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Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday
Photo: Reuters
Israeli riot police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound

Europe urges Israel, Palestinians to 'de-escalate' Jerusalem tensions

Spokesman for EU says 'perpetrators on all sides must be held accountable' after hundreds of people were wounded in clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Temple Mount; EU warns against further 'acts of incitement'

AFP |
Published: 05.08.21 , 14:52
The European Union on Saturday condemned violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian rioters at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound and urged authorities to quickly calm tensions.
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  • More than 205 people were wounded when Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound late Friday, capping a week of violence in the Holy City and the West Bank.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    Israeli riot police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "Violence and incitement are unacceptable and the perpetrators on all sides must be held accountable," a spokesman said in a statement. "The European Union calls on the authorities to act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions in Jerusalem."
    The statement added that "acts of incitement around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif must be avoided and the status quo has to be respected", using another term for the key religious site.
    It said "political, religious and community leaders on all sides should show restraint and responsibility and make every effort to calm down this volatile situation".
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday
    (Photo: Reuters)
    During the unrest on Friday evening and early Saturday, stones, bottles and fireworks were hurled at officers who fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at the crowds at Islam's third-holiest site, also revered by Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples.
    Police said officers had restored order because of the "rioting of thousands of worshippers" after evening prayers.
    Tensions in Jerusalem have soared in recent weeks as Palestinians have protested against Israel's restrictions on access to parts of the Old City during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and after authorities ordered several Palestinian families to leave their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.
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     Smoke coming out of the compound during clashes
     Smoke coming out of the compound during clashes
    Smoke coming out of the compound during clashes
    (Photo: AFP)
    The EU statement condemned the evictions as "illegal" and blamed them for increasing tensions.
    "The situation with regard to the evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and other areas of East Jerusalem is also of serious concern," it said. "Such actions are illegal under international humanitarian law and only serve to fuel tensions on the ground."
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