BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY
Israeli bombings on the Gaza Strip have killed at least 21 people including 16 Palestinians. Among the diseased was a 32-year-old Indian caregiver, Soumya Santosh. Israel launched the airstrikes in revenge for missile assaults by the Palestinian rebel group Hamas. After Israeli troops raided the Al Aqsa mosque, the conflict erupted, with both Palestinians and Israelis attacking each other. On Jerusalem Day, which commemorates Israel’s 1967 conquest of East Jerusalem, both sides traded airstrikes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the country from Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening as both sides exchanged airstrikes, adding, “We are in the middle of a major operation.” On May 10, Israeli troops raided the Al Aqsa mosque complex in East Jerusalem, igniting the conflict. Both the Palestinian and Israeli sides have targeted each other since the Al Aqsa mosque incident. Around 3 a.m. local time, sirens could be heard warning of an imminent threat.
What happened at Al Aqsa mosque?
As Muslim worshippers were praying, Israeli troops stormed the mosque. The videos of the event have surfaced online, showing worshippers tossing tables, shoes, and rocks at Israeli police. The Palestinian worshippers at the mosque were targeted by Israeli police who used rubber bullets and stun grenades. According to sources, the clashes injured over 330 Palestinians and six Israeli police officers. In recent weeks, tensions have risen in Jerusalem, which is claimed by both Israel and Palestine.
Israeli forces blocked the iconic gathering places of Palestinians at Jerusalem ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. After two weeks of fighting between Palestine and Israel, the sanctions were lifted. When Israel threatened to evacuate scores of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the clashes resumed.
Why Israel and Palestine are at war over Jerusalem?
The Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem is considered the third holiest site in Islam. The Temple Mount, the holiest spot of Judaism, is also located near the mosque. Jordan is the custodian of the Waqf, which is administered by Jordan. For decades, the site has served as a reminder of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was the epicenter of the Palestinian intifada, or revolt, in 2000. During the 1967 Middle East conflict, Israel took control of east Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and considers it to be its capital. Palestinians consider East Jerusalem to be their capital since it contains significant Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites.
Many Jews have visited the site to pray, according to some Israelis who believe the site should be accessible to all worshippers. The repeated visits and attempted prayers by Jews are seen by Palestinians as a provocation that leads to frequent clashes. Palestinians are concerned that Israel will either gain control of the site or divide it. Israeli leaders, on the other hand, insist they have no plans to change the status quo.