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Jerusalem Under Attack As Rockets Are Fired By Hamas
Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jerusalem came under attack on Monday, which is also Yom Yerushalayim Day in Israel, as Hamas launched rockets at the city.

Yom Yerushalyim celebrates the Jews taking Jerusalem back in the 1967 Six-Day War. It commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City, where the Temple Mount is located.

A fire broke out on the Temple Mount near the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount is the site of the two ancient Temples of Israel and the current site of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The fire was apparently started by fireworks.


Many different factors have been at play in Israel in recent weeks, including a canceled Palestinian Authority (PA) election. The PA was supposed to hold elections on May 22, but after it became clear to PA President Mahmoud Abbas that he would lose control to Hamas, elections were canceled. Abbas blamed Israel, saying, “We have decided to postpone the election until the participation of our people in Jerusalem is guaranteed.”

“Since the elections were announced, divisions within the Fatah party had emerged, there were dozens of tickets to vote for, and Hamas was likely to do well. So Abbas pulled the plug, blaming Israel for his decision on the ground that it would not permit voting in Jerusalem,” Elliott Abrams, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy, wrote on April 30. “This is an old ruse, useful whenever Fatah leaders decide to call an election off.”

Ghaith al-Omarim, the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, wrote in an article for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that Abbas had thought the elections would strengthen him but realized he could lose power. “Fatah…will be in deep political crisis,” al-Omarim wrote. “Abbas will inevitably be blamed for the cancellation, further eroding his already abysmal standing (68 percent of the public wants Abbas to resign). He will also face unprecedented challenges within Fatah. The call for elections exposed and operationalized long-simmering fissures within the movement, and those will not return to dormancy once the elections are canceled …”

The Associated Press, which noted that Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, reported: “The last elections, held in 2006 with international support and Israeli cooperation, saw Hamas win a landslide victory after campaigning as a scrappy underdog untainted by corruption. That sparked an internal crisis culminating in Hamas’ seizure of Gaza the following year, which confined Abbas’ authority to parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Hamas’ popularity has fallen in the years since, as conditions in Gaza have steadily deteriorated.”

Meanwhile in Sheikh Jarrah, which to Jews is known as the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood and lies in Jerusalem just north of the Old City, trouble has arisen. The tomb and its compound were purchased in 1876 and settled in 1891 as a Jewish neighborhood. “In 1936, the neighborhood was attacked by Arab rioters and later conquered by the Arab Legion in 1948, before being annexed to the kingdom of Jordan in 1950,” The Jerusalem Post noted. “The Jordanian conquerors allowed Arab families to occupy abandoned Jewish homes, in violation of the rights of the property owners.”

After Israel retook Jerusalem in 1967, the Jewish committee that had purchased the land began to resettle the area with Jews by showing deeds for the properties before Israeli courts. Last Thursday, a member of the Israeli Knesset, Itamar Ben Gvir, trying to protect the Jews in Sheik Jarrah, set up offices in Sheik Jarrah. A law prevents police from stopping him from going anywhere and makes them responsible for protecting him.

“Some 200 Palestinians and 17 police officers were injured Friday night after clashes broke out in East Jerusalem over a land dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” Israel 24 reported.

On Monday, Hamas issued an ultimatum for Israel to remove police from Jerusalem or they would fire rockets from Gaza.

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