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Israeli security forces raid Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound

Israeli security forces raid Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 21, 2021. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

'Apartheid Doesn't Stop': Hours After Cease-Fire, Israeli Police Assault Palestinians at Al-Aqsa

"A cease-fire premised on Palestinians ceasing fire while Israel continues apartheid is a cease-fire with an inevitable expiration date," said one Palestinian rights advocate.

Jake Johnson

Just hours after a cease-fire agreement paused Israel's latest bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip, Israeli police forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday and fired stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas at Palestinian worshipers and demonstrators, an attack that observers worried could undermine the nascent truce.

"Back to 'normal'—Israeli forces repressing Palestinians. This is unacceptable."
—IfNotNow

Following Friday prayers, many Palestinians remained at the Jerusalem compound—one of Islam's holiest sites—to celebrate the cease-fire deal, which came after Israel killed more than 230 people in Gaza and displaced tens of thousands.

Reporting from the ground in Jerusalem, Al Jazeera's Imran Khan said that Palestinians "were singing and chanting when a contingent of the Israeli police [stationed] next to the compound came into the compound and started using crowd control measures that they use all the time."

"They started firing in that crowd in an effort to try and disperse them," Khan added.

The Israeli raid injured more than a dozen people, according to Middle East Eye.

"Israeli apartheid doesn't stop," the Institute for Middle East Understanding tweeted in response to the raid.

Palestinian rights advocates warned that Israeli forces' latest attack on demonstrators underscores the inherently fragile nature of a cease-fire agreement that does nothing to address Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian land, forced expulsions, and other abuses driving the frequent outbreaks of violence.

"A cease-fire premised on Palestinians ceasing fire while Israel continues apartheid is a cease-fire with an inevitable expiration date," tweeted Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst.

Israel's attack on worshipers at Al-Aqsa last Monday was what provoked Hamas to fire rockets from Gaza, to which the Israeli military responded with a vicious aerial and artillery campaign that further devastated the occupied strip—a deadly assault that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed as "an exceptional success."

"The bombs stopped but there's never a cease-fire," Alex Kane, a contributing writer for Jewish Currents, said Friday. "Israeli apartheid continues unleashing brutality."


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