Israeli-Palestinian Clashes At Jerusalem

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    Recently, the Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, leaving a reported 300 people injured.

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    • It came on a day Israel observes as Jerusalem Day, and marked the fourth day of clashes at one of the most revered and the most contested sites of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    Al-Aqsa mosque

    • Al-Aqsa translates from Arabic to English as “the Farthest Mosque”.
    • The mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam and sits on a sprawling plateau that is also home to the iconic golden Dome of the Rock. Muslims refer to the compound as the Noble Sanctuary.
    • The walled plateau is also the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of biblical temples. 
    • Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D., with only the Western Wall remaining. The mosques were built centuries later.
    • According to the Quran, it is believed that Prophet Muhammad travelled from Mecca to Al-Aqsa during the Night Journey, and then on to heaven.

    Significance of Al-Aqsa Mosque

    • Al-Aqsa is central to the rival claims over Jerusalem because both Israel and Palestine have declared it their capital.
    • In July 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the Jerusalem Law declaring it the country’s capital.
    • The Palestinians declared Jerusalem the capital of the putative state of Palestine by a law passed by the Palestinian Authority in 2000.
    • The 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence also declared Jerusalem as the capital.

    Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

    • Jerusalem has been the scene of violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs for 100 years and remains one of the most bitterly contested cities on earth.
    • The conflict traces its root to 1917 but the major conflict was after the Mideast War, 1967.It is also known as the six-day war or Third Arab-Israeli war.
    • Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the war. The Palestinians seek these territories for a future independent state. 
    • In the decades since, Israel has built settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that now house nearly 700,000 Israelis. Most of the international communities consider these settlements a violation of international law and obstacles to peace.
      • West Bank is located to the west of the Jordan River. It is a landlocked territory, bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the south, west, and north.
      • According to the Oslo Accords between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the 1990s, part of the West Bank came under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

    Gaza Strip

    • It is a small territory along the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Israel.
    • Palestine has staked claim to both the territories i.e. West Bank and Gaza Strip. But Israel’s objective has been to keep expanding Jewish settlements in these regions.

    Image Courtesy: Vox

    Source: IE