Violence Around the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem eased late this week after Israel removed security infrastructure around the entrance, but earlier violence left four Palestinians and three Israelis dead, as Dennis J Bernstein reported.

By Dennis J Bernstein

Update: By the early hours of Thursday — after this interview — Israel had removed the metal detectors from Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Violence flared in East Jerusalem starting on July 21, as a result of Israel’s decision to put metal detectors at the entrance to the Palestinians most holy site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, along with the stationing of hundreds of Israeli security forces and police.

Palestinians protested all over occupied Palestine against the decision and at least four Palestinians and three Israelis have died as a result. The situation triggered international alarm and caused the United Nations Security Council to convene a meeting to explore ways to calm the tension.

Photograph taken by an Israeli sniper of the head of a Palestinian boy in the cross-hairs of a rifle scope.

I spoke to Ramzy Baroud, editor of the PalestineChronicle.com, about the situation on the ground last weekend and the continuing moves by Israeli occupation forces to seize more and more Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank.

Dennis Bernstein: What are your thoughts on the tense situation and the standoff in East Jerusalem?

Ramzy Baroud: Well, the situation on the ground is quite difficult right now. As you know, there was this gun battle a few days ago, which resulted in the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Haram Sharif compound, one of the holiest sites for Muslims everywhere. This is the first time we have seen such a closure since the time of the Crusades. So this is a huge deal for the Palestinians and many fear this is an indication of a much more extensive political plan to normalize the annexation of East Jerusalem.

We have seen tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers, mainly Muslim but also joined by their Christian brethren, prevented from entering the compound to pray. On July 21, Israeli [forces] installed metal detectors and, of course, the Palestinians are protesting this. The…

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