Renewed tension in occupied East Jerusalem in a climate that worries all the way to Washington. More than 175 Palestinians and six Israeli policemen were injured on Friday, most of them on the Esplanade des Mosques. Tens of thousands of worshipers gathered in the grounds of the Esplanade des Mosques – called the Temple Mount by the Jews – for the last great Friday prayer before the end of the month of Ramadan.
But clashes erupted between Palestinians, who threw projectiles, and Israeli police who used stun grenades and shot protesters with rubber bullets, an AFP photographer noted. He also saw a dozen demonstrators wounded in the face.
These demonstrations are the most violent in Jerusalem since the clashes that injured 125 at the end of April, but also since clashes related to the transfer in 2018 of the United States Embassy to the disputed city, or even to those in the summer of 2017 related Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Esplanade, Islam’s third holiest site. Key allies of Israel, the United States on Friday called for the “de-escalation” of tensions and “avoid” the eviction of Palestinian families.
“Hundreds of rioters threw stones, bottles and other objects in the direction of the officers who retaliated”, indicated the Israeli police, whose spokesman, Wassem Badr, spoke of “violent disturbances”.
Clashes also took place in the nearby neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where daily nightly demonstrations against the possible eviction of Palestinian families in favor of Israeli settlers have escalated in recent days into clashes with the police. The Red Crescent reported at least four Palestinians injured on Friday. A fragile calm seems to have returned overnight in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian part of the city occupied by Israel since 1967 and then annexed, AFP journalists noted.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 178 Palestinians were injured on Friday evening, most of them on the Mosque Esplanade. The Israeli police reported six wounded in these ranks.
Tensions in the occupied West Bank too
The new violence comes amid heightened tensions in East Jerusalem and also in the West Bank, another Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and wounded a third, who had opened the door. fire on border guards in the northern West Bank, with no Israeli casualties.
At the end of April, hundreds of people had already been injured during several nights of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Friday’s violence coincided with “Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem in Arabic)” celebrated annually in countries in the region and mainly in Iran, Israel’s nemesis, in support of the Palestinians. In Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, advocated the fight against Israel, described as a “terrorist base”. For him, the “fall of the enemy Zionist regime” is inevitable.