May 21, 2021 - World

New confrontation at al-Aqsa Mosque hours after Gaza ceasefire

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

One day after the ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli police forcibly dispersed a protest at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount, the site of a previous police raid last Monday that Hamas cited in launching its initial rocket attacks.

Why it matters: Tensions in Jerusalem were a primary driver of the escalation in Gaza. Today’s clashes show those tensions are still high.

Driving the news: Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshipers attended the Friday prayer today.

  • The prayer ended with no unusual incidents, but after most of the worshipers left several hundred mostly young Palestinians began demonstrating with Palestinian flags. Some of them started throwing stones at the Israeli police, and some later threw Molotov cocktails.
  • The Israeli police sent reinforcements, fired stun grenades, and attempted to take the flags from the protesters. The confrontation lasted around an hour, per Reuters. Police did not enter the mosque, as they did in the previous raid.
  • According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 20 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes. Several Israeli policeman were reportedly also hurt.

What they're saying: The Jordanian foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the Israeli police response and called on Israel to de-escalate the situation in Jerusalem after the ceasefire in Gaza.

  • The Palestinian Authority also condemned Israel and called on the Israeli government to stop the "provocations" in Jerusalem that could undermine efforts to stabilize the ceasefire in Gaza.

What’s next: Tony Blinken is expected to arrive in Israel on Sunday night for his first visit as Secretary of State. Blinken is expected to visit the Palestinian Authority too and possibly Egypt and Jordan, Israeli officials said.

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