Fresh clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out in Jerusalem on Saturday, injuring dozens. Protesters hurled stones at the police at Damascus Gate in the Old City, and officers responded with stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon.
The BBC, citing Palestinian medics, said 90 Palestinians were wounded. Israeli police said at least one officer was hurt.
Riot police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, where throngs of worshippers, including women and children, were praying on the last Friday of Ramadan.
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque complex is one of Islam's most revered sites, but its location is also the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount. The complex is a frequent flashpoint for violence, but Friday's was among the worst in years.
It follows days of simmering unrest over possible evictions of Palestinians from land claimed by Jewish settlers.
The incidents threaten the thaw in relations between Israel and some Arab states over the last year.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday denounced Israeli plans to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem amid soaring violence in the city.
“Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s plans and measures to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.
The UAE, which normalised relations with Israel last year, “strongly condemned” the planned evictions. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalifa Al-Marar, urged Israeli authorities to “assume their responsibilities – in line with international law – to provide necessary protection to Palestinian civilians’ right to practice their religion, and to prevent practices that violate the sanctity of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Oman also said it rejected the policies and procedures for displacing Palestinian people from their homes in the city of Jerusalem, and the sultanate reaffirmed “its steadfast position in supporting the legitimate rights to establish an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Envoys from the Middle East Quartet representing the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations issued a statement on Saturday saying they were closely monitoring the situation in East Jerusalem, including in the Old City and Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
The Envoys express deep concern over the daily clashes and violence in East Jerusalem, in particular last night’s confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount. We are alarmed by the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.
The Envoys noted with serious concern possible evictions of Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for generations in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and voice opposition to unilateral actions, which will only escalate the already tense environment.
We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days. We call on all sides to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement. In this context, the Quartet Envoys reiterated their commitment to a negotiated two state solution.