Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

JERUSALEM — It is turn into one thing of a grim, springtime custom within the Holy Land.

Israeli police hearth tear gasoline and rubber bullets at Palestinians stockpiling rocks and fireworks inside one of the crucial bitterly disputed holy websites on Earth. The violence ripples throughout Israel and the occupied West Financial institution, and militants from as distant as Gaza and Lebanon reply with rockets.

Related tensions in 2021 boiled over into an 11-day Gaza struggle. Violence on the holy website in 2000 ignited a five-year Palestinian rebellion and a fierce Israeli navy crackdown throughout the occupied territories. One of many first main outbreaks of Jewish-Arab violence occurred in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis within the spring of 1920, in what turned referred to as the Nebi Musa riots.

What’s it about Jerusalem? What’s it in regards to the hilltop compound within the coronary heart of the Previous Metropolis identified to Muslims because the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews because the Temple Mount?


The Noble Sanctuary, house to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the enduring golden Dome of the Rock, is the third holiest website in Islam. It is usually the holiest website for Jews as a result of it was the placement of biblical temples.

The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D., with solely the Western Wall remaining. The mosques have been constructed centuries later.

Neighboring Jordan serves because the custodian of the location, which is operated by an Islamic endowment referred to as the Waqf. The location is open to vacationers throughout sure instances however solely Muslims are allowed to wish there. That is based on casual guidelines established after the 1967 Mideast struggle through which Israel captured east Jerusalem the place the shrine is positioned, together with the West Financial institution and Gaza Strip. Israel, Jordan and Muslim non secular authorities helped set the foundations, referred to as the established order. The Western Wall is the holiest website the place Jews can pray.


The Palestinians view the holy website because the final remnant of their homeland that isn’t below full Israeli management, and so they worry that Israel plans to at some point take over the location or partition it.

Israeli officers say they haven’t any intention of fixing the established order that has prevailed on the website since 1967. However the nation is at present ruled by probably the most right-wing authorities in its historical past, with non secular ultranationalists in senior positions.

In current days, Palestinians have barricaded themselves contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque with stones and firecrackers, demanding the appropriate to wish there in a single day, one thing Israel has up to now solely allowed over the past 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Palestinians additionally say they’re looking for to forestall non secular Jews from finishing up ritual animal slaughter on the website. Israel bars the traditional follow, however Jewish extremists have referred to as for it to be revived, providing money rewards to those that attempt to take action.

Lately, teams of non secular and nationalist Jews escorted by police have been visiting the compound in better numbers and holding prayers in defiance of the longstanding guidelines. The Palestinians view the frequent visits and tried prayers by Jews as a provocation, and it usually ignites scuffles or extra critical violence.

This 12 months, Ramadan and the Jewish excessive vacation of Passover overlap, with massive numbers of Jews flocking to the location for visits that police sometimes facilitate within the early morning after forcibly driving the Palestinians out.

Some Israelis say the location ought to be open to all worshippers. The Palestinians refuse, fearing that it might pave the way in which for Israel to take full management of it.


Israel views Jerusalem as its “unified, everlasting” capital. East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, contains the Previous Metropolis, with main websites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The Palestinians need east Jerusalem, the West Financial institution and Gaza for his or her future state, with east Jerusalem serving as their eventual capital. Israel annexed the japanese a part of the town in a transfer not acknowledged internationally.

The destiny of east Jerusalem and its holy websites has been one of many thorniest points within the peace course of, which floor to a halt greater than a decade in the past.

Jews born in east Jerusalem are Israeli residents, whereas Palestinians from east Jerusalem are granted a type of everlasting residency that may be revoked in the event that they stay exterior the town for an prolonged interval. They will apply for citizenship, however it’s a protracted and unsure course of and most select to not as a result of they don’t acknowledge Israeli management.

Israel has constructed Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem which are house to some 230,000 individuals. An estimated 360,000 Palestinians stay in east Jerusalem. Israel has additionally severely restricted the expansion of Palestinian neighborhoods, resulting in overcrowding and the unauthorized development of 1000’s of houses which are prone to demolition.

Jewish settlers have additionally sought to evict dozens of Palestinian households from their houses in delicate neighborhoods in and across the Previous Metropolis. A decades-long authorized marketing campaign to evict Palestinian households from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood culminated in nightly protests in 2021, contributing to the tensions that ignited that 12 months’s Gaza struggle. These evictions have been later placed on maintain.

Amnesty Worldwide, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli rights group B’Tselem have cited the discriminatory insurance policies in east Jerusalem in experiences arguing that Israel is responsible of the worldwide crime of apartheid. Israel rejects these allegations, saying Jerusalem residents are handled equally.


Many Muslims view the violence at Al-Aqsa as an assault on the religion. It gives a strong rallying cry for political factions and armed teams throughout the area, who blame not solely Israel however the rising roster of Arab Muslim rulers who’ve made peace with it.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which guidelines Gaza, has repeatedly referred to as for a brand new intifada, or rebellion, just like the one triggered by an Israeli politician’s go to to Al-Aqsa in 2000.

This week the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza and Palestinian militants in Lebanon fired rockets into Israel in solidarity with worshippers. Protests have been held within the occupied West Financial institution and in Arab communities inside Israel.

Jordan and different Arab nations which have pleasant ties with Israel have condemned its actions on the holy website. So has the Palestinian Authority, which cooperates with Israel on safety issues.

The U.S. and the EU have additionally condemned the violence and referred to as for restraint whereas saying Israel has the appropriate to defend itself.

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