Israeli police crack down again on protesters outside the Old City where tens of thousands prayed at Al-Aqsa mosque.
The United States has expressed “serious concern” about violence in Jerusalem as Israeli police again cracked down on protesters rallying against the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The condemnation from Washington came as the Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 17 people, including one Palestinian paramedic, were wounded during peaceful demonstrations across East Jerusalem on Sunday evening.
Tensions have escalated in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger about potential forced expulsions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, on land claimed by Israeli settlers.
At least 90 Palestinians were wounded on Saturday during an Israeli police crackdown on protesters outside the Old City of Jerusalem, while another 200 Palestinians were injured on Friday when Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Sunday’s skirmishes – though less intense than those seen in recent days – raised the likelihood of a further escalation on Monday, when Israelis mark what they call Jerusalem Day – the day East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and later annexed by Israel.
This live blog is now closed. These were Sunday’s updates:
Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the prime minister of Iraq, has condemned Israel’s crackdown in East Jerusalem and said Palestinians have the right to stay in Sheikh Jarrah.
“Iraq denounces all the crimes against the Palestinian people and the prevention of the Muslim community to access their holy sites,” al-Kadhimi told Al Jazeera.
“The Palestinian neighbourhoods that historically belong to them and should be protected and defended.”
The Israeli military said its tanks struck several Hamas posts in Gaza after Palestinian groups fired four rockets and “explosive balloons” towards southern Israel.
The rockets set off air raid sirens in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, but there were no reports of injuries.
The Israeli military said one of the rockets was intercepted, while two others exploded inside Gaza.
Antonio Guterres called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly” in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a spokesman for the UN chief.
The Secretary-General also expressed his deep concern over the continuing violence in East Jerusalem, “as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
“He urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions.”
The United Nations Security Council is to meet on Monday for a private discussion on the tensions in East Jerusalem discuss privately the rising tensions in East Jerusalem around Al-Aqsa.
Diplomats said the briefing was requested by nearly two-thirds of the 15-member council – Tunisia, Ireland, China, Estonia, France, Norway, Niger, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Vietnam.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed “serious concerns” about the violence in Jerusalem in recent days in a phone call on Sunday with his Israeli counterpart, the White House said in a statement.
“Mr Sullivan also reiterated the United States’ serious concerns about the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” the White House said in a readout of the call between Sullivan and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.
“They agreed that the launching of rocket attacks and incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel is unacceptable and must be condemned,” the White House added.
The UN’s child rights agency (UNICEF) says at least 29 Palestinian children have been injured and eight were arrested in Israel’s crackdown on demonstrations in occupied East Jerusalem over the past two days.
“A one-year old toddler was among those injured. Some children were taken for treatment at hospitals with injuries in the head and the spine,” UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.
“UNICEF received reports that ambulances were restricted from arriving on location to assist and evacuate the injured and that an on-site clinic was reportedly hit and searched.”
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from East Jerusalem, said Israeli police had again deployed tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon on Palestinian protesters this evening at Damascus Gate – with a journalist injured in the leg by a fragment from a stun grenade.
He said Palestinians had thrown bottles and stones at Israeli police.
“But in terms of the sort of face-to-face, close quarters physical violence that we saw taking place on Saturday, there’s been less of that,” he said.
Fawcett said Jerusalem Day on Monday is expected to bring more tensions, with right-wing Israeli nationalists set to march, sing and wave flags in Palestinian neighbourhoods.
“If that takes place in the same way as in previous years, that would be another serious flashpoint.”
Israeli police arrested 15 people during a rally in Haifa in solidarity with Palestinians facing forced displacement from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, Israeli media outlets reported on Sunday.
Other protests were held on Sunday in Nazareth, as well as in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Mohammed el-Kurd, a Sheikh Jarrah resident whose family is facing forced eviction, told Al Jazeera from the protest in Nazareth that Palestinians in East Jerusalem “are under the constant threat of settler violence”.
“That’s what happens when you put settlers in a Palestinian neighbourhood; they abuse the Indigenous people,” he said.
Police crackdowns on protesters in Haifa after declaring a solidarity demonstration with #SheikhJarah illegal. At least 15 people were reportedly arrested including local activist and writer @Majdkayyal https://t.co/dYwdZUGzz9
— Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) May 9, 2021
At least 17 people, including one Palestinian paramedic, were injured during peaceful demonstrations across East Jerusalem on Sunday evening, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Al Jazeera’s Dareen Jubeh reported that a Red Crescent paramedic was shot by Israeli soldiers with a rubber-coated steel bullet on the Mount of Olives, a neighbourhood close to the Old City.
“[The] Israeli army attacked the Red Crescent ambulances with rubber bullets and sound grenades,” Jubeh also said.
Hundreds of Palestinian protesters took to the streets in another day of demonstrations against forced expulsions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
Below are a few images of the protests:
Pakistan’s prime minister has urged the international community to take immediate action to protect Palestinians in the wake of Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Strongly condemn Israeli Force’s attack, especially during Ramadan on Palestinians in Qibla-e- Awaal, Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating all norms of humanity and International law(s). We reiterate support for Palestinian people,” Imran Khan tweeted.
“[The] International community must take immediate action to protect Palestinians and their legitimate rights,” Khan said.
Israeli police have attacked dozens of protesters in Sheikh Jarrah, with one person injured, Al Jazeera correspondent Dareen Jubeh reported.
“There are dozens protesting, chanting in solidarity with the people in Sheikh Jarrah. At Iftar the Israeli army attacked Palestinians, using horse cavalry units,” Jubeh said.
— Marwa Fatafta #SaveSheikhJarrah (@marwasf) May 9, 2021
The situation at the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque was less tense on Sunday than it has been in previous days, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reported from occupied East Jerusalem.
“We have seen a few very young largely Palestinian children trying to demolish some of the barricades that the Israeli security forces have slapped on the roadway,” he said.
“That was the only time really that we’ve seen much an intervention from the security forces.
“They moved in and clear them away without firing the water cannon. We’ve had a couple of stun grenades in the distance, but certainly compared to the kind of actions that we saw on Saturday night, things [tensions] seem to be reduced.”
Sheikh Jarrah resident Mohammed el-Kurd said Israeli settlers invaded the roof of his home on Sunday, attacking it with stones.
“A soldier (another settler) came at one point and asked the settler to leave, saying ‘its all good,'” el-Kurd posted on Twitter.
— محمد الكرد (@m7mdkurd) May 9, 2021
American Muslim organisations on Sunday strongly condemned Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa mosque, which has left hundreds of Palestinians injured during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) said it denounced the nighttime attack and desecration of Al-Aqsa by Israeli forces and the firing of stun grenades at worshippers offering Ramadan prayers.
The organisation urged US President Joe Biden and Congress to halt its financial support for Israeli government and institutions in their “clear crimes against humanity”.
Very heavy police presence at the #SheikhJarrah protest at Downing Street.
CALLING ANY TRAINED LEGAL OBSERVERS – we need more people on the ground NOW.
Please DM me or @blkprotestlegal.
— Fatima Jichi (@f_jichi) May 9, 2021
*From Chicago to Jerusalem: Freedom for Palestine.🇵🇸✊🏻*
The Palestinian community in Chicago hold a vigil calling for an end to the Israeli forcible displacement of families in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied Jerusalem.
— Princess #SaveSheikhJarrah (@p2331992) May 9, 2021
— بيان محمود (@bayan_abutaema) May 9, 2021
Al Jazeera Arabic has reported scuffles breaking out between Israeli and Palestinian students protesting at the entrances of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Israeli security forces used sound and gas bombs to disperse the demonstrators.
Witnesses reported that the Israeli police carried out arrests among the students, and a number of protesters were hurt after being sprayed with tear gas.
כיכר הכניסה הראשית לאוניברסיטה.
לא יודע מי צילם. pic.twitter.com/lEVpvX3N3V
— نير حسون Nir Hasson ניר חסון (@nirhasson) May 9, 2021
Dozens of Palestinians are facing imminent dispossession from their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in what they say is a move to force them out and replace it entirely with a Jewish settlement.
The Jerusalem District Court ruled at least six families must vacate their homes in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday, despite living there for generations.
Read more here.
Israeli journalist and author Gideon Levy said Israeli policies towards Palestinians, like those threatened with forced expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah, can only be changed by outside pressure.
“Anyone who expects the Israelis to wake up one morning and think ‘this occupation is not nice, let’s put an end to it’ is living in an illusion because Israel never had the intention to put an end to the occupation,” Levy told Al Jazeera from Tel Aviv.
“The only way to change it would be by putting pressure from the outside. What was so efficient with apartheid South Africa might be efficient here. Nothing but this.”
A Sheikh Jarrah resident said Israeli settlers took over one section of his house in 2009 and are now not only looking to take over the other half but seven other homes in the neighbourhood, adding that such moves were “nothing new”.
“It’s an expansionist colonial policy that has taken place since the inception of Israel in 1948,” Mohammed el-Kurd told Al Jazeera.
A video of el-Kurd’s sister Mona confronting a settler in her garden went viral last week.
“What happened to my sister and everybody in the neighbourhood is continued confrontations with these Israeli settlers who agitate us not only by stealing our properties but by continuing to make the claim that they are going to continue to steal the land, all of the houses and the entirety of Jerusalem,” el-Kurd said.
This doesn't describe the Israeli occupier's logic only; it also describes the rudeness of those who support the Israeli colonial policies of expropriating the Palestinian occupied lands. pic.twitter.com/OSB0QejwCT
— Ramy Abdu| رامي عبده (@RamAbdu) May 1, 2021
Israel “firmly rejects” pressure not to build in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, following days of unrest and growing international condemnation of forced displacements of Palestinians from homes in the city claimed by illegal Jewish settlers.
Read more here.
Former Israeli Minister of Justice Yossi Beilin told Al Jazeera he hoped the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will “disappear politically” in the next few days, and that a new, more sensitive government will emerge.
Israel’s president tapped opposition leader Yair Lapid to form a new government earlier this week, after Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition.
“I really hope that the majorities on both [Israeli and Palestinian] sides, are reasonable – the last thing that they need is the Israeli police entering the Haram al-Sharif,” Beilin said, referring to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Maybe the new government in Israel will contribute to ending these idiotic confrontations which have gone on for thousands of years.”
Families in Sheikh Jarrah condemned the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court that delayed Monday’s hearings on forced expulsions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, while calling for more solidarity with the families on the ground, and also on social media.
In a statement sent to Al Jazeera, the families said they expected the delay. They said they will continue to need support and solidarity as the “occupation violence” against them will not stop.
Addressing a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly.”
“We will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all faiths, but we will not allow violent disturbances,” he said.
Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern over the violence in Jerusalem and invited all “to find shared solutions so that the multi-religious and multicultural identity of the Holy City is respected”.
“I pray that it be a place of encounter and not of clashes, a place of prayer and peace,” Francis told the public gathered in St Peter’s Square for his traditional Sunday noon remarks.
“Violence only generates violence. Enough of the clashes!” the pontiff added.
Israel’s justice ministry said it would delay a key Monday hearing in a case that could see Palestinian families forcefully expelled from their East Jerusalem homes to make way for illegal Jewish settlers.
“In all the circumstances and in light of the attorney general’s request, the regular hearing for tomorrow, May 10, 2021 [is] cancelled,” it said in a statement, adding it would schedule a new hearing within 30 days.
Dozens of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers have been wounded at protests in recent days in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Palestinian families are fighting for their right to stay in their homes.
Jordan urged Israel on Sunday to stop what it described as “barbaric” attacks on worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and said it would step up international pressure.
“What the Israeli police and special forces are doing, from violations against the mosque to attacks on worshippers, is barbaric [behaviour] that is rejected and condemned,” the government said in a statement.
Jordan, which has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, said Israel should respect worshippers and international law safeguarding Arab rights.
Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa and fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at protesters on Friday evening, injuring more than 200 Palestinians.