04/21/2022, 16.35
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Palestinian worried about escalation, as occupation remains unresolved

Fresh clashes broke out today in Jerusalem’s Old City between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, with at least 20 wounded and seven arrests. Israel carried out attacks in Gaza overnight in response to rocket fire. For Adel Misk, the situation is “getting worse”, fuelled by repeated “provocations”. Al-Aqsa is “a red line that no one can cross”.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Israeli-Palestinian tensions are escalating and now also involve both Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The situation “is getting worse” and is a source of “great concern,” said Adel Misk, a Palestinian neurologist and activist. Tensions are “fuelled by repeated provocations” by the Israeli government and settlers, who have repeatedly invaded the Al-Aqsa Compound.

“For us al-Aqsa is a red line that no one can cross, and we cannot tolerate the provocations,” he told AsiaNews.

In a statement, the Red Crescent said that about 20 were wounded this morning in clashes with Israeli security forces at the compound, mostly from tear gas, but one man was wounded by a rubber bullet, Palestinian media reported.

Meanwhile, police have arrested seven Palestinians in East Jerusalem for throwing a Molotov cocktail from the al-Aqsa mosque yesterday.

Adel Misk, spokesperson for The Parents Circle, an association that brings together about 250 Israelis and 250 Palestinians, family members of victims of the conflict, is concerned about what is happening since “last Friday's mosque attack, which everyone saw.”

For Misk, “Trampling on people who are praying, blocking access, beating people who are praying, women and children” means "not respecting any law, political or religious”.

This day “should be reserved for prayer, in the month of Ramadan”. Some “300,000 or 400,000 people usually participate,” but this year, “there were only about 30,000 and only from Jerusalem", mostly senior citizens because “access from the Territories was denied.”

The tensions have been aggravated by the flag march by which the Israeli government and the settlers want to "assert their supremacy" over the Holy City and beyond, “challenging, humiliating and trampling” every right.

Meanwhile, Israel hit central Gaza a couple of times overnight in response to a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip; at least four were intercepted by Israel’s anti-missile system.

Yesterday afternoon Israeli police blocked access to the Muslim quarter of the Old City, to avoid further clashes after tensions rose in recent days.

For more than a month, tensions have been building up in Israel and the West Bank, taking a turn for the worse with the approach of major Christian, Muslim and Jewish holidays (Ramadan, Easter and Passover).

The latest outbreak of violence is the worse since Gaza crisis of May 2021.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concern for the deteriorating situation in East Jerusalem and called on the parties to reduce tensions.

His appeal fell on deaf ears, with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz promising a “tough response” to terrorist activities. Hamas responded immediately: “We are still at the beginning of the battle,” it warned.

In an attempt to ease the tension, Jordan has called a regional emergency meeting that includes the United Arab Emirates, to discuss the situation.

Ultimately, “The occupation is at the root of the tensions,” Misk explained. It “blocks any possibility of peace, in an international context that seems to have forgotten the problem.”

At present, “the Palestinian question is unfortunately no longer talked about. The events of the last few weeks, the support of the West and the United States for Ukraine invaded by Russia are a source of further outrage.

"It is not envy but it is not clear why the Ukrainians have the right to defend themselves and we who have been under occupation” for decades “are defined as terrorists if we react. But in 22 days of Ramadan, 24 people have died.”

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