03/15/2010, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Israeli police on alert; Palestinians on strike

Joshua Lapide
Palestinians in Israel and Islamic groups move on Temple Mount, forbidden to men under 50 by Israeli police. Today there will also be the inauguration of the synagogue of Hurva, a further sign the Israeli expropriation of the city.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Israeli police announced today the continuation of a state of alert in East Jerusalem and the closure for the fourth consecutive day of the Esplanade of the Mosques to men under age 50. Meanwhile, the Palestinians of Jerusalem have called a strike for today after several violent clashes between groups of young Arabs and Israeli police last night.

Yesterday, some youths clashed with police in the area of Bab Hatta and Ras Al-Amoudi. The Israeli police fired rubber bullets and tear gas, while the young people launched stones.  

The Palestinians and Islamic groups have issued a statement asking all Israeli Palestinians and Palestinians of Jerusalem to go en mass today to the Temple Mount, occupying the site until tomorrow. Today there will be two-hour strike from 11 to 13.

The restrictions on the Esplanade and the closure of borders with the occupied territories have been in place since 11 March and were to have been lifted on the 13th. But the tension has grown increasingly since the Israeli government's decision to kick start construction of 1600 Israeli homes in the area of East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967.

According to the Palestinians the Israeli expropriation of land - illegal under international law - makes it impossible to make east Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Police fear that today there will be protests at the inauguration of the synagogue of Hurva also in the Jewish quarter of East Jerusalem. The synagogue destroyed in '48, was rebuilt after the Israeli occupation of the city. Its inauguration was seen as an affront and a further sign of the Israeli project to make Jerusalem the "eternal capital" of Israel excluding Palestinians from the city.

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