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Behind the clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

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    World Affairs
  • Published
    11th May, 2021


Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound (the most revered and the most contested sites of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) in East Jerusalem, leaving a reported 300 people injured.

Why the recent clashes erupted?

  • The tensions came to a head before the annual May 10 Jerusalem Day processions by Jewish groups through the Old City of East Jerusalem, which mark the day the territory was captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
  • Israel annexed the territory later and incorporated it into West Jerusalem, captured earlier, in the 1947 war.

About the Al-Aqsa Mosque

  • Location: It is located on a plaza at Temple Mount, which is known as Haram-e-Sharif in Islam.
    • The Mount is also Judaism’s holiest site.
  • Important Features:
    • Dome of the Rock: It is the most imposing structure on the compound with its golden dome.
    • Western Wall: It is also known as the Wailing Wall sacred to Jews, is one side of the retaining wall of the Al-Aqsa compound.

Conflict over Al-Aqsa

  • Major conflict site: Al-Aqsa is central to the rival claims over Jerusalem.
  • Capital: Both Israel and Palestine have declared it their capital.
    • In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the Jerusalem Law that declared it the country’s capital.
    • Palestinians declared Jerusalem the capital of the putative state of Palestine by a law passed by the Palestinian Authority in 2000.
    • The 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence also declared Jerusalem as the capital.
  • Administration: After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel gave Jordan the administration and management of the Al-Aqsa compound.