Jerusalem: Police clash with protesters at Damascus Gate
Demonstrators at Damascus Gate were targeted, roughly half a mile from Temple Mount where last Monday’s clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque – which is Islam’s third holiest site – triggered a barrage of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas in Gaza. A water cannon was also deployed, and mounting police were on the scene, which Palestinians ran from flash grenades aimed at dispersing the angry crowds.
Separately, two Israeli Defence Forces soldiers were shot and injured around ten miles north, close to the West Bank settlement of Beit El as another angry mob rioted near the entrance to the nearby city of Ramallah. Both received leg wounds.
Israel bombarded Gaza with air strikes and Palestinian militants resumed cross-border rocket fire today after a brief overnight lull during which the UN sent a small fuel convoy into the enclave, where it says 52,000 people are now displaced.
Israeli leaders said they would press on, for now, with an offensive to destroy the capabilities of the armed factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad, amid calls by the United States and other world powers for an end to the conflict.
Two Thai workers were killed and seven people were wounded in a rocket strike on an Israeli farm just over the Gaza border, police said. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Tear gas has been fired by Israeli defence forces at Palestinian protesters
Israel-Gaza: Air strike destroys building in Gaza City
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in a video statement, blaming Hamas for the worst escalation in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in years, warned: “The fighting will not cease until we bring total and long-term quiet.”
Hamas began firing rockets eight days ago in retaliation for what it said were Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem. Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Israel’s 21 percent Arab minority staged a general strike on Tuesday in solidarity.
Diaa Rabaya’a, 23, said at Damascus Gate between East Jerusalem and the Old city, said: “It allows the other side, the Jews, to realise the big impact of the Arabs.
“Any day they choose not to work, it almost disables the country.”
Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target a governmental building
Gaza medical officials say 213 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children and 36 women, and more than 1,400 wounded. Israeli authorities say 12 people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
Nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza strip have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary care health centres, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.
Some 47,000 of the 52,000 displaced had fled to U.N. schools.
Israel said more than 3,450 rockets have been launched at it from Gaza, some falling short and others shot down by its Iron Dome air defences. On Tuesday, the army said a soldier was slightly injured when a shell was fired after it allowed the fuel convoy into Gaza. It says its forces have killed around 130 Hamas fighters and another 30 from Islamic Jihad.
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli troops at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus city
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Ramadan clashes between police and worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and a court case by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem have caused anger among Palestinians.
General strikes were held Tuesday in East Jerusalem, Arab towns within Israel and in the West Bank cities, with posts on social media bearing a Palestinian flag and urging solidarity “from the sea to the river”.
Palestinian businesses across East Jerusalem were shuttered, including in the walled Old City, and in the mixed Jewish-Arab port city of Haifa in northern Israel, protest organiser Raja Zaatar told Reuters the strike had closed 90 percent of businesses in Arab neighbourhoods.
Ra’afat al-Saman, a business owner in East Jerusalem’s Salahaddin street, named after the Muslim conqueror who seized Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, said he supported the strike.
He said: “This is the least we could do for our own people. We stand in solidarity with Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah, al-Aqsa and against the violations.”
Yuval Steinitz, an Israeli cabinet minister from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, deplored the strike as “another blow to the delicate fabric of relations and cooperation between Jews and Arabs”.
The Israeli military’s chief spokesman, Brigadier-General Hidai Zilberman, said it was continuing to act in Gaza.
He told Army Radio: “The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is not talking about a ceasefire. We’re focussed on the firing.”
(More to follow)