Israel bans Palestinian entry to the Old City
Monday 6th Oct
Tensions are at breaking point in Jerusalem and across the West Bank as Israel imposed a 48 hour ban on Palestinians entering the Old City following the fatal stabbing of two Israelis and the wounding of several others on Saturday.
Violent attacks between Israeli settlers, IDF soldiers and Palestinians have been rising in the last two weeks, sparked by Israel’s closure of the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa compound to Palestinian worshippers. Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement of concern saying;
We are deeply alarmed by the escalated level of collective punishment being imposed on Palestinians by both settlers and the Israeli Army. In the last 24 hours, the IDF has used live fire in Jenin and elsewhere in the West Bank, wounding over 100 Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has declared a state of emergency after their staff and ambulances were attacked 14 times in the last 72 hours.
On Tuesday Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas warned of the “risk of an intifada” if clashes over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound continue. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israeli security services would increase assaults on Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem in order to stop them uprising. In a statement he said;
“We are waging a war to the death against Palestinian terrorism. I have ordered a series of additional steps in order to prevent terror and to deter and punish the attackers.”
This ‘deterrent’ included the extension of administrative detention for Palestinian detainees, reinforcing the existence Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, while banning Palestinians from entering Jerusalem’s Old City reports Middle East Monitor.
Israel has continued to entrench it’s occupation at this tense time in what could be seen as provocative ways, including annexing a church compound in the Hebron area, which settlers claim they have previously purchased. Palestinians fear that the annexation of the church compound and subsequent settlement expansion would disconnect Jerusalem-Hebron road and “divide the West Bank into small cantons in order to eliminate the remaining possibility for establishing a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.”
Israel also agreed to legalize five West Bank outposts containing violent settlers. A report from Mondoweiss states that “Israel intends to authorize a bloc of five West Bank outposts east of Shilo that covers six square kilometers and includes hundreds of illegal structures. The state submitted the announcement to the High Court of Justice in response a petition filed last year by the human rights group Yesh Din and the owners of the lands in question. The petition calls for immediate evacuation of the Adei Ad outpost because it was built without any building permits on private lands, and because outpost residents have been involved in violent acts threatening local security.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian news agency Safa said that 400 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces and one killed in the occupied West Bank over the past 24 hours.
Additionally, 160 Palestinians were wounded and 18 arrested by Israeli forces in occupied Jerusalem.