Israeli police raided the holy area around the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem this morning. At least 31 Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Israel’s foreign ministry says hundreds of violent protesters began rioting on the Temple Mount this morning. Firecrackers were allegedly set off and stones were thrown at officers. However, Israel says the police waited to intervene until the mosque-goers had finished morning prayers. According to Al Jazeera, Palestinian media reports that Israeli security forces are responsible for the escalated situation on the Temple Mount. For example, Palestinians are said to have been attacked yesterday with rubber bullets and tear gas, to which Palestinian youths responded with stones and petrol bombs.
Tension has been high on the Tembelberg for several weeks now. The site is the holiest site in East Jerusalem for both Jews and Muslims. For Muslims, it is the third holiest mosque in the world, while the Temple Mount, which once housed the main Jewish temple, is the holiest site in the world for Jews.
Adding further tensions is the coincidence of important Islamic, Jewish and Christian holidays. Far-right Israeli nationalists believe they have the right to pray on the Temple Mount. However, in 1967 Israel and Jordan made a series of agreements that prohibit non-Muslims from praying at the holy site.
Palestine has been illegally occupied by Israel for decades. In 1948 the Nakba took place: nearly a million Palestinians were driven from their homes and from their land. As a result, there are still millions of Palestinian refugees around the world today and that number is only growing. The Israeli colonization of Palestine is accompanied by daily human rights violations. To this day, houses are destroyed, Gaza is bombed and Palestinians are arrested if they show any kind of resistance.
Amnesty International described these human rights violations as apartheid, in which two groups are treated differently based on their ethnicity. For example, a report revealed the widespread unlawful expropriation of Palestinian land and property, forced displacement, drastic restrictions on freedom of movement, unlawful killing, and denial of Palestinians’ right to nationality and citizenship.
The Israeli government has now decided that Jewish visitors are not allowed to enter the area around the al-Aqsa mosque, because the last ten days of Ramadan have started.
It is not the first time violence has broken out on the Temple Mount. In May last year, Palestinians protested against the forced expropriations and evictions of Palestinian residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967. Despite not officially being a territory of Israel, the country claims to be. An Israeli judge then ruled that at least six families must make way for Jewish settlers.
Catch up on more stories here
Follow us on Facebook here