Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Friday in protests over US President Donald Trump’s newly released peace plan, but Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the flashpoint Temple Mount passed peacefully.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that 48 Palestinians were wounded Friday during clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank, while an IDF soldier was lightly hurt by a rock thrown amid rioting near the Vered Yericho settlement.
Palestinians burned tires and threw rocks at troops who responded with tear gas and other riot control means.
Protests were also held in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The plan released on Tuesday was angrily rejected by Palestinians as heavily biased toward Israel, with one of the key bones of contention being its classification of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital.”
Palestinians have long seen the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, as the capital of their future state. Trump’s plan envisions a number of outlying East Jerusalem neighborhoods as the capital of a Palestinian state, but none of the holy sites or the Old City.
Fears of violence were raised Friday morning when a group of Palestinians protested at the Temple Mount after dawn prayers.
Israeli police “responded and dispersed the gathering,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, saying the protesters had chanted “nationalist” slogans.
But noon prayers, when more than 30,000 Palestinians attended services at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, passed off without incident, religious officials and AFP journalists said.
Rosenfeld said “heightened security” measures would be in place across the Old City of Jerusalem and “police units will respond if necessary.”
The site is the holiest in Judaism as the site of the biblical Temples, and the third holiest for Muslims, who refer to it as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or the Noble Sanctuary.
It has been the scene of intermittent clashes between Muslim worshipers and police.
Besides the increased police presence around the Temple Mount, the IDF this week deployed extra troops to the West Bank and along the Gaza border out of concerns of increased violence over the US peace plan.
In neighboring Jordan, thousands of people took to the streets after Friday prayers to protest the plan. Jordan, a close US ally and key player in previous peace efforts, has warned Israel against annexing territory in the West Bank under the plan. Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace agreements with Israel.
Chanting “Death to Israel”, about 3,000 people took part in the demonstration, which started in front of the city’s Al-Husseini Mosque, amid a heavy security presence, an AFP photographer said.
Protesters carried Jordanian and Palestinian flags and held up signs that read “Jordan rejects the deal of the century” and “Down with the deal of the century”.
Protesters chanted, “Listen, damn Trump, Palestine is not for sale” and “The Jordanian and Palestinian people are one, not two.”
Almost 300 people demonstrated in front of the US Embassy in Amman, calling on Arab and Muslim countries to support the Palestinians and the “resistance” against the Jewish state.
Hundreds gathered in similar protests in the cities of Irbid in the country’s north, in Karak, south of Amman, and in Salt, northwest of the capital.
There were also protests against the plan in Ain al-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon and in Beirut.
Protests were also held in several cities in Turkey.
Also Friday, three mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one of the projectiles, while the other two struck open areas.
There were no reports of casualties or damage.
In response to the attack, an IDF tank fired a shell at a Hamas observation post near the border in southern Gaza, the military said.
Early Friday, the Israel Air Force carried out strikes in Gaza in response to three rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave at Israel.
The army said among the targets hit was an underground facility used to manufacture weapons. No injuries were reported as a result of the strikes. Widespread power outages were reported in Rafah.
Tensions between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks after several months of relative calm. Fears have mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release of the US peace plan.
Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected the Trump plan, which would allow Israel to annex all of its Jewish settlements, along with the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians were offered limited self-rule in Gaza, parts of the West Bank and some sparsely populated areas of Israel in return for meeting a long list of conditions.
The Hamas terror group has vowed that “all options are open” in responding to the proposal, but is not believed to be seeking another war with Israel.