Ever since Israel stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound last week, there have been forces through Palestine against what they believe to be a violation of the sacred site. This has led to hundreds of Palestinians being injured through rubber bullets as well as arrests. In Gaza, Hamas and other armed groups fired rockets into Israel as retaliation. Gaza has been blockaded ever since Hamas took over following attempts to deprive them of their mandate in the 2006 Palestinian elections. This in turn led to Israeli airstrikes which have killed over 80 including children. These events have attracted a wide variety of reactions from all over the world.
According to Al Jazeera, “The attacks were carried out after Hamas fired several rockets at Israel, following the expiration of the group’s ultimatum demanding Israel stand down forces from the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Earlier on Monday tensions at the compound, the third holiest in Islam which is also revered by Jews escalated with more than 300 Palestinians wounded when Israeli police stormed the mosque, firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.
The UN Security Council held an urgent meeting on the unrest in Jerusalem, as world leaders urged the de-escalation of the tensions.”.
The immediate background of the events is that Israeli settlers have been in the process of displacing Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory by the majority of the world and a rightful part of a future Palestinian state.
According to Al Jazeera, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended this policy despite the tense situation in his country: “Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he intended to build in “all of Jerusalem”, calling it a “natural right in sovereign state”, according to a statement released by his office. “I am saying it clearly to our best friends, all of Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and will continue construction in it, in all its neighborhoods, just like any other nation-building and developing its capital,” he said. “This is a natural right in a sovereign state and we will not give it up and we will continue to practice it.”