VIDEO: 20 hurt in Aqsa clashes, violence threatens Israel’s coalition government - GulfToday

VIDEO: 20 hurt in Aqsa clashes, violence threatens Israel’s coalition government


Palestinians walk in front of the Dome of Rock at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

More than 20 Israelis and Palestinians were wounded on Sunday in several incidents in and around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al Aqsa Mosque compound, two days after major violence at the site.

The police said they had arrested 18 Palestinians.

The latest clashes take the number of wounded since Friday to more than 170, at a tense time when the Jewish Passover festival coincides with the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Sunday’s confrontations were less violent than clashes at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque compound two days earlier, but they were enough to prompt a small but pivotal Arab party to review its membership in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s ruling coalition, which no longer has a majority in parliament.

The United Arab List - the first party drawn from the country’s 21% Arab minority to join an Israeli government - said it was suspending its government membership over Israel’s handling of the Al Aqsa violence and would consider officially resigning if things did not change.

Bennett’s coalition controls 60 of 120 seats in parliament, including four from the United Arab List.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he had told his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas that he condemned Israeli “intervention on worshippers” at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque and threats to its “status or spirit.”

“During our call, I told Mr Abbas that I strongly condemned Israel’s intervention on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and that we will stand against provocations and threats to its status or spirit,” Erdogan said on Twitter.

“Turkey always stands with Palestine,” he added.

Erdogan later said he had discussed developments at Al-Aqsa with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, adding he Israel’s “interventions and provocations” had “unacceptable” results. They also discussed possible joint steps for regional peace, Erdogan added.

Senior Palestinian official Hussein Al Sheikh said Sunday that “Israel’s dangerous escalation in the Al-Aqsa compound ... is a blatant attack on our holy places,” and called on the international community to intervene.

King Abdullah II of Jordan on Sunday called on Israel to “stop all illegal and provocative measures” that drives “further aggravation.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the security forces “continue to receive a free hand... for any action that will provide security to the citizens of Israel”.

Bennett stressed that every effort should be made to allow members of all religions to celebrate their religious holidays in Jerusalem, his office said in a statement.


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