Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem

Almost 178 Palestinians and six officers were wounded on Friday night clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site Al-Aqsa mosque and elsewhere in east Jerusalem. Palestinian medics said thousands of Palestinians faced many hundred Israeli Police in riot gear.

Tensions have soared in Jerusalem as Palestinians have protested against Israel’s restrictions on entering parts of Old City during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Many Palestinian families face eviction in a long-running legal case in that neighborhood, and authorities have ordered several Palestinian families to leave their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.

The Israeli Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Al-Aqsa Mosque amidst the growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.

The clashes erupted as Muslims crowded the Al-Aqsa compound to pray on the last Friday of Ramadan. Several of them stayed to protest against the evictions in the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israeli Police used water cannons mounted on armored vehicles to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered near the homes of families that are facing potential eviction.

Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service said that 88 injured Palestinians were taken to hospital after being hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.

Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are immensely Palestinian, but the neighborhood also consists of a site admired by religious Jews as the tomb of Simon the Just, an ancient high priest.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he “held the Israeli government responsible for the dangerous and sinful attacks in the holy city of Jerusalem” and called on the U.N. Security Council to conduct an urgent meeting on the issue.

International observers requested peace, with U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Vennesland tweeted his concern and requested all the parties to “respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace & stability.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman said that the evictions, “if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” on East Jerusalem territory it had captured and occupied, along with the West Bank, from Jordan in 1967.

“We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer,” spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday.

European Union, Jordan, and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council expressed alarm at the potential evictions.

Ayman Safadi, Jordanian Foreign Minister said that Jordan had given the Palestinian Authority documents which showed the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah were the “legitimate owners” of their homes.

Israel’s “provocative steps in captured Jerusalem and violation of the Palestinian rights, including the rights of the people of Sheikh Jarrah in their homes, is playing with fire,” Safadi tweeted in a foreign ministry statement.

Israel’s foreign ministry said Palestinians were “presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, to provoke violence in Jerusalem.” However, Palestinians rejected the allegation.

The Supreme Court of Israel would be holding a hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday, its the same day that Israel marks Jerusalem Day, the annual celebration of its occupation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.

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