Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur, now with riots!

Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, when Jews around the world fast, pray, and repent their sins.  It is, ideally, calm and full of spiritual reflection.  Unfortunately, this year's 2009 will be remembered not for its spiritual significance but for yet another conflict between Israelis and Palestinians

There are differing accounts of the clash, partially due to Israel's media blackout during Yom Kippur, but the general outline of events are as follows:

A few non-Muslims tried to enter the al-Aqsa mosque or Temple Mount sometime Sunday morning, in violation of agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians.  Israeli authorities claim they were tourists, the Palestinians claim they were Israelis.  Palestinians nearby responded with violence, throwing stones and other nearby objects.  Israeli police intervened, dispersing the crowd with tear gas and stun grenades, with a few minor injuries sustained by both police and Palestinians.  They also arrested a few Palestinians.

Conflict continued throughout the day, with Palestinians throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at police throughout East Jerusalem.  Palestinian leaders blasted Israel for "deliberately escalating tensions" to prevent progress during upcoming peace negotiations.

We'll know more once Yom Kippur ends and official reports emerge.  It's still sad that, even on the holiest day of the year, peace moved a little farther away.

1 comment:

  1. In pertinent part:

    The reasons behind Sunday's clash were disputed.

    "According to legislator Hathem Abdel Kader and other Palestinian sources, the clash erupted in the early morning when Palestinians inside the complex - sacred to both Islam and Judaism - saw a group of 15 religious Jews trying to enter…

    Israeli police said it began when religious Palestinians angered by immodestly dressed tourists grew violent…

    The complex is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Located above the Jewish prayer site at the Western Wall, it includes al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock mosque."


    As in most these clashes, the facts appear murky as one side accuses the other of fomenting discord. Based on sparse and at least partially unconfirmed reports, either “15 religious Jews” sought to enter the complex known as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims, or alerted Palestinian protesters at the complex known to Israelis as the Temple Mount violently objected to “immodestly dressed tourists.” What is undisputed is that the site is sacred to both Jews and Muslims and the outbreak of violence occurred just hours before the start of Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the year for observant Jews, both in Israel and around the world.

    Similar eruptions have been known to occur during Ramadan, the most sacred time of the year for Muslims. One thing is clear: there are factions on both sides of the divide whose objectives are more consistent with continued violence than peace and this continues to spark the outbreak seen this past Sunday in Jerusalem.