As Hamas fires rocket after rocket into Israeli territory, Israelis along the border and in Jerusalem are taking cover amid escalations in the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah.
Israel experienced a sharp upsurge in terror attacks on Monday and Tuesday, with terror groups in the Gaza Strip firing over 250 rockets into Israeli territory and the IDF striking 130 terrorist targets in response.
The past week has seen hundreds of Palestinians, Israeli police officers and civilians injured. The dispute began with an Israeli District Court ruling on the eviction of four Palestinian families from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, known as Shimon Hatzadik in Hebrew, in favor of Jews who claim the land as their own.
The ruling sparked protests across Jerusalem that soon became violent, eventually spilling over into full-scale riots on the Temple Mount near the at al-Aqsa Mosque, culminating in the firing of at least 300 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Friday – with seven of them aimed at Israel’s capital Jerusalem – and the IDF carrying out a wave of airstrikes targeting terror targets across the Hamas-controlled strip in response.
The U.S. has condemned the rocket attacks against Israel as Middle Eastern states rallied in support of Palestinians. Hours after Hamas militants fired over 50 rockets into Israel, the White House said it has “serious concerns” about escalating tensions.
Palestine’s Health Ministry said at least 21 Palestinians were killed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Representative Ilhan Omar said the remarks of deputy mayors in Jerusalem in relation to protests against the potential evictions of Palestinian families are a description of “ethnic cleansing.” Amnesty International accused Israel of a “chilling” response to the protests in a new statement.
The European Union had on Friday warned that “Gaza and Israel are dangerously close” to a new conflict after a flare-up of violence in recent days, the European Union warned that an urgent “de-escalation” was needed to keep civilians from further risk.
“The rocket fire from Gaza towards communities in southern Israel as well as other violent actions and provocations against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian militants are totally unacceptable,” an EU foreign affairs spokesperson added in a statement.
The EU statement added: “While having the right to defend itself, Israel is expected to continue to exercise restraint and do everything to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza. The death of a pregnant Palestinian mother and her child in this latest escalation is a tragic loss.
“The European Union reiterates its full support to the efforts by Egypt and the UN to reduce tensions and to alleviate the situation in Gaza, including by enhancing the international response to the current crisis and easing movement and access.”