Fresh tensions at occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound as Israeli forces fire stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinians celebrating Gaza ceasefire.
Israeli police have attacked Palestinians at occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound, in the latest aggression at Islam’s third holiest site and amid a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian enclave, Gaza.
Police hurled stun grenades at a group of Palestinians marching through the grounds, wounding at least 20 people.
Al Aqsa Mosque complex sits atop the Old City plateau known to Muslims worldwide as al Haram al Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Temple Mount.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld alleged officers were targeted by Palestinians who threw stones and had begun “riot” suppressing measures.
The latest violence against Palestinians comes as world leaders and top diplomats welcomed an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Palestine in Gaza, while urging a long-term political solution to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The site is one of the most sensitive sites in the Middle East and an Israeli onslaught there earlier in May touched off the Israeli raids on besieged Gaza.
Israel killed at least 243 Palestinians in Gaza, including 66 children, with 1,910 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twelve Israelis were also killed in Hamas rocket attacks.
Just 12 hours after the ceasefire in Gaza began, Israeli police have stormed into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
IDF soldiers fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse a group of Palestinians who wanted to walk into Jerusalem’s old city after the Friday Jumah prayers pic.twitter.com/gWXU5O7SPL
— TRT World (@trtworld) May 21, 2021
Days of unrest at Al Aqsa during Islam’s holy fasting month of Ramadan forced Hamas, governors of Gaza, to demand Israeli forces vacate the compound by 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) on May 10 and stop expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.
Hamas then fired rockets at Israel and its occupied areas when the deadline expired. Israel commenced a heavy aerial bombardment on Gaza, a small enclave blockaded by Tel Aviv since 2007 from land, air and sea.
Palestinians have also become frustrated by setbacks to their aspirations for an independent state and an end to Israeli occupation in recent years.
There were calls from occupied West Bank for Hamas to act militarily, many analysts say.
Gaza’s rockets are mostly repurposed handmade weapons in comparison to Israel’s military might which gets over $16 billion for defence spending and $3.8 billion from the US in annual funding.
Counting the costs
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation had hit the ability of Hamas.
“Hamas can’t hide anymore. That’s a great achievement for Israel,” he said in a televised address.
But Hamas cast the fighting as successful resistance to a militarily and economically stronger foe.
Its chief Ismail Haniya said Gaza’s ceasefire was “a strategic victory” for Palestinians, adding they will rebuild Gaza and continue to resist until Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is fully lifted.
Palestinian officials put the cost of Gaza reconstruction in the tens of millions of dollars, while economists said the fighting could curb Israel’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A ceasefire to end the Gaza hostilities appeared to be holding on Friday.
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