‘Brutality shown to Palestinian worshippers’ condemned by Jewish group

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‘Brutality shown to Palestinian worshippers’ condemned by Jewish group

Officials say Jerusalem Day marchers cannot enter holy site following more clashes in the Old City overnight

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

An Israeli policeman next to a burning barricade during clashes with Palestinians on Saturday night in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
An Israeli policeman next to a burning barricade during clashes with Palestinians on Saturday night in Jerusalem's Old City, May 8, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The Jewish Labour Movement has joined politicians and countries around the world in criticising the treatment of Palestinian worshippers on the Temple Mount over the weekend.

Over 300 Palestinians and dozens of Israeli police officers have been wounded in clashes in the compound around the al-Aqsa mosque and across Jerusalem’s Old City.

The scenes of violence were some of the worse seen the city for months, with tensions escalating since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

There was also growing anger ahead of a court hearing to hear the planned eviction of Palestinians from buildings in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Israeli settlers claim the land belongs to them.

Monday’s court hearing was suspended following an application by the Israeli government to delay it.

Israel also announced it would ban Jews from entering the Temple Mount on Monday ahead of a planned flag procession and march to mark Jerusalem Day.

In a statement over the weekend the JLM said it was “appalled by the brutality shown to Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.

“The tensions in Israel have been heightened due to the threatened evictions of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah.

“We are entirely opposed to efforts to expand settlements, demolish homes and evict Palestinians and will continue to work with all who promote peace, human rights, security and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said thoughts were with “those who have been injured and we pray that they should have a speedy recovery.

“We call on all concerned to de-escalate the situation and to refrain from inflammatory actions and rhetoric.

“The Holy City should be no place for extremism or violence, and should instead be a centre for peace and prayer. ”

The Labour MP Wayne David said the scenes of violence were “totally unacceptable”, adding: “The Israeli authorities must respect Places of Worship and abide by international law.”

The United States said it was extremely concerned by the uptick in violence over the weekend.

“There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price added.

“This includes Friday’s attack on Israeli soldiers and reciprocal ‘price tag’ attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which we condemn in no uncertain terms.”

Israel captured East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and subsequently annexed the whole city as its capital, but its claim is not internationally recognised.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state in Gaza and the West Bank.

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