Violence Erupts in Old City and West Bank
Another spate of violence has erupted between Israel and Palestine when series of clashes broke out across Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The tension started to escalate after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting last week just outside the Old City and Temple Mount. The incident forced the Israeli government to impose restrictions by implementing metal detectors at entrances to a key holy site in the Old City. But the Palestinians were not happy about it and launched deadly protests that resulted in the death of three Palestinians on Friday.
The tension rapidly rose again when a young Palestinian breached the security of the West Bank and stabbed three Israelis to death while they were having their dinner. The Palestinian was shot and arrested after the incident.
The violence did not stop there. Israel sent extra troops into the West Bank on Saturday and raided the home of the Palestinian attacker. The Israeli troops also detained one of his brothers and measured the house in preparation for demolition. The move has drawn opposition from the Palestinian side, thus triggering more protests.
Palestinians Not Happy With Installation of Metal Detectors
The implementation of metal detectors outside the Old City and Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary was not welcomed by Palestine. The area is one of the world’s most revered religious site by Christians, Jews and Muslims.
To show opposition for the new security measures, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday cut all contacts with Israel until the metal detectors are removed.
Abbas said, “I announce the freezing of contacts with Israel on all levels and the suspension of coordination until all the measures taken at al-Aqsa mosque have stopped.”
The Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary was closed after last Friday’s attack. However, the holy place was reopened Sunday for worshippers, visitors and tourists.
The Noble Sanctuary, prominently known as the Dome of the Rock, is Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmark. Both Muslims and Jews consider the site sacred. It is one of the holiest places for Jews to pray. The Dome of the Rock is a holy site for Muslims as well who believe it is the place where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
A Look Back in History
Israel and Palestine have a long history of conflicts and disagreements. Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, but annexed the city as its united capital in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future State.
Many nations, including the United States, consider the settlements that Israel has built in what it calls “occupied land” as illegal.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.