Why Israel attack the Al Aqsa mosque? What is happening in Jerusalem? Sheikh jarrah eviction explained

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Tensions between Israel and Palestine are increasing day by day. A rapid escalation of violence is seen between Israelis and Palestinians after weeks of clashes and demonstrations in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured in a police raid on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam. local skirmishes in the decades-long battle for control of Jerusalem city escalated into rocket fire and airstrikes in Gaza. Here’s what you need to know about the incident.

local skirmishes in the decades-long battle for control of Jerusalem city escalated into rocket fire and airstrikes in Gaza
local skirmishes in the decades-long battle for control of Jerusalem city escalated into rocket fire and airstrikes in Gaza

How it all started?

Jerusalem is the holy city for all the Abrahamic religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Temple Mount and Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims. Since 1948, the year of the birth of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes. Israelites are planning for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Jerusalem. Israel wants to replace all the Muslims in Jerusalem with Jews. Israel has built Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem that are home to some 220,000 people. It has severely limited the growth of Palestinian neighborhoods, leading to overcrowding and the unauthorized construction of thousands of homes that are at risk of demolition.

Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims
Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims

In 1956, 28 Palestinian families flew from Jerusalem and settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, hoping that would be the last time they are forced out of their homes. They didn’t achieve peace there. Jewish settlers were forcing them to evacuate the house for them. so they filed a case against jews in Israel’s court. 

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The court after a long delay issued a judgment against the Palestinian families. The Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision earlier this year to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of right-wing Israeli settlers.

28 Palestinian families flew from Jerusalem and settled in the Sheikh Jarrah
28 Palestinian families flew from Jerusalem and settled in the Sheikh Jarrah

Israel’s Supreme Court was scheduled to issue a ruling on the evictions on 6th May, but due to heated demonstrations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, but the decision was delayed until May 10 and then to 16th May. 

For weeks, Palestinians had been protesting the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to clashes with Israeli police and far-right-wing activists. There were also clashes between Palestinian protesters and the police elsewhere in the city, as well as a series of assaults by Jewish and Arab street mobs, during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when tensions often run high.

Palestinians had been protesting the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood
Palestinians had been protesting the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood

how did the protests escalate?

The nightly clashes began at the start of Ramadan, when Israeli police placed barriers outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate, a popular gathering place after the evening prayers during the holy month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. They later removed the barriers but then protests escalated over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The violence on the 10th may begin after the police entered the mosque compound around 8 a.m. and fired rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians. The Israeli government said the police had been responding after the Palestinians started throwing stones at them. The Palestinians had stockpiled stones at the site in expectation of a standoff with the police and Jewish far-right groups.

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Israeli police placed barriers outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate
Israeli police placed barriers outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate

Palestinian witnesses said the fighting began after the police entered the mosque compound and began firing.

By the afternoon, more than 330 Palestinians had been injured, with at least 250 hospitalized, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. One person was hit in the head by a bullet and was in critical condition, the medical aid group said, with at least two more in serious or critical condition.

At least 21 police officers were injured, according to the police.

Hamas had been threatening for weeks to respond with force to what it described as Israeli provocations in Jerusalem. “Tampering with Jerusalem will burn the heads of the occupiers,” Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas official, said. Hamas militants fired at least 150 rockets across southern and central Israel.  Israel responded with airstrikes on the Palestinian coastal territory. Gaza officials say at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes. Protests have been held in the occupied West Bank and in Arab communities inside Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival after four recent deadlocked elections that have left Israel in political turmoil. He is at the helm of a caretaker government as he fights corruption charges, while opposition parties struggle to form a viable alternative government. Netanyahu’s critics say tensions have in part been permitted to escalate because he wanted to distract the public and the media. He wanted to shift the attention to some other event all the major countries including the U.S. and the EU have condemned the violence and expressed concern about the evictions.

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