Connect with us

Middle East

Three Palestinians killed amid tensions at Jerusalem holy site al Aqsa Mosque

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that a child of eight had died from tear gas inhalation, but that could not be confirmed.

Published

on

Palestinians Killed

JERUSALEM : – Palestinian worshippers on Friday clashed with Israeli security forces outside a Jerusalem shrine in violence prompted by the installation of metal detectors at its entry point, and at least three Palestinians were killed.

There have been daily confrontations between Palestinians hurling rocks and Israeli police using stun grenades since the detectors were placed outside the sacred venue, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, on Sunday, following the killing of two Israeli policemen.

The shrine includes the al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. It was also the site of an ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Mohammed Sharaf, 17, and Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghannam, age unknown, died of gunshot wounds in two neighborhoods of East Jerusalem somewhat away from the epicenter of tension in the walled Old City. It reported a third Palestinian fatality, Mohammed Lafi, 18, later.

It was not immediately clear who fired the shots, with unconfirmed media reports that an Israeli from a settlement in the nearby occupied West Bank was responsible in Sharaf’s death.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that a child of eight had died from tear gas inhalation, but that could not be confirmed.

Despite international pressure to remove the metal detectors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet decided in Friday’s early hours to keep them in place, saying they were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

In protest, thousands of worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at various entrances to the sacred compound, which sits on a marble and stone plateau in the Old City. They refused to enter, preferring to pray outside, in some cases filling the narrow alleyways of the Old City’s Muslim quarter.

“We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque,” said Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein.

Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions had urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” on Friday against the new security policies, which they see as changing delicate agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.

But by early afternoon, with police mobilizing extra units and placing barriers to carry out checks at entrances to the Old City, there had been little serious violence. Access to the shrine for Muslims was limited to men over 50 but open to women of all ages. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.

At one location near the Old City, stone throwers did try to break through a police line, and police used stun grenades to drive them back.

Injuries

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said four officers were injured in the sporadic clashes and the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 377 protesters had been hurt, some suffering from tear gas inhalation.

Ahmad Abdul Salaam, a local businessman who came to pray outside the Noble Sanctuary, said: “Putting these metal detectors at the entrance to our place of worship is like putting them at the entrance to our house. Are you really going to put me through a metal detector as I go into my house?”

The hilltop compound has long been a source of religious friction. Since Israel captured and annexed the Old City, including the compound, in the 1967 Middle East war, it has also become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. “This is our place of prayer, we have sovereignty here,” Salaam said.

On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to press for the removal of the metal detectors.

Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East, appealed for calm and the White House called for a resolution. Jordan, the custodian of the holy site, has also been involved in mediation efforts.

But Netanyahu’s 11-member security cabinet opted in a late-night meeting to retain the metal detectors to ensure no weapons were smuggled in, a week after three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen in the vicinity of the complex.

Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government – which relies on religious, rightist and pro-settler parties for support – had publicly urged him to keep the devices in place.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy places,” the security cabinet said in a statement.

“The cabinet has authorized the police to take any decision in order to ensure free access to the holy places while maintaining security and public order.”

As well as anger at having to submit to Israeli security policies, Palestinians are alarmed at what they see as a slow chipping away at the status quo at the Noble Sanctuary.

Since Ottoman times, while Jews are permitted to visit the area, only Muslims are allowed to pray there.

Over the past decade, however, visits by religious-nationalist Jews have increased sharply and some attempt to pray. While police are supposed to eject them if they do, the rules are not always enforced, angering Muslims.

In 2000, a visit to the site by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon triggered clashes that spiraled into the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) in which about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis died in four years of violence.

Reuters

Middle East

Abbas says to address UN assembly on issues causing suffering to Palestinians

Published

on

Mahmoud Abbas

Ramallah, Sep 16 : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he will address the upcoming UN General Assembly on issues causing suffering to Palestinians.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting he chaired for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Xinhua reported.

“We will go to the United Nations to confront the world with the issues that our people are suffering,” said Abbas, who is scheduled to deliver a speech at the UN headquarters in New York on September 27.

The addressed issues include the Israeli decision to demolish Al-Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin village east of Jerusalem, and the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy city, he added.

“We are consulting with our brothers in Jordan to form a unified position to go to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice on what is going on at the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas noted.

The Palestinian President said the final decision will be made by the PLO central council after he returned from the UN assembly.

The United States and the Palestinians have almost severed ties since US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Iran to increase uranium enrichment if EU fails

Published

on

Iran President

Tehran, Sep 16 (IANS) Iran would increase uranium enrichment if the European Union (EU) fails to implement its obligations following the US withdrawal from the Iranian landmark nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

“The Europeans and the other signatories must act in order to compensate for the effects of the US sanctions,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Press TV.

He downplayed the possibility of Iran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, but cautioned the EU partners that Iran might act if they fail to secure Iran’s interests in the deal.

“Oil and banks” are the “litmus test,” he said, alluding to the EU pledges to help Tehran in the face of US re-imposition of sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and banking transactions.

European parties need to decide whether being ready to follow their words, Zarif said, adding that “they should also decide if they want to submit to US pressure.”

Iran and six world powers, namely Russia, Britain, China, France, the United States and Germany, struck a landmark agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from the deal on May 8 and re-impose sanctions, including oil embargo, on Iran.

Iran has held several rounds of talks with France, Britain and Germany to revive the blocking statute, a 1996 regulation that prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with foreign sanctions laws.

Iran has incessantly urged Europe to take “practical and tangible measures” to protect Iranian interests since the US pullout.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Palestinians still committed to making just peace with Israel: Abbas

Published

on

Mahmoud Abbas

Jerusalem, Sep 14 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the Palestinian people are still committed to making just peace with Israel.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting at his headquarters in Ramallah with the leaders of three main religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, in the Palestinian territories.

He stressed on the necessity of making peace with Israel based on international resolutions related to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, Xinhua reported.

Abbas was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA as saying that the Palestinian people deserve an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, “which will be open for the three main religions”.

“Palestine is a model to be followed and a good example in coexistence and social peace,” the Palestinian leader said.

The religious leaders affirmed to Abbas their support to his policies that aim at achieving the hope and aspiration of the Palestinian people, namely freedom and independence.

Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 27.

Ahmad Majdalani, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that Abbas’ speech “will be like the worksheet for the coming stage”.

He told the official Voice of Palestine Radio that the Palestinians will carry on with their steps that will be escalated within the coming period, in response to the American and Israeli policies and measures that were taken to terminate the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian Authority has been boycotting the US administration led by President Donald Trump as a peace broker, after Trump announced last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocated the US ambassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city in May.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since 2014 after nine months of US-sponsored talks failed to make progress to resolve the decades-long conflict.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular