Netanyahu announces retaliation: Fire on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Netanyahu announces retaliation
Fire on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The violence in Jerusalem escalates: rockets are fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli army strikes back. In the evening a fire breaks out on the Temple Mount near the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel’s prime minister is preparing his compatriots for a longer conflict.

A fire broke out on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the evening after new clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. The Israeli police said it was apparently caused by fireworks. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Twitter of the irresponsible behavior of Palestinian protesters. A video showed a large tree going up in flames. The fire could also be seen from the Western Wall, where numerous Israelis continued to celebrate Jerusalem Day.

On the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s old town there was another serious clash in the morning. In front of the Al-Aqsa mosque, police used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets at stone-throwing Palestinians. Palestinian rescue workers spoke of more than 300 injured. According to police, almost two dozen officers were injured. The ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip said the rocket attacks on Israel were a reaction to the incidents in Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque is of outstanding importance for both Jews and Muslims. It is the third holiest site in Islam. At the same time, there used to be two Jewish temples, the last of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70. The Western Wall is a remnant of that ruined temple and the holiest place for the Jews.

Rockets were fired at the city from the Gaza Strip in the evening. According to the army, one of them hit a suburb of Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened the militant Palestinian organizations with a tough reaction. “The terrorist organizations in Gaza crossed a red line on the evening of Jerusalem Day and attacked us with rockets in the suburbs of Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu during a speech in Jerusalem. “Israel will respond with great power,” said Netanyahu. “We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens and soldiers. Anyone who attacks us will pay a high price.” Israeli citizens must be prepared for the current conflict to last longer, he said.

Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus spoke of an “unabashed attack” that will not go unanswered. More than 45 missiles were said to have been fired in the area around the coastal area alone. Six rockets would have targeted Jerusalem. One reportedly hit a civilian house in the suburbs and one was intercepted. The others went down in open terrain. An anti-tank weapon was fired from the Gaza Strip at civilian vehicles, added Conricus. A civilian was injured. Several Palestinian terrorist organizations were involved in the attacks. In the evening, the poor of Israel reported the deaths of three activists of the Islamist ruling Hamas after retaliatory attacks. The authorities in Gaza said nine dead, including children.

The spokesman did not comment on the possible duration of the army deployment. It is Israel’s intention to hold Hamas accountable for the attacks and deal a severe blow to it. How long this will take remains to be seen. According to media reports, the security cabinet approved massive air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip.

Emergency meeting in the UN Security Council

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the escalation of violence in Jerusalem. The council members were initially unable to agree on a joint declaration. According to a diplomat, the US said it would go “behind the scenes” to try to calm the situation. Washington therefore expressed doubts as to whether a public message would be helpful at this point in time.

According to diplomats, discussions in the Security Council on a draft text submitted jointly by Norway, Tunisia and China continued. The original version contains the call to Israel to refrain from settlement activities, the demolition of houses and evictions in, among other places, East Jerusalem. According to diplomats, the text could be weakened.