More than 170 Palestinians have been injured after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and dispersed worshippers elsewhere in occupied East Jerusalem, as weeks-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem soared again.
Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers packed into the mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes on Israeli-occupied land claimed by Jewish settlers.
During the past week, residents of Sheikh Jarrah, as well as Palestinian and international solidarity activists, have attended nightly vigils to support the Palestinian families under threat of forced displacement.
Israeli border police and forces have attacked the sit-ins using skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades over the past few days. Dozens of Palestinians have been arrested.
The US State Department said it is “extremely concerned” about the violence in Jerusalem and called on Israeli and Palestinian officials “to act decisively” to deescalate tensions.
“There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan. This includes Friday’s attack on Israeli soldiers and reciprocal ‘price tag’ attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which we condemn in no uncertain terms.”
Price added that the US is also “deeply concerned” about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.
We are extremely concerned about ongoing confrontations in Jerusalem, including on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and in Sheikh Jarrah. We call on Israeli and Palestinian officials to act decisively to deescalate tensions & bring a halt to the violence. https://t.co/WV5adgCfmS
The United Nations has urged Israel to call off any forced evictions in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to “war crimes”.