On Sunday, police granted permission to hold an annual Jewish parade through the Old City to mark Jerusalem Day – a national holiday commemorating Israel’s occupation of the area in 1967.
The march is usually a signal from ultra-nationalists that all of Jerusalem should be under Israeli control.
Retired General Amos Gilad criticizes the march in the Old City.
“The powder keg is burning and it could explode at any time,” Gilad told Israeli Army Radio.
According to Kan public radio, it has not been decided where the final part of the march will go.
Pope Francis used Sunday prayers from Saint Peter’s Square to ask the parties in Jerusalem to find a peaceful solution.
I pray that this is a place where people can meet and not fight, and a place of prayer and peace. The Pope said violence only leads to more violence.
The worst in several years
Violent clashes in Jerusalem It started earlier this weekAnd it took place on Sunday for the sixth consecutive day.
The unrest around the annexed shrines in the Old City of East Jerusalem is the worst in several years, according to the AP news agency. More than 300 people, most of them Palestinians, were injured.
Many clashes took place at the Damascus Gate, one of the entrances to the Old City, as well as in the square that the Muslims call the Haram al-Sharif and the Jews on the Temple Mount.
Here, police were hit by a shed of rocks and water bottles on Sunday. Police responded with water cannons and stun grenades, according to a police spokesman.
It spreads to other cities
Palestinian health officials said 121 Palestinians were injured on Sunday, many of them after being hit by rubber bullets and stun grenades.
The Israeli police say 17 of their officers were injured.
The unrest in Jerusalem also spread to other areas. Late Sunday night, Palestinian militants fired two rockets at Israel. The attack did not resolve the air strike alert in Ashkelon, but there were no reports of injuries.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli forces launched an air strike on a Hamas camp in the Gaza Strip, in response to another missile attack.
Children among the wounded
On Friday evening, Israeli forces stormed the Haram al-Sharif after Friday prayers, and at least 200 Palestinians and 18 Israeli policemen were injured in the rain showers that followed at night.
Twenty-nine children, the youngest of whom is one, have been injured in East Jerusalem in the past two days, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Eight children were arrested.
Police say the operations are security operations, but Palestinians view them as provocations threatening their religious freedom.
Postpones the crucial hearing
A long and heated real estate dispute helped escalate the level of conflict. On Monday, the Supreme Court was due to hear an attempt by Jewish settlers to seize Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, but the Justice Ministry postponed the trial.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli settlers have filed a lawsuit to claim ownership of the homes where four Palestinian families now live. The reason is that the property must be owned by the settler families before 1948.
The Palestinians believe that the Israeli authorities are trying to empty East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital, of the Palestinians and replace them with Israeli Jews.
Both Israelis and Palestinians are preparing for more unrest in the coming days. The Israeli police have beefed up their presence in the city, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will “firmly and responsibly implement law and order in Jerusalem.”
“We will continue to uphold the right to pray for all religions, but we will not allow violent disturbances,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said, “The right to demonstrate will be respected, but public unrest will be met with force and intolerance.”
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