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Jerusalem Day parade WILL go ahead despite days of unrest and soaring tensions in city

Police on Sunday gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site.

Monday’s parade will pass through Jerusalem’s Old City, part of east Jerusalem, which was captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The march was approved amid ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City, the emotional epicentre of the long-running conflict, that left 90 people injured. 

Before dawn Sunday, thousands of Muslim worshippers skirmished anew with Israeli police at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Videos on social media showed Palestinians hurling water bottles and rocks at officers, who fired stun grenades.

Police on Sunday gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions(pictured, 2019 Jerusalem Day parade)

The march was approved amid ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City, the emotional epicentre of the long-running conflict. (pictured, a Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli security forces on Saturday night)

The march was approved amid ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City, the emotional epicentre of the long-running conflict. (pictured, a Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli security forces on Saturday night)

Clashes started on Saturday after Israeli police blocked Muslim pilgrims from Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque on Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny), the holiest night of Ramadan

Clashes started on Saturday after Israeli police blocked Muslim pilgrims from Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny), the holiest night of Ramadan

Saturday night's clashes left 90 people injured, including this woman who was hurt while protesting near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate

Saturday night’s clashes left 90 people injured, including this woman who was hurt while protesting near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate

Amos Gilad, a former senior defense official, told Army Radio that the Jerusalem Day parade should be canceled or rerouted away from the Old City’s Damascus Gate, saying ‘the powder keg is burning and can explode at any time.’

The 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. It has been a tinderbox for serious violence in the past. 

But, police spokesman Eli Levi said Sunday that there were no plans to call off the Jerusalem Day parade, despite the rising friction and the potential for violence. He said police were constantly assessing the situation.

Monday afternoon’s march marks Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem and is typically attended by hardline nationalist Israelis, who wend their way through the Damascus Gate of the Old City and through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

The annual event is widely perceived as provocative, and this year’s parade comes at a particularly volatile time.

The march coincides with an expected decision Monday by Israel’s Supreme Court on the fate of dozens of Palestinians who are fighting attempts by Israeli settlers to evict them from their homes in Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Palestinians and international rights groups portray the planned evictions as an ongoing campaign by Israel to drive Palestinians from traditionally Arab neighborhoods, especially in the heart of Jerusalem. Israel has cast the Sheikh Jarrah evictions case as a mere real estate dispute.

The neighborhood has been the scene of regular confrontations, particularly during Ramadan, between Palestinian residents and their supporters on one side, and Israeli police and ultra-nationalist Israeli activists on the other.

The neighborhood has been the scene of regular confrontations, particularly during Ramadan, between Palestinian residents and their supporters on one side, and Israeli police and ultra-nationalist Israeli activists on the other

The neighborhood has been the scene of regular confrontations, particularly during Ramadan, between Palestinian residents and their supporters on one side, and Israeli police and ultra-nationalist Israeli activists on the other 

The planned parade comes after two nights of violence in which Israeli police fired a water cannon at Palestinian protesters and blocked busloads of Muslim pilgrims headed to the Al-Aqsa mosque (pictured, Jerusalem Day parade in 2019)

The planned parade comes after two nights of violence in which Israeli police fired a water cannon at Palestinian protesters and blocked busloads of Muslim pilgrims headed to the Al-Aqsa mosque (pictured, Jerusalem Day parade in 2019)

The annual event is widely perceived as provocative, and this year's parade comes at a particularly volatile time, but police have no plans to cancel it

The annual event is widely perceived as provocative, and this year’s parade comes at a particularly volatile time, but police have no plans to cancel it

The planned parade comes after two nights of violence in which Israeli police fired a water cannon at Palestinian protesters and blocked busloads of Muslim pilgrims headed to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

At least 90 Palestinians were wounded in violent confrontations with police in Jerusalem overnight from Saturday to Sunday, when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, or the ‘night of destiny,’ the holiest period of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem, drawing condemnations from Israel’s Arab allies and calls for calm from the United States, Europe and the United Nations.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel ‘will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly.’

‘We will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all faiths, but we will not allow violent disturbances,’ he said.

On Sunday, COGAT, Israel’s defense ministry body controlling crossings with the Gaza Strip, said it had suspended entry of 350 Gaza merchants until further notice because of the upsurge in violence. 

The flare-up in hostilities comes at a crucial point in Israel’s political crisis after longtime leader Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition. His opponents are now working to build an alternate government. If they succeed, Netanyahu would be pushed to the opposition for the first time in 12 years.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel 'will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly'

Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel ‘will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly’

At least 90 Palestinians were wounded in violent confrontations with police in Jerusalem overnight from Saturday to Sunday, when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, or the 'night of destiny,' the holiest period of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan

At least 90 Palestinians were wounded in violent confrontations with police in Jerusalem overnight from Saturday to Sunday, when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, or the ‘night of destiny,’ the holiest period of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan

On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem, drawing condemnations from Israel's Arab allies

On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem, drawing condemnations from Israel’s Arab allies

The flare-up in hostilities comes at a crucial point as Israel faces a lengthy political crisis. Police defended their violent dispersal of Palestinian protests as security moves, but these were seen as provocations

The flare-up in hostilities comes at a crucial point as Israel faces a lengthy political crisis. Police defended their violent dispersal of Palestinian protests as security moves, but these were seen as provocations

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel as a 'cruel terrorist state' amid the escalation of already heightened religious tensions

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel as a ‘cruel terrorist state’ amid the escalation of already heightened religious tensions

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel as a ‘cruel terrorist state’ amid the escalation of already heightened religious tensions that have unleashed the worst unrest in the holy city in years, as the Palestinian Red Crescent reported 90 people injured on Saturday night. Israeli police said one officer was injured. 

He said: ‘Israel, the cruel terrorist state, attacks the Muslims in Jerusalem – whose only concern is to protect their homes … and their sacred values – in a savage manner devoid of ethics.’ 

The violence in Jerusalem was ‘an attack on all Muslims’, he said, adding that ‘protecting the honour of Jerusalem is a duty for every Muslim’.

He urged all countries, in particular Muslim countries, to react and called on the United Nations to ‘stop this persecution’.

Police defended their actions as security moves, but these were seen as provocations by Muslims who accuse Israel of threatening their freedom of worship. 

Protests broke out on the Israel-Gaza border late on Saturday following the clashes in Jerusalem’s Old City. 

Israeli forces blocked busloads of Muslim pilgrims headed to the Al-Aqsa mosque on the holiest night of Ramadan

Israeli forces blocked busloads of Muslim pilgrims headed to the Al-Aqsa mosque on the holiest night of Ramadan

Police defended their actions as security moves, but these were seen as provocations by Muslims who accuse Israel of threatening their freedom of worship

Police defended their actions as security moves, but these were seen as provocations by Muslims who accuse Israel of threatening their freedom of worship

Palestinian protesters burn tyres amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus city, in the occupied West Bank

Palestinian protesters burn tyres amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus city, in the occupied West Bank

Protests broke out on the Israeli-Gaza border late on Saturday, the holiest night of Ramadan, following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday night

Protests broke out on the Israeli-Gaza border late on Saturday, the holiest night of Ramadan, following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday night

Competing claims in east Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites, lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have triggered major rounds of violence in the past. 

Police said they dispersed the protest in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces.

Saturday night is ‘Laylat al-Qadr’ or the ‘Night of Destiny,’ the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Islamic authorities estimated 90,000 people were gathered for intense nighttime prayers at Al-Aqsa.

‘The right to demonstrate will be respected but public disturbances will be met with force and zero tolerance. I call on everyone to act responsibly and with restraint,’ Israeli police chief Koby Shabtai said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to violence in annexed east Jerusalem, where clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police have left scores of Palestinians injured.

After delivering his Regina Caeli prayer from the window overlooking St Peter’s Square, the pope said he was ‘following with particular concern the events that are happening in Jerusalem. I pray so that this might be a place of encounter and not violent clashes, a place of prayer and of peace,’ he said.

‘I invite everyone to seek shared resolutions so that the multi-religious identity and multi-culture of the holy city might be respected and so that fraternity might prevail. Violence only generates violence. Let’s stop these clashes.’ 

Jordan warned Israel on Sunday to stop what it described as ‘barbaric’ attacks on worshippers in the Jerusalem Aqsa mosque and said it would be stepping up international pressure, an official statement said.

The kingdom, which has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, said Israel should respect worshippers and international law safeguarding Arab rights in the disputed city. 

Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to violence in annexed east Jerusalem, where clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police have left scores of Palestinians injured

Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to violence in annexed east Jerusalem, where clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police have left scores of Palestinians injured

Police said they dispersed the protest in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces

Police said they dispersed the protest in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces

In Jerusalem, police said they made three arrests for attacks on officers, while Palestinians reported 13 other arrests earlier in the day

In Jerusalem, police said they made three arrests for attacks on officers, while Palestinians reported 13 other arrests earlier in the day

Israeli police are deployed during clashes with Palestinians at Damascus Gate on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan

Israeli police are deployed during clashes with Palestinians at Damascus Gate on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan

Palestinian medics said 205 Palestinians were injured in the clashes at Al-Aqsa and other flashpoints around Jerusalem

Palestinian medics said 205 Palestinians were injured in the clashes at Al-Aqsa and other flashpoints around Jerusalem

Israeli troops fired tear gas toward Palestinian protesters along the Gazan border, where protesters burnt tyres during a demonstration against rising violence

Israeli troops fired tear gas toward Palestinian protesters along the Gazan border, where protesters burnt tyres during a demonstration against rising violence

After weeks of nightly violence, Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were bracing for more conflict in the coming days

After weeks of nightly violence, Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were bracing for more conflict in the coming days

Gazans gathered at Al Omari Mosque, observing Covid-19 measures, to pray on Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan, on Saturday

Gazans gathered at Al Omari Mosque, observing Covid-19 measures, to pray on Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan, on Saturday

On the border with the Gaza Strip, troops fired tear gas toward Palestinian protesters, as officials said three incendiary balloons were launched into Israel, causing fires but no injuries.

In Jerusalem, police said they made three arrests for attacks on officers, while Palestinians reported 13 other arrests earlier in the day.

On Friday, riot police stormed Al-Aqsa mosque compound, unleashing rubber bullets and sound grenades after they said Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks at officers.

Police said 18 officers were injured and several hospitalised. 

Palestinian medics said 205 Palestinians were injured in the clashes at Al-Aqsa and other flashpoints around Jerusalem. 

Gazan protesters carried Palestinian flags as they dodged tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during the demonstration on Saturday night

Gazan protesters carried Palestinian flags as they dodged tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during the demonstration on Saturday night

In response, aircraft struck a military post for Hamas, the militant group ruling the territory. There were no reports of casualties in either attack

In response, aircraft struck a military post for Hamas, the militant group ruling the territory. There were no reports of casualties in either attack

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the country's south that fell in an open area early on Sunday

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the country’s south that fell in an open area early on Sunday

The violence was the worst in years to rock Al-Aqsa, Islam's third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina, located on the site Jews revere as the Temple Mount

The violence was the worst in years to rock Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina, located on the site Jews revere as the Temple Mount

A Palestinian protester runs from Israeli security forces outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City

A Palestinian protester runs from Israeli security forces outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City

On Saturday, protesters chanted, waved Palestinian flags and threw stones before police moved in

On Saturday, protesters chanted, waved Palestinian flags and threw stones before police moved in

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the police actions.

‘Israel is acting responsibly to ensure respect for law and order in Jerusalem while allowing freedom of worship,’ he said in a meeting of security officials.

The violence was the worst in years to rock Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina, located on the site Jews revere as the Temple Mount. 

Palestinians have held nightly protests in Sheikh Jarrah against an attempt by Israeli settlers to take over Arab homes.

On Saturday, protesters chanted, waved Palestinian flags and threw stones before police moved in.

Dozens of Arab Israeli protesters also gathered across Israel in solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah residents, holding up signs that read ‘the occupation is terrorism’.

Israeli security forces arrest a protester during a demonstration by Palestinians against a possible eviction of local Palestinian families

Israeli security forces arrest a protester during a demonstration by Palestinians against a possible eviction of local Palestinian families

A member of Israeli security forces tries to detain a Palestinian protester outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City

A member of Israeli security forces tries to detain a Palestinian protester outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City

Police blocked buses filled with Arabs headed for Jerusalem from northern Israel, saying they would not be allowed ‘to participate in violent riots’.

Instead, hundreds marched on highways leading to the city. 

The Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, urged Palestinians to remain at Al-Aqsa until Ramadan ends, warning that ‘the resistance is ready to defend Al-Aqsa at any cost’.

Outside the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, Palestinians set fire to a barricade before police on horseback dispersed the protesters. 

The United States – a staunch Israeli ally whose tone has toughened under US President Joe Biden – said it was ‘extremely concerned’ and urged both sides to ‘avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace’.

‘This includes evictions in east Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions and acts of terrorism,’ the State Department said.

An Israeli policeman holds a weapon during clashes with Palestinians on Laylat al-Qadr

An Israeli policeman holds a weapon during clashes with Palestinians on Laylat al-Qadr

Palestinians gather amid burning tyre fumes and tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during a demonstration by the Israel-Gaza border

Palestinians gather amid burning tyre fumes and tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during a demonstration by the Israel-Gaza border

The European Union called on the authorities ‘to act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions,’ saying ‘violence and incitement are unacceptable and the perpetrators on all sides must be held accountable’.

Russia voiced ‘deep concern’ and called the expropriation of land and property in the occupied Palestinian territories including east Jerusalem ‘a violation of international law’.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he held the Israeli government responsible for the unrest and voiced ‘full support for our heroes in Al-Aqsa’.

Yair Lapid, an Israeli politician attempting to form a coalition government to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sent encouragement to police officers.

‘The state of Israel will not let violence run loose and definitely will not allow terror groups to threaten it,’ he tweeted. 

Palestinian protesters burn tyres amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus city, in the occupied West Bank

Palestinian protesters burn tyres amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus city, in the occupied West Bank

Israeli police officers fire stun grenades towards Palestinian demonstrators during clashes at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City

Israeli police officers fire stun grenades towards Palestinian demonstrators during clashes at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City

The clashes in Al-Aqsa drew sharp rebukes across the Arab and Muslim world.

Jordan condemned Israel’s ‘barbaric attack’ and Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan and Qatar were among Muslim countries that blasted Israeli forces for the confrontation.

Israel also drew criticism from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that signed normalisation accords with the Jewish state last year.

Iran called on the United Nations to condemn the Israeli police actions, arguing that ‘this war crime once again proved to the world the criminal nature of the illegitimate Zionist regime’.

Tensions are expected to remain high in Jerusalem.

Israel’s supreme court is to hold a new hearing in the Sheikh Jarrah case on Monday, when Israelis mark Jerusalem Day to celebrate the ‘liberation’ of the city.

The clashes in Al-Aqsa drew sharp rebukes across the Arab and Muslim world. Jordan condemned Israel's 'barbaric attack' and Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan and Qatar were among Muslim countries that blasted Israeli forces for the confrontation

The clashes in Al-Aqsa drew sharp rebukes across the Arab and Muslim world. Jordan condemned Israel’s ‘barbaric attack’ and Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan and Qatar were among Muslim countries that blasted Israeli forces for the confrontation


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