Israel “strongly rejects” pressure not to build in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said after days of unrest and growing international condemnation of planned forced evictions of Palestinians from city houses claimed by illegal Jewish settlers.
Netanyahu’s comments came on Sunday when the Israeli justice ministry said it was delaying a key hearing Monday on the case of Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
“In all circumstances and taking into account the request of the Attorney General, the periodic hearing tomorrow, May 10, 2021 [is] canceled, “he said in a statement, adding that he would schedule a new hearing in 30 days.
Tensions over Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood have sparked daily clashes in recent days.
Washington said Saturday it was “deeply concerned” and wanted “authorities to approach residents … with compassion and respect.”
East Jerusalem is among the territories the Palestinians are looking for for a future state. U.S.-sponsored state negotiations with Israel stalled in 2014. Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital, an unrecognized status abroad.
“We strongly reject the pressure not to build in Jerusalem. To my regret, this pressure has increased recently, “Netanyahu said during a televised speech ahead of national commemorations of the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
“I also say to the best of our friends: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and just as every nation builds its capital and builds its capital, we also have the right to build Jerusalem and to build Jerusalem. That’s what we’ve done and that’s what we will continue to do, ”Netanyahu said.
Palestinian doctors say at least 90 people were injured on Saturday after Israeli police repressed on Palestinian protesters outside the occupied old city of East Jerusalem.
The crackdown came when an estimated 90,000 Muslim worshipers prayed at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque on Islam’s holy night, Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of destiny, the holiest of prayers during the month. of Muslim fasting of Ramadan.
The violence came after Israeli forces he stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and wounded more than 200 Palestinians on Friday night. Israeli forces said 17 of their officers were injured in the past two days.
Netanyahu said Israel allows freedom of worship, but “we will not allow any extremist element to disturb the peace in Jerusalem … We will not allow violent riots.”
Israeli journalist and author Akiva Eldar told Al Jazeera, “We have no light at the end of the tunnel because there is no tunnel because there is no peace process.”
“East Jerusalem is occupied, it is not Israeli sovereignty in East Jerusalem, it has not been recognized by the international community, so we are sitting on a volcano.”
Separately, Israeli police on Sunday gave their approval to the celebration of the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims across the city.
About 30,000 Jewish settlers are expected to take part in a march to the Damascus gate in the old city on Monday.
Amos Gilad, a former senior military officer, told Army Radio that the parade should be canceled or diverted from the Damascus gate in the Old City, saying that “the gunpowder is burning and it can explode at any time “.
Israeli parade is often attended by Israeli nationalists and is widely perceived as provocative.
Pope Francis called for an end to violence in Jerusalem, saying he was following events there with concern and called on the parties to seek solutions in order to respect the multicultural identity of the holy city.
“Violence breeds violence, stop the clashes,” the pope told pilgrims who gathered Sunday in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square.