"Unequal forces": Why Jerusalem is on fire once again?
As a result of the clashes between the Palestinians and the Israeli police in early May, about 300 people have already been injured. The cause of the conflict is the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the celebration of Al-Quds Day. Regional expert Israel Shamir believes that, although the truth is for the Arabs, unequal forces can hardly turn the tide in their favor, especially given the normalization of relations between the Gulf countries and Israel.
The coronavirus pandemic has frozen many wars in the Middle East. In Yemen, Libya, Syria, there have been no serious clashes for a long time. But quarantine does not apply to Palestine. After all, this is perhaps the most difficult and long-standing conflict in the region. Almost every year on Al-Quds Day (a day of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for independence), there are clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. One of the major events took place in 2018 - then, after the March of Return, 119 civilians in Gaza were killed, and another 13,300 were injured by bullets and gas.
The reason for the violence is the eviction of the Palestinians
The current tension began in East Jerusalem on May 7 in two places at once - at the holy Temple Mount for the Israelites and in the Sheikh Jarrah region. Unlike the conflict three years ago, this crisis is caused not only by the celebration of Al-Quds, but also by two other circumstances. First, an Israeli court ruled that several families in the Sheikh Jarrah area should be evicted. When the Israeli police began to implement this decision, Palestinian protests began. The second "wick" was the celebration by the Jews of the Day of Jerusalem - the anniversary of the transfer of a part of the city to Israel's control after the 1967 Six-Day War.
The coincidence of the march of the Israelis with the last day of Ramadan has heated the situation to the maximum. The Palestinians were particularly angered by the behavior of the Israeli police, which did not allow them to enter the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day and began shooting at parishioners of one of the main Muslim shrines, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israelis used flashbangs and tear gas, and 200 policemen began storming al-Aqsa courtyards and even indoor prayer halls, forcibly driving believers out of the mosque.
Who's to blame?
Israeli-Russian writer and publicist Israel Shamir holds Israel responsible for the violence.
"The Israelis are going to annoy the Palestinians and provoke their reaction. They are doing this to create a big conflict and so that Netanyahu can stay in power, as some say. Or the Jews already have a feeling that now they can do absolutely everything, including taking over Al -Aksu, build a third temple and the like. We cannot accurately assess what exactly the Israeli authorities mean. But at a minimum, they try to irritate and provoke a Palestinian reaction, which they succeed, "he said in an interview with Vestnik Caucasus ".
In such a situation, the Palestinians cannot help but react, Shamir said: “It is difficult for the Palestinians not to react when the Jews throw dozens of Palestinian families from Jerusalem areas into the streets as part of their program of this happens at the end of the month of Ramadan, when people are already very tired of long fasting. "
On May 10, street clashes with the police reached a new level. About 150 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Most of them fell on open ground or were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. Hamas's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigade, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group also reported its attacks on Israel. In the evening, the Israel Defense Forces began to retaliate against Hamas's military infrastructure. According to the IDF, the strikes hit two missile launchers, two military bases and a tunnel. In total, over three days of clashes, 300 people, mostly Palestinians, were injured.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks of the need for a tough reaction. His government will not allow radicals to undermine the peace in Jerusalem, he said. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Staye blamed Tel Aviv for what was happening: "I consider the Israeli government fully responsible for what the prayers in the holy Al-Aqsa were subjected to," said Staye. to evict people from Sheikh Jarrah, to evict the original owners of the land from their homes. "
Jordan, as the custodian of Muslim shrines in East Jerusalem, criticized the behavior of the Israeli security forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after talks with the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, promised to do everything possible to mobilize peace to stop Israel's "terror" against the Palestinians.
“Assessing Israel's attacks in Jerusalem as 'terror', I expressed (in a conversation with Palestinian leaders) the harshest condemnation of these dastardly attacks, which hurt the conscience of not only Muslims, but all of humanity. I stressed that we will do everything possible to mobilize the whole world, especially the Islamic one, to stop the Israeli terror and occupation, "Erdogan wrote in his telegram channel.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the skirmishes in Jerusalem with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Russia, along with other members of the Quartet of Middle East mediators - the US, EU and UN - expressed concern over the violence and called on the Palestinians and Israelis to show restraint.
On May 10, members of the UN Security Council discussed the escalation in East Jerusalem. At the time of the meeting, clashes were still ongoing there. UN Secretary General's spokesman Stefan Dujarrick said the organization "is following with greater concern the security situation, which threatens with further escalation, continued violence and loss of life" and "strongly condemns" the shelling of Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Despite the resistance of Palestine, it hardly has a serious chance in an unequal struggle, said Israel Shamir.
"It's hard to say what will happen next. Gaza fired 250 rockets at Israeli territory. But no one was hurt from them. Although they can set off fireworks, they cannot do real harm. At the same time, from one Israeli strike, allegedly in response, immediately dozens of Palestinians are dying. The forces are completely out of proportion. It is very difficult to come up with something in this situation, when other Arab countries, one after another, sign peace treaties with Israel and go to meet it in everything. "
On September 15, with the mediation of former US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdel Latif al-Zayani signed the Abraham Treaty to normalize relations. Morocco followed the example of the Gulf countries.
Although the new head of the White House is not as pro-Israel as Trump, Washington continues to support Israel. "Although there seems to be no Trump, and Trump was a more ardent Zionist than Biden, the current American authorities are still pro-Jewish, they still support Israel," Shamir added.
In 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US Embassy there. According to international law, the Middle East settlement should take place on the basis of the "two states" principle. East Jerusalem should become part of Palestine, and West Jerusalem should be part of Israel.