Violence Spreads on Day Israel Marks Control of Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces amid clashes at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021, ahead of a planned march to commemorate Israel's takeover of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Photographer: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) -- Palestinians clashed with Israeli police on a volatile hilltop shrine in Jerusalem early Monday, as weeks of violence threatened to spiral on the day Israel celebrates its control over the contested holy city.

By Alisa Odenheimer
May 10, 2021, 9:32 AM – Updated on May 10, 2021, 10:44 AM
Word Count: 515

Palestinians hurled rocks, other heavy objects and firecrackers from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is Islam’s third-holiest site and the location of Judaism’s biblical temple. Israeli police stormed the mount, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets. The Associated Press, citing Palestinian medics, reported that 50 Palestinians were hospitalized.

Spillover violence persisted from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where militants launched rockets and flaming balloons into southern Israel, setting fires but causing no injuries.

The potential for escalation is high because on Monday Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, marking its capture of the city’s eastern sector from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. The day is traditionally a fraught one as a parade by Jewish nationalists cuts through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, in a display of Israeli hegemony that Palestinians deplore.

Israeli officials have allowed the parade to go ahead, but in an effort to de-escalate tensions, police have barred Jewish visitors from the hilltop compound where Monday’s violence broke out. The site — the most contested piece of land in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — is known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram-as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that several dozen Jews tried to force their way onto the mount.

The holy city has been seething with its worst unrest in years since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan more than three weeks ago. Israeli restrictions on gathering at a traditional Ramadan meeting place outside the Old City touched off the tensions, but after they were lifted, protests were rekindled by the threatened evictions of Palestinians from longtime homes in the eastern sector of the city.

Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their longed-for state.

U.S. Tells Israel of Its Concerns Over East Jerusalem Violence

On Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by phone with his Israeli counterpart to express “serious concerns” about the “violent confrontations.” He also reiterated U.S. concerns about the potential evictions.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement voicing similar sentiments, and the Arab League has scheduled a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation.

The violence is exploding at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals are trying to piece together a government after the fourth election in two years.

“We would like to see things calm down and go back to normalcy,” Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

While Israel’s economy is equipped to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the short run, “a new government, a stable government, is needed to deal with the many economic issues Israel has faced even before going into the crisis,” such as the need for infrastructure investments and less red tape, he said.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Younus Amod says:

    These aren’t clashes between two equal parties. This is brutal ethnic cleansing sanctioned by the Israeli Apartheid state, and funded by Zionist-controlled America. Israeli TERRORISTS throw people out of their homes, throw stun grenades and tear gas into a crowded Mosque and kill innocent people.

  • The silence of Dirco, our President, the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors, even the SA Jewish board is damning. Apartheid cannot continue, anywhere in the world. Neither can rocket attacks or air strikes against largely civilian targets.

  • Philip Mirkin says:

    I’m not seeing any new ideas to de-escalate the Palestinian-Israeli polarisation. Where is the coalition of the moderates? Surely there are moderates on both sides who are strong enough to prioritise human beings and not history. They will get massive international, if not local, support.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Under the fascist inclined Natanyahu & his Trumpian exhortation of ‘law and order’ (cover for military adventurism & other excesses) against unarmed people, there is no prospect for ‘peace’. No wonder he does not recognise the ICC ! Emboldened by Trump, its time for Biden to put his foot down .

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