Palestinians and Arab states condemn Israel’s escalation in Jerusalem during Ramadan
Palestine– Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority claim Israel is to blame for the escalation in Jerusalem, and they demand that any restrictions on Muslim worshipers visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound be lifted immediately.
On Monday, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Egypt condemned the recent escalation in Jerusalem and the West Bank, alleging that Israel is to blame for the deteriorating situation during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. “The lack of a political horizon, as well as ongoing Israeli escalation against Palestinians, including provocations such as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to the Damascus Gate, as well as police and military aggression, will result in an explosion not only in the Palestinian territories, but throughout the region,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, warned on Monday.
“All regional and international allegiances can’t leave Palestinians out of the equation,” Abu Rudeineh said, adding that ending the occupation and implementing international decisions will bring calm and order to the region. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry likewise published a statement condemning “provocative conduct in the Al-Aqsa complex” by Israeli fanatics. The ministry’s spokeswoman stated that the mosque is a Muslim-only place of worship and emphasized the need of ending any restrictions that prevent worshipers from visiting the sacred property in order to prevent additional bloodshed. “The raids by the radicals are in breach of the historical and legal status quo, as well as international law,” the spokeswoman stated.
Jordan’s condemnation came a day after Jordan’s King Abdullah spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the phone, encouraging him to do all possible to keep the peace throughout Ramadan and denouncing the recent spate of terror acts. Evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis, and tensions over police crowd-control barriers in and around the Old City overshadowed Ramadan last year in Jerusalem. The fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza in May 2021, as well as rioting in mixed Arab-Jewish towns, culminated these tensions. This year, Ramadan falls on the same day as the Passover festival, adding to the stress.
Bennett’s government faces new hurdles after eleven terror casualties in a week. There’s no reason to close off the West Bank during Ramadan, a top Israeli officer argues, and Jerusalem cops can’t be following Kahanist leader Ben-lead. Gvir’s Maj. Gen. Bar-Zvi stated on Monday that police feel that closing off the West Bank is unnecessary and that Palestinian laborers from the West Bank should be allowed to work in Israel.
While there were some clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem on Saturday and Sunday, police showed relative restraint compared to the same period last year by keeping a safe distance from the Damascus Gate and not erecting barriers on the surrounding stairs in an effort to de-escalate tensions. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry was the first to issue a statement on Sunday, criticizing what it called a “Israeli escalation” in the Palestinian territories in recent days, as well as ongoing infiltration into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israelis aided by police and continued injury to Palestinians.
This came after Jerusalem police granted far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir permission to visit the Temple Mount on Thursday, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located. He was barred from visiting the site, which is exclusively open to Jews accompanied by police officials, on the grounds that his presence might spark rioting. Tensions have been rising in Israel since a recent series of deadly terror incidents in which 11 people were killed, as well as the military’s continued raids and arrests in the West Bank. Four Palestinians were murdered in West Bank raids over the weekend, with Israel stating that three of them were on their way to carry out terror acts in Jenin and the fourth in Hebron hurled a firebomb at them.