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East Jerusalem's building blocks of hate crimes

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East Jerusalem's building blocks of hate crimes


Recent months’ reprisal killings in and around Jerusalem can be traced to June.

That is when three abducted Israeli teenagers were found murdered, and more crimes followed.

Already heavy security was tightened amid fears of another Intifada uprising but there was a slight easing of pressure last Friday.

After weeks of on-again-off-again lockdown around the al Aqsa Mosque, Muslims were allowed to pray.

Hard-right Jews had been demanding praying rights themselves at their own holy sites in the vicinity.

They were protesting a longstanding precautionary ban at Temple Mount by the Israeli authorities.

The Palestinians condemned the new demands as provocation.

In July, when extremists from the Jewish enclave of Isawiya in East Jerusalem burned to death a Palestinian teen, following discovery of the Israeli teenagers’ bodies, Arab East Jerusalemites rioted.

Israel has ruled Arab East Jerusalem since the 1967 war, when it captured it from Jordan.

In 1980, it declared the whole city its indivisible capital.

No other country recognised this de facto annexation, and so East Jerusalem is widely referred to as a part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Adding to an explosive atmosphere, the Israeli authorities this week have approved still more plans for the construction of new housing units — 200 in the Ramot hillside complex at the northern edge of Jerusalem.

This also is land Israel captured in the 1967 war.

Israel says Jews have a historic right to live anywhere in the city; 196,000 Jewish settlers live in the eastern part, and 282,000 Palestinians.

In the West Bank Palestinian Territories, some 310,000 settlers live among more than 2.3 million Palestinians.

Late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered planning to go ahead for some 1,000 new units on annexed land – in Har Homa and Ramat Shlomo, in southern and northern East Jerusalem, respectively.

Palestinian and international officials view settlement building as a major obstacle to the creation of an independent state the Palestinians seek, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Most countries view the settlements as illegal.

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