The British government fell short of condemning the violent attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque and Palestinian worshippers, instead calling on both sides to de-escalate.
In a brief statement James Cleverly, minister for the Middle East and North Africa, called for an end to the violence and urged both sides to cease confrontation.
“The UK appeals for calm, and calls for an end to the violence witnessed in Jerusalem over recent days. All sides need to de-escalate tensions in the final days of Ramadan,” Cleverly said in a statement.
The government’s statement stands in stark contrast to those of opposition parties and groups who have been explicit in their condemnation of Israel’s attacks against Palestinians as well as its plans to evict Palestinian residents from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
On Monday Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said the violence against worshippers in the last days of Ramadan was “unacceptable” and called for Islam’s third holiest site to be respected. She urged Israeli authorities to respect international law and end attempts at taking over Palestinian land.
“I am deeply concerned by the violent scenes in Jerusalem. The forced evictions in East Jerusalem must stop. Israel must respect international law and end the attempts by Israeli settlers to take control of Palestinian homes,” Nandy said.
“It was totally unacceptable to see violence used against worshippers gathering during Ramadan at the al-Aqsa mosque. It is essential that holy sites are respected. The Israeli authorities must take steps to defuse the growing tensions in the city,” she added.
The Jewish Labour Movement, representing the community of Jews in the Labour Party, said it was “appalled” by the brutality of Israeli forces shown towards Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque in the month of Ramadan and that it was opposed to efforts at expanding illegal settlements and demolishing Palestinian neighborhoods.
“The tensions have been heightened due to the threatened evictions of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah. We are entirely opposed to efforts to expand settlements, demolish homes and evict Palestinians,” the group said.
The European Muslim Forum said on Monday that it was “unacceptable to treat the house of God as a paramilitary facility that has been plundered by all the troops of a state,” and condemned the “inhumane practice of the occupation.”
Last week, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon condemned Israel’s violent attacks on Palestinians as well as on the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of Rock.
Sturgeon described the attack during the month of Ramadan as “utterly indefensible” and called on Israel to respect international law and end its violence and evictions against Palestinians.
Heavily armed Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound again on Monday morning, firing rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at Palestinian worshippers, wounding hundreds of them.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
Source: Anadolu Agency