Hundreds of Palestinians were injured over the weekend as long-simmering tensions between Jews and Arabs boiled over in Jerusalem, leading to repeated clashes between Ramadan worshipers and police at one of the city’s holiest sites.
At least 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers were wounded Friday as clashes erupted at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the final Friday of Ramadan as large forces of police were deployed as tens of thousands came to worship. Police used violent crowd dispersal measures against worshipers, some of whom had hurled stones and other objects at Israeli forces. The violence continued on Saturday evening during subsequent skirmishes in the Old City and in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Recent weeks have seen increasingly violent clashes between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and the West Bank, driven in part by Palestinian anger over police restrictions on Ramadan gatherings near the Temple Mount and the pending eviction of several Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jewish settlers.
What follows is a detailed breakdown of the events which have led to the most recent round of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.
The current escalations can credibly be dated back to the beginning of Ramadan, when the Israel Police put up barriers preventing people from sitting in the Damascus Gate plaza, the most popular public area during the month of Ramadan.
For hundreds of young Palestinians who gather every evening on the streets surrounding the plaza, the Israeli move has become a symbol of humiliation and Israeli control over their Ramadan traditions and over Palestinian space in Jerusalem.
The decision led to days of clashes, which the police sought to quell through the use of water cannons, stun grenades and other riot control measures.