New Delhi: Israeli security forces clashed for the second time with Palestinian protesters on Monday (May 10) in East Jerusalem. This is the latest in a series of violent incidents that has engulfed the holy city. The area has been simmering with rage which has left hundreds of Palestinians and a dozen of Israeli policemen injured.
The heart of the violence has been the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In the latest incidents Israeli security officers fired ear gas and stun grenades on the protesters. In return, the Palestinians hurled stones and other objects at the Israeli forces.
Both sides accused the other of instigating the violence. Israeli authorities say that the Palestinians started hurling stones from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on an adjoining road. Meanwhile, the Palestinians say that the police fired stun grenades into the compound without any warning.
Firas Dibs, a spokesman for the Islamic authority, or Waqf, managing the site, said dozens of people were hurt. The Palestinian Red Crescent said three people were taken to the hospital.
The site of the clash is holy to the both the Jews and Muslims. While the Jews considered it as the Temple Mount, the Muslims considered it as Noble Sanctuary and the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. The compound is the epicenter of the conflict and has been the trigger for rounds of Israel-Palestinian violence in the past.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday have consulted over how to resolves the tensions between the two sides. The meeting was held after a request by Tunisia which is the only Arab country on the UNSC’s membership.
Earlier, police barred Jews from visiting the Al-Aqsa compound on Monday, which Israelis mark as Jerusalem Day with a flag-waving parade through the Old City and its Muslim Quarter.
The marchers celebrate Israel’s capture and annexation of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day war.
The police decision to ban Jewish visitors temporarily from the holy site came hours before the start of the Jerusalem Day march which is widely perceived by Palestinians as a provocative display of Jewish hegemony over the contested city.
Police have allowed the parade to take place despite growing concerns that it could further inflame the tension.
This year the march coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of heightened religious sensitivities, and follows weeks of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
With inputs from PTI