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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.

Go deeper

Updated May 20, 2021 - World

Israel and Hamas approve ceasefire in Gaza

The aftermath. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Tel Aviv — President Biden welcomed the imminent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after eleven days of fighting in a White House statement on Thursday.

The state of play: Israel's Security Cabinet voted earlier Thursday evening to approve the ceasefire, which is set to go into effect at 2am local time (7pm ET). Hamas also backed the ceasefire, but the sides have issued sharply contrasting messages about its terms.

May 20, 2021 - World

U.S. backing on Gaza won't last much longer, Blinken tells Israeli counterpart

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Getty Images

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday that Israel needs another few days to complete its Gaza operation, but Blinken stressed that the U.S. expects the operation to end soon, an Israeli official tells Axios

What they're saying: In their call, Blinken told Ashkenazi the U.S. was blocking a French initiative at the UN Security Council on Gaza but cannot keep backing Israel publicly and diplomatically, mainly at the UN, for much longer, Israeli officials say.

May 20, 2021 - World

Netanyahu convenes Israeli Cabinet to discuss potential Gaza ceasefire

Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting in 2019. Photo: Gali Tibbon/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene Israel's Security Cabinet at 7pm local time (12pm ET) on Thursday to discuss the military operation in Gaza and the possibility of a ceasefire.

Why it matters: Any ceasefire would require the approval of the Security Cabinet, and senior Israeli officials expect an agreement by this weekend.

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