if any consequences from those clashes and was richly rewarded by the Trump administration, which recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, helped broker normalization agreements with four Arab states and withdrew the US from the Iran deal.
Netanyahu has portrayed himself as a world-class statesman, boasting of his close ties with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also cultivated ties with Arab and African countries that long shunned Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians:
But he has gotten a far chillier reception from the Biden administration and is widely seen as having undermined the long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel in the United States: His reputation as a political magician has also faded at home, where he has become a deeply polarizing figure. Critics say he has long pursued a divide-and-conquer strategy that aggravated rifts in Israeli society between Jews and Arabs and between his close ultra-Orthodox allies and secular Jews.
In November 2019, he was indicted for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. He refused calls to step down, instead lashing out at the media, judiciary and law enforcement, going so far as to accuse his political opponents of orchestrating an attempted coup. Last year, protesters began holding weekly rallies across the country calling on him to resign:
Netanyahu remains popular among the hard-line nationalists who dominate Israeli politics, but he could soon face a leadership challenge from within his own party. A less polarizing Likud leader would stand a good chance of assembling a coalition that is both farther to the right and more stable than the government that is set to be sworn in.
#AceNewsReport – June.01: Although Biden stated that Israel has a right to defend itself, his administration has bent over backwards to send the message to Palestinians that America under Biden supports the Palestinian cause — which is jihad for the eradication of Israel:
WASHINGTON: Biden’s plan to open separate Jerusalem consulate for Palestinians violates US law Biden’s plan for a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians blatantly violates US law,” by Mark Meadows and David Milstein, New York Post, May 26, 2021:
The White House lived up to its promise to send Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Middle East to “rebuild ties” with Palestinians. In fact, it exceeded expectations, with a pledge by Biden to ask Congress to donate $75,000,000 to the Palestinians. It didn’t stop there. Blinken formally announced the decision to reopen the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. But to do so isn’t legal according to the article below, which was written by Mark Meadows, chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, and David Milstein, who served as special assistant to the US ambassador to Israel.
A Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem violates the Jeruslem Embassy Act that Trump activated in 2017. The Act recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and calls for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city.
As presidential candidate, Joe Biden was asked if he would reverse President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Biden promised, “I wouldn’t reverse it.”
But candidate Biden also proposed re-opening the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, which had merged with the Jerusalem embassy in 2019.
Now Team Biden is moving forward with the latter initiative. On May 25, Secretary of State Antony Blinken formally told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Washington would seek to reopen this diplomatic mission. The move contradicts Biden’s campaign promise not to renege on the recognition of Jerusalem, since a pair of missions in the same city undercuts Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital. It also breaks the Jerusalem Embassy Act that sought to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem no later than 1999 — a law Biden voted for along with 92 other senators.
The 1995 law states that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city, in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected. … Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” In 2017, on the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification in the Six Day War, the Senate unanimously voted to reaffirm the act and called upon the US to “abide by its provisions.”
Former President Donald Trump fulfilled the will of the American people, as expressed by Congress, by relocating the embassy in 2018. In February 2021, the Senate also adopted an amendment by a 97-3 vote to “make the US Embassy in Jerusalem permanent, effectively preventing it from being downgraded or moved out of Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”
The Biden administration’s intent to reopen a separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and the location of the US Embassy, would be a violation of US law, wrongly signaling that Washington supports dividing Jerusalem.
If implemented, this could signal the return to a misguided diplomatic arrangement, under which the US ambassador to Israel historically lacked jurisdiction over the eastern part of Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza. Instead, a US consul general led a separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, who had jurisdiction over those geographic areas. The consulate general didn’t even report to the US ambassador to Israel, but directly to the State Department, often sending conflicting reports to DC.
The diplomatic mission included the US consulate general’s official residence, located in the western part of Jerusalem, thus resulting in the US having a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, despite that the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
The Trump administration’s decision to merge the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians into the US Embassy in Jerusalem remedied the prior arrangement and implemented a key aspect of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which requires that the US Embassy in Jerusalem include the ambassador’s official residence.
Reopening this separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians would therefore render the US government noncompliant with American law…..
#AceNewsReport – May.13: The headlines from Sheikh Jarrah almost all ignore the basic facts of the issue: The buildings in question are owned by Jews and the Arab residents have refused to pay rent – even though they had agreed in a 1982 court case.
WHO REALLY OWNS THE LAND?Is Israel Really Trying to Evict Innocent Palestinians From Their Homes In Sheikh Jarrah? Elder of Ziyon has the details here: “Palestinians who demand 675,000 Jews be evicted because they are Jewish are complaining about ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Sheikh Jarrah,” Elder of Ziyon, May 6, 2021:
As NGO Monitor summarizes:
According to the Supreme Court, the land in question “was owned by Chief Rabbi (Hacham Bashi) Avraham Ashkenazi and Chief Rabbi Meir Orbach until the War of Independence , after they purchased it in 1875 from its Arab owners.”
Subsequently, two Jewish organizations, Va’ad Eidat HaSfaradim and Va’ad HaKlali L’Knesset Yisrael, worked to register the land with the British Mandatory government in 1946….
Sheikh Jarrah explained: The past and present of East Jerusalem neighbourhood
Sheikh Jarrah, the Palestinian neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem facing imminent Israeli eviction, was once a breezy orchard lying less than a kilometre north of the ancient walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
In the early 20th century, wealthy Palestinian families moved to build modern houses in the area, escaping the narrow streets and the hustle and bustle of their air-tight homes in the Old City.
The neighbourhood’s name refers to the personal physician of the Islamic general Saladin, who is believed to have settled there when Muslim armies captured the city from Christian crusaders in 1187.
Refugees from Palestine 1948
In 1956, 28 Palestinian families settled in the neighbourhood. Those families were part of a wider population of 750,000 forcibly expelled by Zionist militias during the 1948 war – known to Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe” – from the Arab towns and cities that became Israel.
East Jerusalem was administered by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which governed the West Bank. Jordan had built houses for the 28 Palestinian families in 1956 with the approval of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
In the 1960s, the families agreed a deal with the Jordanian government that would make them the owners of the land and houses, receiving official land deeds signed in their names after three years. In return, they would renounce their refugee status.
However, the deal was cut short as Israel captured and illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and Jordan lost control of the territories.
Currently, there are 38 Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah, four of them facing imminent eviction, while three are expected to be removed on 1 August.
The rest are in different stages of court cases, going head-to-head with powerful Israeli settler groups in Israeli courts.
Jerusalem’s ‘Holy Basin’
Since Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israeli settler organisations have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah and have filed multiple successful lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the neighbourhood.
Two settler groups filed lawsuits saying that Sephardic Jews owned the land in 1885, during Ottoman rule, which ended in 1917.
Israelis have made similar claims to owning Palestinian lands that lie less than a kilometre away from the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel has a grand settlement strategy called the “Holy Basin,” which is a set of settler units and a string of parks themed after biblical places and figures around the Old City of Jerusalem. The plan requires the removal of Palestinian houses in the area.
In November, an Israeli court ratified the eviction of 87 Palestinians from the Batan al-Hawa area in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa mosque, in favour of the Israeli settler group Ateret Cohanim.
This group, which aims to expand the presence of settlers inside Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and around and inside the Old City, had sued the residents of Batan al-Hawa, claiming that the land was owned by Yemeni Jews during the Ottoman period until 1938, when the British Mandate moved them due to political tensions.
Israeli law works in favour of settlers by allowing only Jews to claim property they claim they have owned prior to 1948 while denying the same right to Palestinians.
Owners turned tenants
On Sunday, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered that the Iskafi, Kurd, Jaanoi and Qassem families – consisting of 30 adults and 10 children – evacuate their homes by 6 May. These families have been shunted around the courts for almost four years.
The court gave the Hammad, Dagani and Daoudi families living in the same area until 1 August to evacuate.
In 1982, Israeli settler groups asked the court to evict 24 Palestinian families living in Shiekh Jarrah. In 1991, the families faced another twist when they accused their Israeli lawyer and legal representative of forging their signatures on documents in 1991 stating that the ownership of the lands belonged to the settlers.
Since then, Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah had been treated as tenants in front of the Israel courts, facing removal orders to allow the way for settlers to take over their houses.
In 2005, the Israeli court dismissed Ottoman documents presented by Suleiman Darwish Hijazi, one of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, as evidence of his ownership of the land.
‘It looks like a war zone’: Israeli forces violently crack down on Palestinians in Sheikh JarrahRead More »
In 2002, 43 Palestinians were evicted from the area and Israeli settlers took over their properties. In 2008, the al-Kurd family was removed, and in 2009, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were evicted and in 2017 the Shamasneh family was also removed from their home by Israeli settlers.
Palestinians had called for Jordan to release official papers and documents to prove their ownership. In April, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi handed over documents proving Palestinian ownership of their properties in Sheikh Jarrah, in a bid to prevent a new mass eviction.
Last week, the Jordanian government ratified 14 agreement from the 1960s with Palestinian families in Shiekh Jarrah to strengthen their position against Israeli courts.
Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.
The area became a focal point of protest and sit in solidarity activities, drawing in Palestinian and anti-occupation Israeli and international activists.
The disputed land was bought in 1875 from Arab owners by the area’s Chief Rabbi; it was then owned by his successor until — we are told — the 1948 war. This was the finding of Israel’s Supreme Court, which is notorious for bending over backwards to find for the Palestinian side in cases brought before it. But the title in this instance was clear-cut. The land in dispute was then bought from the rabbinate by two Jewish organizations, There is some confusion here. It’s unclear if these properties were bought during the War of Independence in 1948, as the Supreme Court stated, or two years earlier, when the new buyers “worked to register” their ownership with the Mandatory government. Whatever the correct dates for the transfer of ownership, the owners of the land were undeniably Jews.
According to a 1979 High Court decision, and re-affirmed repeatedly in subsequent cases, as in the case of any tenant living on someone else’s property, residents living on the land owned by these organizations were required to pay rent to the organizations that owned the properties. Their failure to do so, along with instances of illegal building and illegally renting properties to others, resulted in the current legal proceedings against them, culminating in the District Court decision.
There are only four Arab families now being asked to leave land they do not own and for which they have always refused to pay rent, though the propaganda campaign being waged by the Palestinians leaves the distinct impression that hundreds of Arabs are in danger of eviction without cause.
There is nothing complicated about this case. It’s a question of property law, of who has title to four parcels of land. The land was originally bought by Jews in 1875, and has continued to be owned, without interruption, by a handful of Jewish owners. The land is now owned by the Nahalat Shimon Company, which bought the properties from two Jewish organizations, Va’ad Eidat HaSfaradim and Va’ad HaKlali L’Knesset Yisrael. The four Arab families living on these parcels have never paid rent to the Jewish owners. In addition, they have built structures illegally on part of the land they occupy, and some have illegally rented out to other Arabs the properties that they do not themselves own, nor pay any rent on.
Crucially, in 1982, a number of residents- including those whose descendants appealed to the District Court- agreed in Magistrate Court that the 2 Israeli non-profits were the legal land owners….
Having admitted in 1982 that two Israeli non-profits owned the land in question (which they subsequently sold, in 2003, to the Nahalat Shimon organization), the Arabs living on those properties are estopped to deny that admission.
There is no “ethnic cleansing” going on here. If Jews lived on these same properties and had refused over many years to pay rent to the properties’ rightful owners, they, too, would face eviction proceedings.
Today, the Palestinian National Council sent letters to the heads of parliaments around the world and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, demanding support to stop the “ethnic cleansing of Jerusalemites” in Sheikh Jarrah….
There is no cloud on the title of these four properties. They were bought from Arabs by Jews in 1875, and have been owned by Jews, or Jewish organizations, ever since. Every attempt by the Arabs to lay claim to ownership has been roundly rejected by a series of court decisions.
But will any of this – the chain of title to the land back to 1875, the non-payment of rent by Arabs “squatting” on this land — be reported by the mainstream media, or will that media stick with the PA’s narrative of cruel evictions being wantonly carried out by Israelis intent on seizing strategically-located parcels of land from their rightful Arab owners, as part of a campaign to “Judaize” East Jerusalem? Alas, we both know the answer to that.
#AceNewsReport – May.11: Israel reinforced its security operation on Saturday after clashes on Friday night, when more than 200 Palestinians were injured.
JERUSALEM: Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman reject Israeli measures to evict Palestinians: ‘Riot police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, where throngs of worshippers, including women and children, were praying on the last Friday of Ramadan’
May 08, 2021 12:55:
The clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around occupied East Jerusalem came amid mounting anger over the planned evictions.
“Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s plans and measures to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.
The UAE, which normalized relations with Israel last year, “strongly condemned” the planned evictions. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalifa Al-Marar, urged Israeli authorities to “assume their responsibilities — in line with international law — to provide necessary protection to Palestinian civilians’ right to practice their religion, and to prevent practices that violate the sanctity of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Oman also said it rejected the policies and procedures for displacing Palestinian people from their homes in the city of Jerusalem, and the sultanate reaffirmed “its steadfast position in supporting the legitimate rights to establish an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
As tension mounted on Saturday, Israeli police set up roadblocks near the village of Abu Ghish on the main highway to Jerusalem to stop busloads of Palestinians from reaching Al-Aqsa. Scuffles broke out and police fired stun grenades.
When the Palestinians left their buses and began to walk the remaining 20 km to Al-Aqsa, local residents came to pick them up in private cars.
The late-night clashes in Jerusalem followed days of tension in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Israelis are trying to evict an entire Palestinian community and hand over their homes to ultra-extreme Jewish settlers.
The Waqf Council, Jordan, the US, EU, and European and Arab countries all issued statements denouncing the violence in the city. The US called on all parties to avoid actions that could damage final status talks between Israel and Palestinians, including settlements. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 considers all settlements illegal.
On Sunday, Jordan urged Israel to stop whatthe “barbaric” attacks on worshippers at the mosque. “What the Israeli police and special forces are doing, from violations against the mosque to attacks on worshippers, is barbaric (behaviour) that is rejected and condemned,” the government said in a statement.
Wasfi Kailani, executive director of the Hashemite Fund for the reconstruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News there was no excuse for the Israeli action.
“What happened on Friday night is inexcusable. Violating the mosque’s sanctity during the last 10 holy days of Ramadan is illegal and a clear violation of the right to worship. Its status quo must be protected.”
Kailani, a member of the Jerusalem Waqf Council, said Israeli forces not only violated the peace of worshippers but also destroyed mosque property, including its clinic and gates.
Hijazi Risheq, head of the Jerusalem Merchants Committee, told Arab News that attacks by Israeli forces were meant to intimidate Palestinians following threats by Jewish extremists of a large-scale infiltration into Al-Aqsa on Monday, which they call “Jerusalem Day.”
“However, the people of Jerusalem have broken the barrier of fear and are no longer afraid of Israeli soldiers or Israeli prisons,” he said. Risheq called on Arab and Islamic countries to help Palestinians defend the mosque.
#AceNewsReport – May.09: Israeli police have clashed with Palestinian protesters outside Jerusalem’s Old City during the holiest night of Ramadan in a show of force that threatens to deepen the city’s worst religious unrest in several years.
Jerusalem: Many injured on second night of clashes
7 hours ago: Clashes in Jerusalem continue
Fresh clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out in Jerusalem on Saturday, injuring dozens.
Protesters hurled stones at the police at Damascus Gate in the Old City, and officers responded with stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon.
Palestinian medics said 90 Palestinians were wounded. Israeli police said at least one officer was hurt.
It follows days of simmering unrest over possible evictions of Palestinians from land claimed by Jewish settlers.
On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians and at least 17 Israeli police were wounded in skirmishes near Al-Aqsa mosque, emergency workers and police said.
Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque complex is one of Islam’s most revered sites, but its location is also the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount. The complex is a frequent flashpoint for violence, but Friday’s was among the worst in years.
The Quartet of Middle East negotiators – the US, the EU, Russia and the UN – on Saturday expressed “deep concern” over the spiralling violence.
In a separate development on Saturday, Israel’s military said a rocket was fired by Palestinian militants from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip into Israel.
Friday’s violence drew condemnation from Israel’s Arab allies and calls for calm from the United States, Europe and the United Nations. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday.
The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the country’s south that fell in an open area. In response, aircraft struck a military post for Hamas, the militant group ruling the territory.
There were no reports of casualties in either attack.
Police chief Koby Shabtai said he had deployed more police in Jerusalem following Friday night’s clashes, which left 18 police officers injured.
After weeks of nightly violence, Israelis and Palestinians were bracing for more conflict in the coming days.
“The right to demonstrate will be respected but public disturbances will be met with force and zero tolerance. I call on everyone to act responsibly and with restraint,” Mr Shabtai said.
Saturday night was Laylat al-Qadr or the “Night of Destiny”, the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Islamic authorities estimated 90,000 people gathered for night-time prayers at Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam.
A large crowd of protesters chanted “God is great” outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate and some pelted police with rocks and water bottles. Police patrols fired stun grenades as they moved through the area and a police truck periodically fired a water cannon.
Palestinian medics said 64 Palestinians were injured, mostly by rubber bullets, stun grenades or beatings, among them a woman whose face was bloodied. Eleven people were hospitalised, medics said.
One man with a small boy yelled at the police as they marched by: “You should be ashamed!”
Earlier, police reported clashes in the Old City, near Al-Aqsa, and in the nearby east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where dozens of Palestinians are fighting attempts by Israeli settlers to evict them from their homes.
Police reported several arrests and said one officer was struck in the face with a rock.
Earlier Saturday, police stopped a convoy of buses that were filled with Arab citizens on the main highway heading to Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers. Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan, said police stopped the buses for a security check.
Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan, and travellers, upset that they were stopped without explanation on a hot day, exited the buses and blocked the highway in protest.
Kan showed footage of the protesters praying, chanting slogans and marching along the highway toward Jerusalem. The road was reopened several hours later.
Ibtasam Maraana, an Arab member of Parliament, accused police of a “terrible attack” on freedom of religion.
“Police: Remember that they are citizens, not enemies,” she wrote on Twitter.
Israel removed the restrictions, briefly calming the situation, but protests have reignited in recent days over the threatened evictions in east Jerusalem, which is claimed by both sides in their decades-old conflict.
Other recent developments, including the postponement of Palestinian elections, deadly violence in which a Palestinian teenager, two Palestinian gunmen and a young Israeli man were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank, and the election to Israel’s Parliament of a far-right Jewish nationalist party, also have contributed to the tense atmosphere.
One right-wing politician, Itamar Ben-Gvir, briefly set up an outdoor “office” in the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood last week, infuriating residents.
On Sunday evening, Jewish Israelis begin marking Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city.
An Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah on Monday.
US ‘deeply concerned’ about violence, evictions
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally, and views the entire city as its capital. The Palestinians view east Jerusalem — which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam. It is also the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of the biblical temples. It has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In recent days, protests have grown over Israel’s threatened eviction in Sheikh Jarrah of dozens of Palestinians embroiled in a long legal battle with Israeli settlers trying to acquire property in the neighbourhood.
The United States said it was “deeply concerned” about both the violence and the threatened evictions. The so-called Quartet of Mideast peace makers, which includes the US, European Union, Russia and United Nations, also expressed concern.
Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel decades ago, condemned Israel’s actions, as did the Gulf countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, two of the four Arab countries that signed US-brokered normalisation agreements with Israel last year. The UAE expressed “strong condemnation” of Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa.
In a call to Palestinian TV late Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas praised the “courageous stand” of the protesters and said Israel bore full responsibility for the violence. Mr Abbas last week postponed planned parliamentary elections, citing Israeli restrictions in east Jerusalem for the delay.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry had earlier accused the Palestinians of seizing on the threatened evictions, which it described as a “real-estate dispute between private parties”, in order to incite violence.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and opposes Israel’s existence, has called for a new intifada, or uprising.
Late Saturday, several dozen protesters gathered along Gaza’s volatile frontier with Israel, burning tires and throwing small explosives. Israeli forces fired tear gas at the crowd. No injuries were immediately reported.
In an interview with a Hamas-run TV station, the group’s top leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to “play with fire” in Jerusalem.
“Neither you, nor your army and police, can win this battle,” he said.
#AceNewsReport – May.08: Tensions have been rising over the potential eviction of Palestinians from land claimed by Jewish settlers: The Red Crescent has opened a field hospital to treat the wounded.
JERUSALEM: Al-Aqsa mosque: Dozens hurt in Jerusalem clashes: Most were injured at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades as Palestinians threw stones and bottles’
📲 @twittervid_bot ….
——————- 💵 خرید امن بیت کوین با نوبیتکس 💵
The Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem’s Old City is one of Islam’s most revered locations, but its location is also the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount.
The site is a frequent flashpoint for violence, which unfolded again on Friday night after thousands had gathered there to observe the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli Police said they had used force to “restore order” due to the “rioting of thousands of worshippers” after evening prayers.
An Aqsa official called for calm over the mosque’s loudspeakers. “Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!”, Reuters news agency quoted them as saying.
The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 88 of the injured Palestinians were taken to hospital after they were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets. Police said some of the six officers injured needed medical treatment.
Reuters: At least 163 Palestinians and six Israeli police officers were hurt in Jerusalem, emergency services and police said
Reuters: Israeli Police at the site, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews
The international community also appealed for de-escalation on Friday, as anger mounted over the threatened eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Shaikh Jarrah district.
A US State Department spokeswoman said Washington was “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions”.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Vennesland, urged all parties to “respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace & stability.”
The UN has said Israel should call off any evictions and employ “maximum restraint in the use of force” against protesters.
Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the long-running legal case on Monday.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the future capital of a hoped-for independent state.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: Palestinians clashed with Israeli police amid a dispute over evening gatherings at Damascus Gate:
East Jerusalem clashes leave over 100 injured according to BBC Middle East & according to Reuters in Jerusalem have been rising for several days it follows nights of confrontations in the Israeli-occupied sector amid rising nationalist and religious tensions’ Reuters said police tried to keep the rival groups apart, detaining a number of protesters’
Israeli police and Palestinians face off in Jerusalem amid dispute over gatherings at Damascus Gate
Posted 1h ago
The clashes happened after iftar, the breaking of the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday (local time) while Israeli protesters gathered near.
Meanwhile, a video on social media app TikTok purporting to show a Palestinian slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on Jerusalem’s light rail train has drawn protests by Israelis and calls by some right-wing politicians for tougher police action.
Nightly clashes and other violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem during Ramadan have laid bare simmering tensions in the holy city.
The incidents, which followed the start of Ramadan on April 13, threaten to break a sustained period of relative quiet in a contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinians have said police tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening gatherings outside Damascus Gate, a historic landmark on the north side of Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
Israeli police have fired stun grenades and sprayed foul-smelling skunk water to disperse the Palestinians, who in turn have discharged fireworks towards them.
The measure, according to Israeli police, is part of its efforts to ensure that tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers have safe access to the main Islamic prayer site in the Old City, known as the Noble Sanctuary.
“Since Damascus Gate is the main way to reach and enter the Old City, police forces carry out field activities using various means to prevent friction, violence, and confrontation, and to maintain order and security in the area,” a police spokesman said.
He also said they will “act firmly against violence and riots of all kinds” to preserve public safety.
There have been some street skirmishes between Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Police arrested four people in one such fight on Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem on Wednesday night, Israeli media reported.
“Jews won’t be scared to walk around Jerusalem!” said a leaflet distributed on WhatsApp calling for Jewish protests at Damascus Gate on Thursday night.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as its capital.
Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem, including its Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites, the capital of a future state.
The violence erupted as police tried to keep Palestinians and ultra-nationalist Jewish protesters apart.
East Jerusalem has long been a flashpoint, with an uneasy coexistence there between Jews and Arabs.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the future capital of a hoped-for independent state.
The worst fighting in days broke out on Thursday night after hundreds of Jewish extremists from the ultra-nationalist Lehava group marched towards the Damascus Gate entrance of Jerusalem’s Old City – where large numbers of Palestinians had gathered – chanting “Death to Arabs”.
Stones and bottles were thrown between the two sides, and police used stun grenades, tear gas and water cannon to try to disperse the crowds.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 100 Palestinians were injured, while police said 20 officers were hurt. More than 50 people were arrested.
Tensions in East Jerusalem have escalated since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 13 April. Palestinians have clashed with police, accusing them of erecting barriers to stop them from congregating on steps outside Damascus Gate to break the daytime fast. Police say the measures are intended to help pedestrian flow into the Old City.
Jews have also been angered by a spate of TikTok videos showing Palestinians assaulting members of the ultra-Orthodox community, including an attack on two ultra-Orthodox boys on Jerusalem’s light rail. The videos were given as a reason by Lehava for its march to Damascus Gate, in what it said would be a show of “national honour”.Why the ancient city of Jerusalem is so important
#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: This is the way some extremist Israeli settlers extended their greetings to Palestinian Muslims in this blessed month. Israeli police also escalated their harassment, firing tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians. One Israeli policeman was filmed beating up a Palestinian at the Damascus Gate. Who stopped him? Nobody.
Jerusalem: On verge of exploding thanks to Israel’s fires: Firefighters have to be at the ready at all times and cannot afford to take holidays. Right now, the new US administration and major European powers are watching from the sidelines: The final bonfire is over Palestinian elections: The Israeli government is determined not to allow any Palestinian political activity in East Jerusalem, even though Palestinian elections were permitted under the Oslo Accords: Palestinians in East Jerusalem voted in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Even then, Israel compelled them to vote by post to indicate that they were voting from abroad. Of course, the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have no right to vote in Israeli general elections, and now they may even be denied the right to vote for the emaciated and semi-powerless body that is the PA: Arab News Sources:
The second possible candidate for PA president is Marwan Barghouti: Like Dahlan, in a face-off with Abbas he would win 60% of the vote. He’s a member of one of the largest and most powerful clans in the West Bank; there are Barghoutis everywhere. Marwan Barghouti has only one handicap – it’s the very thing that makes him so popular. He’s currently serving five life sentences (plus 40 years) for being involved in murdering five Israelis. Abbas may try to disqualify him, insisting that if Barghouti won, he could not govern from an Israeli prison. But that’s not necessarily the case. Politicians have been known to govern from jail. Americans may remember James Michael Curley, who served as Mayor of Boston for two years from his prison cell. Barghouti has made sure that his wife is running for the Palestinian Legislative Council:
He could govern by employing her, and a group of male Barghoutis, along with Nasser al-Kidwa, as his proxies. They could be sent directives from his prison cell. He could even use the Internet to broadcast his messages to his people. It’s not crazy — Marwan Barghouti would be “working from home.” Barghouti, it turns out, much to the chagrin of Mahmoud Abbas, has decided to run: A report on this new challenge to Mahmoud Abbas is here: “Marwan Barghouti to run in PA presidential election,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, April 15, 2021:It all kicked off with the Israeli decision to ban all seating on the stairs at the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter at the Damascus Gate. This is a major gathering place for Palestinians on Ramadan evenings.
There is another possible way for Abbas to remain as president, aside from cancelling the elections: That is to declare that “because of his genuine remorse for his long-past defalcation, and because he has earned gratitude for persuading the UAE to deliver 50,000 dose of coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian people, Mohammad Dahlan is hereby declared eligible to run for president of the Palestinian Authority.” Then Abbas can hope that his two rivals will split almost evenly the 60% of the electorate that is against him, while he wins with a plurality of 40%. It’s not impossible, when you’re dealing with Mahmoud Abbas, President-For-Life:
Israeli riot police deploy water cannon during clashes with Palestinians close to the Damascus Gate on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Screengrab: Twitter)
Restrictions on Palestinian numbers have also exacerbated tensions. Israel allowed only 10,000 people to enter Jerusalem from the West Bank, compared to many times that amount in recent years: On the first Friday in Ramadan, only 70,000 Muslims were able to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Despite Israel’s hollow claim that it allows freedom of worship in the city, it routinely restricts numbers and most Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza cannot go to Al-Aqsa:
The Israeli authorities also decided to cut the wires to the loudspeakers at the mosque in yet another deliberately inflammatory move: This year is even tougher and Israel has demanded that all Palestinians entering Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank have to have been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. Of course, if Israel had carried out its clear international legal and moral duty of vaccinating Palestinians under its military rule, the story would be different:
Ramadan used to be a time when Israel showed some degree of reverence and respect toward Palestinians: This custom is being torn up. As a result, Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding. What we have, therefore, is a highly combustible situation in this, the world’s most combustible city. Even a passing knowledge of the history of this great city tells us that small clashes can soon lead to a dangerous explosion.
Three major bonfires are being lit. The first and perhaps most dangerous is that Israel is tearing up the delicate status quo that governs Al-Haram Al-Sharif: For starters, it is allowing Jews to pray openly on the platform. They boast of this by broadcasting it on YouTube. This included the uber-racist Kahanist and newly elected member of the Knesset, Itamar Ben Gvir. The status quo arrangements for the holy sites do not permit Jewish prayer on the platform. According to the agreement, as acknowledged publicly even by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Al-Haram Al-Sharif is exclusively a Muslim place of worship, which all Israeli prime ministers have accepted since 1967: Palestinian Muslims fear the “Hebronization” of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, whereby the platform is divided into both a mosque and a synagogue with less access for Muslims. This is what happened at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. That was sensitive enough, but tampering with the status quo in Jerusalem escalates the situation a hundredfold:
What makes it different this year is that no outside powers are saying anything. If this was happening in the days of John Kerry as US secretary of state, for example, he and his colleagues would be working the phones between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to calm the tensions. The trouble is that Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan are no longer on speaking terms. Tensions between the two have rarely been higher.
The second bonfire is the serious attempt to bring about mass evictions of Palestinians in key areas of Jerusalem. Since the last major evictions of Palestinians on June 10, 1967, Israel has managed to insert more than 220,000 Israeli settlers into occupied East Jerusalem, but without the mass displacement of Palestinians. Much of this is happening in the shadow of the Old City, notably in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. Settlers have used the Israeli legal system to obtain eviction orders for dozens of families. Many of these families are UN-registered refugees who were given the land after the Nakba, when Israel confiscated theirs:
This legal system was designed to enable Israeli Jews to kick out Palestinians and the settler groups are using this to the full. It may be slowed down with appeals and the like, but ultimately it leads to one destination: Mass evictions of Palestinians as part of the broader plan to downscale the Palestinian presence in the city:
The Israeli authorities have also ramped up home demolitions in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem. They can do this because they have denied more applications from Palestinians for building permits, meaning that Palestinians have no choice but to build without them. More than half of all Palestinian homes in the city are built with no permit:
What we have is a highly combustible situation in this, the world’s most combustible city.
Israeli forces have arrested Palestinians engaged in any form of electioneering, including three candidates who were planning to hold a news conference. All of this leads some to believe this will be an excuse for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the May 22 legislative elections. This would delight the Israeli government, which has no desire to see Palestinian democracy at work, especially if it means Hamas has a chance at a share of power. The pyromaniacs have taken over the firefighting. The Israeli authorities, instead of restraining extremist settler groups such as Elad and the Temple Mount Faithful, are actively pursuing their agendas. Do not be surprised, therefore, if full-scale riots return to the streets of this extraordinary city. The world had better wake up.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view
#AceNewsReport – Apr.06: The rights group further noted that the detainees are often released on bail or placed under house arrest, without announcing the number of those who were freed:
Israeli forces detained 230 Palestinian minors since January: Rights group: ‘The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a report on Sunday that the arrests were mostly in the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds’
The report comes just a day before Palestinian Children’s Day, which is celebrated annually on April 5 with cultural, educational and media activities aimed at raising awareness for the plight of Palestinian children, “who lack the most basic rights due to the Israeli occupation,” according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Monday, 05 April 2021 4:28 PM [ Last Update: Monday, 05 April 2021 4:47 PM ]
“The imprisoned children are subjected to various forms of abuse, including being denied food or drink for long hours, verbal abuse and being detained under harsh conditions,” it said.
The report came just a day before Palestinian Children’s Day, which is marked annually on April 5 with cultural, educational and media activities aimed at raising awareness on the plight of Palestinian children.
Marking Palestine Children’s Day, the Palestine Prisoners’ Club revealed that there are 140 Palestinian children languishing in Israel jails, including two under administrative detention.
Separately, the Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) said in a statement that 85 percent of Palestinian children arrested last year were “subjected to physical violence.”
The Geneva-based movement noted that it has documented 27 cases in which Israeli forces held children in solitary confinement citing investigation purposes for two or more days.
The organization said the practice amounts to “torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
It said it has registered the issuance of administrative detention orders against 36 Palestinian children since October 2015, two of whom are still in detention.
In 2020, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip, six of whom were killed with live ammunition, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.
The administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge, allows authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The duration could be extended for an infinite number of times.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.25: The man, named locally as 37-year-old Nour Shakir Shuqeir from the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, sustained a gunshot wound to the stomach and was later pronounced dead in the city’s Hadassah Hospital at Mount Scopus: An Israeli policeman was also hospitalized with minor injuries following the incident, which reportedly took place at the Al-Zaim checkpoint in the Israeli-occupied West Bank territory, east of Jerusalem:
Footage posted to social media appears to show Israeli soldiers arriving at the scene of the incident.…..
Israeli police inspectors and bomb squad unit inspect the scene where Israeli Border Police forces shot at a driver who attempted to ram his vehicle into security personnel al-Zaim checkpoint on the outskirts of east Jerusalem on November 25, 2020. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) pic.twitter.com/sGJ8lhvfG9
#AceNewsReport – Dec.07: Amid global outrage, Israel PM claims ‘many’ states will move embassies to Quds: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims “many” world countries will follow the US in recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” turning a deaf ear to international condemnations of Washington’s move#AceNewsDesk reports
“I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition,” Netanyahu said in a speech at Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday without mentioning the name of the countries…….“I have no doubt that the moment the American embassy moves to Jerusalem [al-Quds], and even before then, there will be a movement of many embassies to Jerusalem. The time has come,” he added http://ptv.io/2VJY ….Saudi royal court condemns as ‘irresponsible‘ Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. https://t.co/47HnrlTWIE— as Hamas leader calls for new uprising against Israel in wake of US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.— The Associated Press reports …..These are the ones for now, we only know of the Duterte’s Philippines & Czech Republic recognized western #Jerusalem and will move the embassy only “based on results of negotiations”So Where’s that tsunami? https://t.co/KzDjDu01sz— Noa Landau reports ….So we await those that will side with Trump & Netanyahu …Updates in due course.
The holy site has been a focus of tension since last week, when Israel closed it to Muslim worshippers.
The Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound behind the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a densely-populated Palestinian neighbourhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo)
Al-Aqsa, also known as the Temple Mount, is Islam’s third most-venerated site.
Israeli police closed it for the first time since 1963 in retaliation for the killing of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist, provoking outcry from the Arab population.
Access was renewed a day later, but males under 50 were still banned from entry.
The renewed shut-down of Al-Aqsa on Wednesday comes after daily clashes in the streets of East Jerusalem and the Old City. Palestinian youths attack Israeli police with stones and fire crackers.
Police said they sent forces to the holy compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, as clashes erupted near it minutes before it was due to be opened to the public.
“Police entered the area, pushed the masked rioters back, and they fled back into Al-Aqsa. Police closed the front gate of the mosque but did not enter,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld as cited by Reuters.
Israeli security forces used stun grenades to disperse the protesting crowd.
Some 20 people were reportedly injured in the fresh clash.
#AceNewsServices – JERUSALEM – October 30 – The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has been closed to all worshippers for the first time since 1967. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called the closure a ‘declaration of war.’
The Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound behind the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a densely-populated Palestinian neighbourhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo)
Both Jewish and Muslim worshipers will be prohibited from visiting the site “until further notice,” Israel’s public security minister said.
Palestinian authorities quickly responded to the move, saying it was a “dangerous and blatant challenge” that would lead to more tension and instability in an already volatile situation.
“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.
“We hold the Israeli government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque this morning,” he told AFP.
He added that the state of Palestinian would employ all legal means to “hold Israel accountable” and put an end to “these ongoing attacks.”
Omar Al-Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told RT the decision to close the site was very dangerous and irrational, saying it would lead to destabilization and a strengthening of tensions not only in Jerusalem, but in the entire region. He said the situation in Jerusalem has been turbulent as a result of the closure.
“We lay responsibility for this decision on the Israeli government and police,” Al-Kiswani said.
Fox News reported : The closure of Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, followed the shooting of a right-wing Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, on Wednesday. Glick had advocated for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism where Al-Aqsa sits, along with the much revered Dome of the Rock.
The Americna-born Glick was shot three times by an assailant who fled the scene on the motorcycle.
On Thursday Israeli police shot dead Mutaz Hijazi in East Jerusalem, AFP reported whom they claim was responsible for the attack on Glick. Israeli counter-terrorism officers said they came under fire after surrounding a residence in the Abu Tor neighborhood. Hijazi reportedly died in the subsequent shootout. Israeli security services later said that Hijazi had spent 11 years in an Israeli prison before being released in 2012.
The shooting coincided with renewed clashes between Palestinians and Jewish security forces.
On Tuesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had told municipal authorities to crack down on residents in East Jerusalem over a range of offenses in order to compel them to pressure Palestinian youth who have been clashing with police on a near daily basis.
Palestinian youths from the Jalazoun refugee camp clash with Israeli security forces on a road at the entrance of the Jewish West Bank settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah, following a march by Palestinian demonstrators against Israeli restrictions on the Al-Aqsa mosque and against Jewish settlements in the West Bank on October 24, 2014 (AFP Photo)
Earlier this month, Abbas warned his government would appeal to international law to deal with alleged Israeli “aggression” against Al-Aqsa.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned that his government will seek international “legal measures” to deal with Israeli “aggression” against Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.
Abbas accused Israeli settlers of attempting to “attack the mosque” and called for Jews to be banned from the site.
Abbas’ statements mirrored comments made by Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, who earlier urged Muslims to “defend” the holy mosque after Israeli forces restricted entrance for Palestinians. Meshaal further accused Israel of trying to seize the site.
Israeli authorities have said that all are free to worship at the the compound.
Two weeks prior, clashes erupted between Palestinians and police after Israeli authorities placed restrictions on Al-Aqsa, only allowing Palestinians over the age of 50 to enter the site. Nearly 400 people gathered at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to protest the restrictions, with some in attendance lobbing stones at police. Police responded by firing stun grenades. Three injuries and several arrests resulted from the disturbances.
A police spokesperson at the time said police would show “zero tolerance” to prevent further clashes in the area.
#AceWorldNews – JERUSALEM – October 26 – Clashes have taken place in East Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli police ahead of the funeral of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed a baby and wounded six people after deliberately crashing his car into a crowd of bystanders.
‘ CLASHES WITH POLICE AHEAD OF FUNERAL OF MAN WHO KILLED 3-MONTH OLD BABY ‘
Tensions have been rising and Palestinian political groups have tried to organize a match from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, to the Al-Aqsa mosque, which has been a flashpoint recently in clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces, according to REUTERS.
Police say that at least five Palestinians were arrested on Saturday evening, with clashes particularly intense in the district of Silwan, where Shaludi was revered.
#AceNewsServices – JERUSALEM – October 25 – On Wednesday night, in a crowded funeral parlour in Jerusalem, Shmuel Elimelech Braun stood in front of the small, white shroud-covered body of his three-month old daughter, Chaya Zissel, killed earlier that day in a terror attack.
Three-month-old baby girl laid to rest after terror attack on light rail train in capital.
“Zissila, you were pure,” the young father said in a tear-choked voice.
Earlier on Wednesday, he and his wife, Chana, had taken their only child to see the Western Wall for the first time.
“In the last hour, you were by the Kotel. You woke up. We schmoozed with each other,” said Braun as he recounted those last moments with the daughter he cherished.
“You looked at me and smiled,” Braun said. “I told you, this is the Kotel, this is Har Habayit [Temple Mount].”
Braun spoke with his infant daughter about the cherubs that had been on the Ark of the Covenant when the Temple existed thousands of years ago.
He described how the angels’ faces were like that of a pure child.
The family returned home on the light rail. Just after they stepped off the train, a young Arab man from east Jerusalem, Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi, drove his car into the group of people standing by the rails. Police have charged that he did so deliberately and that the incident is a terrorist attack.
Halperin said that his granddaughter flew out of her carriage and into the air some 10 to 20 meters before landing on the sidewalk, wounding her head.
Doctors were unable to save her life, Halperin said.
His wife, he said, had left Israel earlier that day, while Chaya Zissel was still alive.
#AceNewsServices – PARIS – October 09. /TASS/. The Polish Catholic mission in Paris has been allowed to place a statue of Pope John Paul II, a work of Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, near the French capital’s landmark cathedral, Notre Dame, the archbishop of the Polish city of Lodz said on Thursday.
‘ Statue of Pope John Paul II by Russian Sculptor to be Placed Near Notre Dame ‘
The 3.6-meter bronze statue weighing 1.5 metric tonnes, Tsereteli’s gift to the mission, will be placed in Square Jean XXIII, named after Pope John XXIII, on October 25.
Tsereteli’s sculptures can be found all over the world, from New York and London to Jerusalem and Tokyo.
Among them is a giant statue of Peter the Great in Moscow and the Tear Drop monument in New Jersey commemorating 9/11 victims.
#AceNewsServices – ISRAEL (Jerusalem) – October 08 – Dozens of masked Arab rioters locked themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount Wednesday morning after they injured at least four policemen with fire-bombs, cement blocks and large rocks during visits by Jews and foreign tourists to the holy site.
Jerusalem police remove barricade from Al Aqsa mosque as Arabs riot Wednesday morning. Photo Credit: Jerusalem police
One of the fire-bombs was hurled from within the mosque. At least one of the policemen was directly hit by a Molotov cocktail, which struck his protective gear. The bottle exploded but did not ignite.
Policemen were treated at the scene for light injuries, and several Arabs reportedly were hurt in the violence that continued at least until noon.
Unlike previous riots, the police did not bar Jews and tourists from continuing to visit the Temple Mount compound.
Police said they will “continue to take action to show zero tolerance in the face of any attempt to disturb the peace and will act to arrest rioters and bring them to trial.”
The tough stand comes after years of escalating violence by Arabs to keep Jews off of the Temple Mount site.
Arabs blocked the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque with marble slabs, ropes and anything else that does not move, and then even poured inflammable liquid on the barricade, which police succeeded in removing.
#AceBreakingNews – JERUSALEM – September 23 – Israeli special forces stormed a West Bank hideout early on Tuesday and killed two Palestinians suspected in the June abduction and slaying of three Israeli teenagers.
The deaths of the two suspects, identified by the Israeli military as well-known Hamas militants, ended one of the largest manhunts conducted by the Israeli security forces.