TEL AVIV—Militants in Gaza fired more than 30 rockets into Israel overnight, the worst flareup in months amid escalating nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem.
In response to the barrage, Israel struck Hamas military targets, including infrastructure and rocket launchers, Israel’s military said Saturday.
Two militant groups in Gaza, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Israel says it holds Gaza ruler Hamas responsible for any violence coming from the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel’s bombing of Hamas targets in Gaza as well as the recent clashes in Jerusalem are “part of its comprehensive aggressive policies against our people.” Hamas did claim the rocket fire but said “what the Palestinian resistance is doing in response to this aggression is within the framework of carrying out its national duty to protect and defend the interests of our people.”
No casualties were reported in either Israel or Gaza.
The rocket fire prompted Israel’s military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi to postpone a trip to Washington, where he intended next week to discuss Israel’s concerns with a potential U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal and Iranian activity in the region.
The barrage follows violent protests in Jerusalem, where Palestinians say Israeli police have tried to prevent nighttime gatherings in the amphitheatre-style space at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Tensions between Jews and Arabs have soared in Jerusalem, Jaffa and the West Bank. Videos circulating on social media of Palestinians attacking religious Jews have helped stoke the tensions. In response, Jews have attacked Palestinians in Jerusalem. On Thursday, right-wing Israeli activists marched near Damascus Gate, shouting “Death to Arabs” and other anti-Arab slogans.
Police worked to separate the demonstrators, with the right-wing Israeli demonstrators trying to breach roadblocks the police erected.
Late Friday the U.S. State Department condemned the violence in Jerusalem, before the Gaza barrage took place. “The rhetoric of extremist protesters chanting hateful and violent slogans must be firmly rejected. We call for calm and unity, and urge authorities to ensure the safety, security and rights of all in Jerusalem,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
On Saturday the United Nations said it was working to calm the violence in Jerusalem and Gaza.
Click here to read more.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Escalation over Jerusalem is how wars start – analysis
The recent string of events leading to greater clashes in Jerusalem and rocket fire from Gaza is part of the cycle that has led to conflicts in the past.
The recent Jerusalem escalation coincided with Ramadan and TikTok videos of Orthodox Jews being attacked. Numerous arrests were made, but that didn’t calm tensions. A massive far-right rally this past Thursday then led to further tensions, including early-Saturday morning rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
It is important to understand that this timeline of events is similar to how tensions grew in 2014 as well as other cycles of violence that led to tensions in Gaza and Jerusalem – for example the 2017 installation of temporary metal detectors in the Old City of Jerusalem.
However, there is a central difference.
The July 2017 events and the 2014 war began with terror attacks – specifically, a July 14, 2017 terror attack by a gunman on the Temple Mount, and the June 12, 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.
In both cases, Israel responded. In the 2014 incident, a right-wing march led to the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2, resulting in the Jerusalem clashes and riots.
The “gates of hell” comments from Hamas, which are rhetoric again being used by Palestinian factions, are often a prelude to rising attacks. Similar comments have been heard: On June 30, 2014, and in November 2012.
Click here to read more.
Source: Jerusalem Post
Clashes in Jerusalem continue amid ongoing tensions in the region as Israeli Prime Minister calls for ‘calm on all sides’
Israeli police and Palestinians clashed outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls overnight into Sunday as tensions flared during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for ‘calm on all sides’.
But the premier also warned that Israel remains ‘prepared for all scenarios’ after dozens of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, prompting Israeli retaliatory air strikes.
Thirty-six rockets were launched overnight Friday, the Israeli army said, the most in a single night this year, after Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas voiced support for the east Jerusalem protests.
Netanyahu made the remarks after attending an emergency security meeting with senior officials, including army chief Aviv Kohavi, hours after Israeli warplanes struck Gaza early Saturday and a second night of clashes between Palestinians and police in Jerusalem.
‘First of all we want to ensure that law and order are respected… now we demand compliance with the law and I call for calm on all sides,’ Netanyahu said in a statement after the security talks.
The clashes on Saturday evening were less severe than on previous days, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
Six Palestinians were injured, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
After Netanyahu’s comments, the Israeli army said it intercepted another rocket launched from the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.
There have been nightly disturbances since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on April 13, amid Palestinian anger over police blocking off access to the promenade around the walls of the Old City and a ban on gatherings.
Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail