Israel has authorized police to seal off the so-called Arab sectors of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in a move set to stoke the already-heightened tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The security cabinet decided several measures… notably authorizing police to seal off or impose a curfew on parts of Jerusalem in case of friction or incitement to violence,” read a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was released early Wednesday.
The occupied territories have been the scene of deadly tension between the Tel Aviv regime and Palestinians triggered by Israel’s August 26 imposition of sweeping restrictions on entries into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds and Israeli settlers’ repeated attacks on the mosque.
The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina. The site is also highly respected by Jews and Christians.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu addressed an emergency cabinet session he had called to address the flare-up of violence, saying, “Today, we will decide on a series of additional aggressive steps.” “We will use, and not hesitate to use, all means at our disposal to restore calm,” he said.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 25 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 3, with more than 1,300 having been injured.
The violence has involved Israeli settlers engaging in stabbing attacks against Palestinians, who retaliate with attacks of their own.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned Israel of another Intifada (uprising) over Tel Aviv’s provocations in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
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