A tense Ramadan for families in Jerusalem as clashes continue


Israeli police again faced off against mostly young Palestinians at several locations in east Jerusalem late on Sunday.

Nearly 100 were injured, according to Palestinian medics.

Tensions have been high in Jerusalem since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with a spike in recent days over the threatened evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of east Jerusalem.

Russian Federation on Saturday condemned attacks on civilians after violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound and urged both sides to refrain from escalating violence.

Addressing a special Cabinet meeting ahead of Jerusalem Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel "will not allow any extremists to destabilize the calm in Jerusalem".

Beyond the Biden administration, the impending eviction has drawn criticism from allies throughout Europe, as well as Israel's newfound friends in the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

More than 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers were reported wounded when riot police clashed with protesters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound late Friday, capping a week of violence in the Holy City and the occupied West Bank.

A number of global voices have expressed concern over what was happening in East Jerusalem, including The Quartet of Middle East negotiators - the USA, the EU, Russia and the UN.

According to the Red Crescent, a total of more than 300 Palestinians were wounded on Friday and Saturday nights, some hit by rubber bullets and stun grenades. It said one rocket was intercepted, while two others exploded inside Gaza.

Tensions have mounted in the city throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.

Israel's Supreme Court was due to hear the appeal of the families, who could be forcibly removed from the properties, a prospect which has caused an global outcry.

Israeli police detain a Palestinian man during clashes at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Saturday night
Israeli police detain a Palestinian man during clashes at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Saturday night

A Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal had been set for Monday and risked inflaming tensions further.

Weeks of unrest in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital, has multiple causes.

Dome of the Rock, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.

Monday also marks Jerusalem Day, when tens of thousands of Jewish nationalists are expected to march through the Old City of Jerusalem to mark 54 years since its capture during the Six Day War.

The fate of East Jerusalem goes to the heart of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with both sides claiming the right to it. Israel effectively annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, in a move not recognised by the vast majority of the worldwide community, and considers the entire city its capital. Police said 15 people were arrested at another protest in the northern city of Haifa.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem following the 1967 takeover, in a move not recognised by most of the worldwide community.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh called on Sunday for a united Arab and Muslim response against Israel's "provocative desecration of the sanctity of (the) Al-Aqsa Mosque".

A day earlier, the Israeli government played down any state involvement in the Sheikh Jarrah controversy, which the Foreign Ministry cast as a "real-estate dispute between private parties".

It urged the worldwide community to work to end "repeated Israeli aggression" against the Palestinians and Al-Aqsa.

A part of a wheat field goes in flames after Palestinians in Gaza sent incendiary balloons over the border near Nir Am, southern Israel May 9, 2021.

In the Palestinian Gaza Strip, hundreds of protesters gathered along the border with Israel.

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