I have been instructed to once again draw your urgent attention to the critical situation and dangerously rising tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem due to the continuation of illegal actions, consisting of provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, including in particular by right-wing Israeli government officials, extremist settlers and religious zealots, against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places. Provocations and incitement have intensified in both frequency and aggressiveness in the recent weeks and continue to aggravate religious sensitivities and the fragile and volatile situation on the ground, threatening to precipitate a religious conflict and to plunge the region into further instability and violence.
For the second time in a week, Israeli occupying forces sealed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, preventing the entry of Palestinian worshippers. This provocative action set off another round of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli extremists, who continue to agitate at this Holy Site. In what can only be seen as a clear attempt to stoke already-high tensions, early this morning, a group of Israeli extremists, protected by more than 300 Israeli occupying forces, stormed the compound firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at Palestinian worshippers, causing serious injuries to at least 30 people, inflicting serious injuries on two of the worshippers. Moreover, it was reported that Israeli extremists entered Al-Aqsa mosque with their shoes on in a shameful sign of disrespect and with the purpose to infuriate Palestinian worshippers while eyewitnesses at the scene reported that occupying forces threw books of the Holy Quran on the floor. [Read more...]