Children kick snow by the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City. Reuters
A rare heavy snowfall covered Jerusalem, some of northern Israel and hilly areas in the occupied West Bank overnight into Thursday, shutting down roads and schools.
Worshippers had to trudge through inches of snow to reach the holy sites in Jerusalem's walled Old City, including the snow-capped Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall.
Heavy snow is rare in the city, so children went out into the streets to watch the flakes falling and hurl snowballs at each other.
Abed Shabany, 39, took his two sons to play on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. As he reversed his Jeep through inches of slush, other parents kept themselves warm brewing coffee on gas canisters in their boots.
"I haven’t seen anything like this for years,” he said. "There’s no school today so I’m just going around with the kids making snowmen and snowballs. I think it’s a good sign. It will be a good year, I hope.”
Municipality cherry-pickers were out in the city centre, sawing off broken and dangerous branches, with much less traffic on the roads than usual.
Police closed off several main highways leading to Jerusalem, and bus services inside the city were suspended.
Throughout the night, 210 snow ploughs worked to clear the city streets, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion told Israel Army Radio on Thursday morning. The snow piled up to a height of about 20 centimeters (8 inches), according to Israeli media.
Before arriving in Jerusalem, the winter storm swept through the Mediterranean region, from Greece across Turkey and into Syria.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperationreiterated its firm position on the need to provide full protection for Al Aqsa Mosque and halt serious and provocative violations taking place there.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE, the Arab League, Egypt, Kuwait condemned the Israeli far-right flag march in East Jerusalem and in the precincts of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third Holiest Shrine of the Muslims on Sunday. The Secretary-General of the GCC, Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, was responding to the march of thousands
Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards Palestinian youths at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday, the latest outbreak of violence at a site.
In separate calls with Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid, Blinken stressed "the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions..."
Sources familiar with the details of the accident said that it occurred on Monday afternoon, as a result of a malfunction in the bus's brakes, which led it to collide with a bridge, according to local media.
Mariam Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the Arab League, represented the UAE during the signing ceremony.
They prayed to Allah Almighty to perpetuate the blessings of security and stability, and to revisit the fasting month with more goodness, progress, and prosperity for the UAE and its people.
Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “Today, I was briefed, accompanied by my brother, the President of the State, may God preserve him, on the ongoing preparations in the country to host the COP28 Conference of the Parties, in which 70,000 people from 198 countries are expected to participate. Our national team is ready. Protect the planet.”