May 10, 2021
Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday, as Israel marks Jerusalem Day amid heightened tensions over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from an East Jerusalem neighbourhood.
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021. © Ahmad Gharabli, AFP
By FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, and REUTERS
Israeli security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades on Monday and protesters hurled stones and other objects at police. Police said protesters threw stones from the mosque compound onto an adjoining roadway. Palestinians said police fired stun grenades into the compound.
“There are hundreds of people injured from the clashes” and about 50 of them were hospitalised, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a brief statement to journalists on Monday.
The injured were evacuated in ambulances that were deployed outside the esplanade, located in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
The flashpoint site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. The compound in Jerusalem’s Old City is the emotional epicentre of the conflict and has been centre stage for Israel-Palestinian violence in the past.
Earlier, police barred Jews from visiting the site on Monday, which Israelis mark as Jerusalem Day. The holiday commemorates Israel’s takeover of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and usually sees processions of Jewish youth walking through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
This year the holiday coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of heightened religious sensitivities, and follows weeks of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The latest violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound came after days of mounting tensions between Palestinians and Israeli authorities in the Old City. Hundreds of Palestinians and about two dozen police officers have been hurt over the past few days.
Court delays decision on eviction case
The clashes came as the UN Security Council was scheduled to hold closed consultations Monday on the soaring tensions in the city. Diplomats said the meeting was requested by Tunisia, the Arab representative on the council.
The unrest in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital, has multiple causes.
But much of the latest violence stems from a long-running legal effort by Jewish settler groups to evict several Palestinians from their homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
A lower court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers’ decades-old claim to the plots infuriated Palestinians.
A Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal had been set for Monday and risked inflaming tensions further.
The justice ministry said Sunday that in light of “all the circumstances”, it would delay the court hearing.