International condemnation of Israel grows over Jerusalem violence, evictions

Israel faced growing international condemnation Sunday over the ongoing violence in Jerusalem, amid repeated clashes between police and Palestinian worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as over the expected eviction of Palestinian families in the city’s east

In recent days, dozens of Palestinians have been wounded in clashes near the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount compound. The site is considered the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It has been a tinderbox for serious violence in the past.

The Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministries both summoned Israel’s envoys on Sunday to lodge protests over the Temple Mount unrest.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who acts as custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, condemned what he called “Israeli violations and escalating practices” and urged Israel to halt its “provocations against Jerusalemites.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that its charge d’affairs in Amman was summoned for a dressing down over “events in Jerusalem.”

It said Sammy Abu Ghanab told Jordan that Israel is protecting freedom of religion for all religions, and is seeking to prevent harm to Jews ability to pray at the Western Wall, Kan news reported, referring to police actions on the Temple Mount Friday meant to keep stones from being thrown at Jewish worshipers below.

The four Arab nations who normalized ties with Israel last year under the Abraham Accords — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — also condemned the Jewish state over the weekend clashes.

Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, on May 7, 2021 (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The Middle East quartet of envoys from the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations, and Pope Francis, have all called for calm.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was following the events in Jerusalem with worry and called for an end to the clashes.

“Violence only generates violence,” he told the public gathered at St. Peter’s Square.

Amid growing international calls for de-escalation, Tunisia said the UN Security Council was to hold a closed-door meeting Monday, at its request, on the violence.

Monday’s session was unlikely to result in any type of resolution or joint statement, diplomats told The Times of Israel, noting that the council’s members have entrenched and often opposing views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that make consensus-building difficult.

Ahead of the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for Israel to “cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law” and exercise “maximum restraint” in dealing with protests.

Israel’s main ally on the council, the US, also again expressed its “serious concerns.”

Washington made its concerns during a phone call between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Israeli policemen clash with demonstrators protesting a possible eviction of local Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, on May 8, 2021. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Sullivan expressed Washington’s “serious concerns about the situation in Jerusalem, including violent confrontations at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount during the last days of Ramadan,” according to a White House readout.

Without giving details, Sullivan noted recent engagement by senior US officials with Israeli and Palestinian counterparts along with key regional stakeholders in an effort to restore calm, the readout said.

Sullivan “also reiterated the United States’ serious concerns about the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” the statement said.

This week has also seen fierce clashes between Israel forces and Palestinian demonstrators in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood which has emerged as a flashpoint due to the pending eviction of several dozen Palestinian residents in favor of right-wing Jewish nationalists.

Meanwhile, demonstrations in support of Jerusalem Palestinians have taken place in several cities outside of Israel, including Ramallah, London, Istanbul and Berlin.

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