Conflicts & War

Clashes at Jerusalem holy site ahead of Israeli flag march

Jerusalem, May 29 (EFE).- Palestinians and Israelis clashed on the compound that houses Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque on Sunday, hours before Israelis go on a controversial flag march through the city to mark Jerusalem Day.

After ending the morning prayer, a few Palestinian worshippers barricaded themselves inside the Aqsa mosque, before they started throwing stones and firecrackers at Israelis gathering around the area.

The site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is under Jordanian custodianship but Israel is in charge of security.

According to an agreement between Jordan and Israel in place since 1967, Jews are allowed to visit the facility but not to pray there.

Many of them, however, defy these rules, triggering clashes with Palestinians and Muslims.

Dozens of Jewish settlers entered the compound Sunday to pray on Jerusalem Day, including far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, which Palestinians consider as a provocation.

“We ascended this morning, Jerusalem Day, to the Temple Mount. We will not give in to the threats of terrorist organizations – we are the homeowners in Jerusalem!” Ben Gvir wrote on Twitter.

Jerusalem Day is the day on which Israel commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967, while Palestinians see it as the beginning of East Jerusalem’s occupation.

The flag march is set to kick off later in the day in the western part of the city through to the Damascus Gate of the Old City.

From there, thousands of nationalist young Jews are expected to cross the alleys until they reach the Wailing Wall, where the ceremonies will take place.

Fearing an escalation of violence ahead of the march and after weeks of tensions in the region, Israeli security forces were placed on high alert.

In May 2021, the march triggered the 11-day war between the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement and Israel that left more than 270 people dead.

“As we approach 29 May, I call upon all sides to exercise maximum restraint & make wise decisions to avoid another violent conflict that will only claim more lives,” Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a Twitter post.

“I am deeply concerned about the spiraling cycle of violence that has taken too many Palestinian and Israeli lives in recent weeks,” he added, referring to the recent wave of unrest in the region that left some 50 Palestinians and 18 people in Israel dead. EFE


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