During the holy month of Ramadan this year, tensions are running high in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Analysts say residents of the Gaza Strip are fearing another war, similar to last year’s Ramadan.
Majen Jabari, a Jerusalem-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the current situation is such that it is suitable for a major explosion.
Last year, protests erupted over the eviction of Palestinian families living in Jerusalem. The Palestinian protests spread throughout Israel and Palestine.
Just last year, Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and escalated tensions between the two sides. Four days after the operation, Israel carried out 11 days of ground and air strikes on Gaza. Hundreds of people were killed in the attack. A large part of those killed were children. Many buildings, including homes in Gaza, were destroyed in the attack. Hospitals and educational institutions were not left out. Israel says it has just launched an operation in Gaza in response to Hamas rocket fire.
Several incidents since the clashes last Ramadan have raised the possibility of another Palestinian war with Israel. Mazen Jabari said that this year’s conflict is not just about starting from Jerusalem; It can start from different angles. For example, there could be widespread clashes in Jenin (West Bank city). Because Israel is planning to take revenge on that city. They can talk about launching an operation against the armed groups there.
Attacks or “armed operations” by angry Palestinians inside Israel have increased since March 22. 14 people were killed in these incidents. Among them are three Israeli police officers.
On the other hand, 36 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since January. This was stated by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Two were killed last Thursday in Jenin. At that time, the Palestinians attacked the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Beni Barek. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces killed a 14-year-old boy and a lawyer in the West Bank.
The threat of a major Israeli attack on Jenin’s refugee camp is growing. Because members of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Fatah movement are active there.
The beginning of the conflict is also coming from the side of PIJ. On April 10, a spokesman for the group warned that if Israeli forces continued to attack Jenin’s refugee camp, a final response would be forthcoming.
Hazem Qasim, a spokesman for Hamas, a pro-independence Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, said there was a possibility of fighting again where the situation was heading. He said Hamas would not sit idly by if Israeli illegal settlers continued to show their intolerance towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Qasim also said that Hamas supports the Palestinian militant group in Jenin. “It simply came to our notice then. We will not allow our people to be harmed.
Meanwhile, Hamas on Thursday called on Palestinians to unite in order to prevent Israeli forces from entering the West Bank and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Al-Aqsa attacks amid fears
Clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Friday (April 15th). At least 152 Palestinians were injured in the attack. Police have also detained hundreds of Palestinians. Earlier, Israeli extremists entered al-Aqsa compound despite restrictions.
The renewed escalation of tensions came with an announcement by Israeli settlers. In the announcement, the settlers said that they would celebrate their annual big festival ‘Passover’ on April 15 (Friday) at Al-Aqsa premises. Many Palestinians see the announcement as an attempt to provoke a sensitive atmosphere in the holy site.
Nasser al-Hidami, a Jerusalem-based political analyst, said there had been no such Jewish celebration at the Al-Aqsa compound since ancient times. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the festival would not be held at the Al-Aqsa compound.
The Aqsa Mosque or Baitul Muqaddas is the third holiest place for Muslims around the world. And to the Jews it is known as Temple Mount. They also consider it as one of their holy places.
Israeli police say a group of protesters hurled stones at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday. They entered there to disperse them. 300 people were detained. But Palestinian sources say more than 400 Palestinians have been detained.
Witnesses say members of the Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets at Palestinian protesters. Protesters also hurled stones at Israeli forces.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said most of the wounded had been taken to hospital, adding that al-Aqsa had been shot in the eye by a security guard. Israeli forces also barred ambulances and paramedics from entering the mosque compound. It is difficult to rescue the injured.
Israeli police say they broke into a mosque to disperse a “violent” crowd of Palestinians after Friday’s Fajr prayers.
However, an eyewitness, a Palestinian photographer, said Israeli forces had launched a “brutal operation” and evacuated the mosque compound. They attacked mosque workers, ordinary people, young people and even the elderly. Throw rubber bullets. Beaten up. Many were injured. Police did not even release the doctors. An Al Jazeera reporter from the scene also said that the police attacked the mosque premises without any excuse.