By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Clashes have erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security hours, including in Jerusalem injuring more than a dozen people just hours after a ceasefire was supposed to come into effect.
Israeli police and Palestinian protesters also clashed in locations across the West Bank on Friday in the aftermath of the ceasefire. There were confrontations reported in towns and cities, including Hebron, Nablus, and Bethlehem.
Friday’s fighting around the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem injured some 20 Palestinians, medics said. The number of injuries among security forces wasn’t immediately clear.
There were conflicting reports about what sparked the violence at the site, revered by both Muslims and Jews. The violence began when Muslim worshipers, after their Friday prayers, stayed and celebrated the ceasefire ending the 11-day conflict between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Palestinians said Israeli police “raided the courtyards and started firing rubber-coated rounds and tear-gas at the worshippers.” There was no immediate response to the allegations from the Israeli government.
Palestinians also rallied by the thousands Friday to celebrate the cease-fire that took effect in the latest Gaza war. Many claimed it was a costly but clear victory for the Islamic militant group Hamas who had fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to respond with a “new level of force” to further hostilities.
He warned that “If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong.” He said his nation would respond with “a new level of force” against aggression anywhere in Israel.
He said Israeli strikes killed more than 200 militants, including 25 senior commanders, and hit more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) of militant tunnels. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group have only acknowledged 20 fighters were killed.
The Gaza Health Ministry says at least 243 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children, with 1,910 people wounded. It does not differentiate between fighters and civilians. At least 12 people were killed in Israel, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, authorities say.
The ceasefire was brokered by Egypt, which will send delegations to monitor the shaky truce.
Hamas said it had received guarantees of an end to the “Israeli aggression” in East Jerusalem, which it claimed helped trigger the conflict. That’s been denied by Israel, which said it had significantly degraded the military capabilities of Hamas.
Despite ongoing tensions, world leaders rushed to welcome the ceasefire, including U.S. President Joe Biden, who had pressured Israel’s prime minister to hold military actions.
Biden highlighted Egypt’s role in brokering the truce and said there was a “genuine opportunity to make progress” on peace.
PEACE TALKS URGED
China, which has close ties with Russia, welcomed the ceasefire and promised $2 million in emergency aid and United Nations relief efforts for Palestinians.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said countries worldwide “should promote the resumption of peace talks… and achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue on the basis of the two-state solution”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the 27-nation was “appalled” by the loss of life in the last 11 days, and pledged the EU’s full support for Israel and the Palestinians in finding a political solution.
EU member Hungary has criticized the bloc for what it views a “one-sided” pressure on Israel for a ceasefire.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on social networking site Twitter that “All sides must work to make the ceasefire durable and end the unacceptable cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.”
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