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Israel quells anti-settlement protests, injures at least 40 Palestinians

Palestinians run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest against Israeli outposts, in Beit Dajan, east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, April 14, 2023. (Photo by AFP

Israeli forces have attacked Palestinians protesting the regime’s settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

At least 40 Palestinians were injured in Beit Dajan near Nablus and the village of Kafr Qaddoum to the east of Qalqilia on Friday. The injured largely suffered asphyxiation by tear gas the regime troops used to disperse them.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported three Palestinians, including a child, were injured by rubber bullets in Kafr Qaddoum.

Al-Quds has been especially tense in recent weeks due to repeated assaults by Israeli forces on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site for Muslims. The regime forces stormed two of the gates to the mosque early Friday ahead of International Quds Day.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has censured Israel’s acts of aggression, including attempts to prevent Christian pilgrims from accessing the Church of Holy Sepulcher during Easter celebrations. “Israel, the occupying power, has no authority or sovereignty over Jerusalem and its holy sites. Its illegal practices, criminal behavior, and deliberate provocations must be confronted and halted,” said the ministry in a statement on Friday.

“Palestinian Christians, the oldest Christian community in the world, face an existential threat to its presence and longevity in the Holy Land because of such racist and oppressive policies and measures that deny their most basic right to freedom of worship.”

Recent assaults by the regime are meant to provoke religious sentiments in Palestine and the region, said the ministry.

Israel’s declared plan, the statement said, is clear: illegal and systematic Judaization of Jerusalem, by way of manipulating the status quo, displacing the Palestinian people, militarizing holy sites, and enacting discriminatory laws to restrict worshippers.

In this regard, the ministry said, Palestine supports the decision by the ‘Status Quo Committee of the Churches’ and religious leaders to reject Israel’s punitive and racist measures.

“We call on the international community to urgently provide protection for worshippers, and act individually and collectively to complement relevant United Nations resolutions and uphold the legal, historic, and special character of Jerusalem.”

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