burning tire
© Ashraf Amra/APA Images
Palestinian protesters burn tires along the Israel-Gaza border.
Israeli forces killed 20 Palestinians, including nine children in an airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported, as tensions escalated over Israeli aggression at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza on Monday evening, following rocket fire from Gaza that caused damage to one Israeli vehicle, and "lightly injured" one Israeli civilian, according to an Israeli army statement.

Some Palestinian media outlets reported that the Palestinian casualties were from the same family, though the Ministry of Health has yet to confirm the identities of those who were killed. The Israeli army said that "three Hamas operatives" were killed in a "targeted attack," but made no mention of the other reported casualties, including the children.

The Hamas movement had vowed to retaliate for Israeli aggression at the Al-Aqsa compound, and gave Israeli authorities an ultimatum: withdraw from Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah by 6:00 pm local time, and release all the Palestinians who had been detained by police during the recent tensions in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces reportedly deployed reinforcements along the Gaza border in anticipation of potential escalations.

By 6:20 pm, a spokesman for the Hamas military wing said the organization
"fired rockets at occupied Jerusalem, in response to the enemy's crimes and aggression against the holy city, and its abuse of our people in Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Rocket fire
© Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images
Rockets fired from Gaza City towards Israel • May 10, 2021
Assault on Al-Aqsa

Hundreds of Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces continued their assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, following several days of police violence and protests in the city.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that by around 1:00 pm local time, 305 Palestinians had been wounded, 228 of whom were hospitalized for their injures. At least eight people were reported to be in serious condition, with some requiring emergency surgery.

Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa compound in the morning hours of Monday, firing tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at Palestinian worshipers. Some Palestinians on the ground reported that Israeli snipers were stationed on the rooftops surrounding the courtyard, though no instances of live ammunition fire were reported.

Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades inside the Mosque's prayer hall, while Palestinian youth around the court yard threw stones at the armed forces.

Videos of the police firing tear gas and other weapons as they stormed the courtyard and the mosque circulated widely on Palestinian social media, as many Palestinians and Muslims from around the world lamented the harrowing scenes at the compound, which is the third holiest site in Islam.

Saleh Zighari, a Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem and Mondoweiss contributor posted a video on social media of himself and other journalists and civilians being tear gassed as they moved through the courtyard.

In the video taken by Zighari, which went viral on social media, he describes the scenes at the compound as something out of a "war zone."

Several reports surfaced of Israeli forces preventing Palestinian medics from accessing the holy site throughout the day to treat the injured.

By the late afternoon hours, as Israeli forces retreated from the area, people posted videos and photos on social media of Palestinians and the compound cleaning up the rubble and destruction that had overtaken the holy site.

Reports indicated that Israeli troops remained heavily deployed in the area, and fired on crowds outside the Old City's Damascus Gate entrance, a popular gathering place for Palestinians in the city.

In the midst of the cleanup at the compound, a group of Palestinians gathered the remnants of Israeli sound bombs, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters, and recreated a mural of the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the weapon remains.

Tensions rise coming off violent weekend

Monday's events are the latest in a weekend-long assault on the Al-Aqsa compound by Israeli police, who have been raiding the site and attacking Palestinian worshipers there continuously since Friday, injuring hundreds of Palestinians.

The Israeli police violence at the holy site, which has taken place in the midst of the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, have drawn widespread condemnation from the international community and has lead headlines on global news networks and inundated social media, as people express their outrage over Israel's actions at the holy site.

Palestinian and regional leaders have condemned the Israeli aggression at the site, with Palestinian political factions calling for widespread protests across the occupied West Bank.

With the situation in Gaza escalating, Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and Israel are bracing for more violence, as protests against the killings of the nine people in Gaza and the attacks on Al-Aqsa are expected to grow.

Haaretz reported that the Knesset, Israel's parliament, which is located in Jerusalem, was evacuated, as Israeli authorities sounded alarms in Jerusalem over the rocket fire from Gaza.

Palestinian activists reported that around the same time, Israeli forces continued to attack Palestinians in the city, beating up youth at the Damascus Gate area and "attacking on their [police] horses."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement:
"a struggle is now being waged for the heart of Jerusalem. It is not a new struggle. It is the struggle between intolerance and tolerance, between law-breaking violence and law and order.

"We insist on ensuring the rights of everyone, this occasionally requires taking a strong stand as the officers of the Israel police, and our security forces, are doing at the moment. We back them in this just struggle."
Netanyahu did not mention the hundreds of Palestinians who had been injured by Israeli forces over the course of the weekend, nor did he comment on reports of Israeli police heavily restricting Palestinian access to the site, the firing of tear gas and sound bombs at worshipers while they were praying, and evidence of Israeli police beating Palestinian detainees.

Israeli nationalists descend upon the city

Monday's unrest in Jerusalem came as large crowds of far-right, ultra-nationalist Israelis descended upon the city for "Jerusalem Day," an Israeli national holiday in which Israelis celebrate the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Every year, the occasion is commemorated with a "flag march", during which large groups of right-wing Israelis, carrying Israeli flags, march through the Old City of Jerusalem, typically harassing Palestinians along the way and chanting anti-Arab slogans.

Though the march was planned for later in the evening on Monday, groups of right-wing Israelis were documented as attacking Palestinians and Palestinian property from the early hours of the morning.

Israeli settlers were seen Monday morning attempting to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque through its Moroccan Gate entrance. Though Jewish prayer in the mosque's courtyard is forbidden as part of an agreement between Israel and Jordan, the official custodian of the site, right-wing Israeli groups frequently violate these agreements, under the protection of the police.

One graphic video published on social media Monday morning shows an Israeli settler ramming his vehicle at high speed into a group of Palestinian youth outside the Old City, who were reportedly throwing stones. In the immediate aftermath of the car-ramming, Palestinian youth in the area reportedly began attacking the driver. Video footage shows an Israeli police officer drawing his gun on the Palestinians, and protecting the Israeli settler, who at one point spits at the Palestinians in front of him.

On Monday evening, before the flag march was set to begin, Israeli authorities decided to reroute the march so that it would no longer pass through the Damascus Gate area and the main streets of the Muslim quarter, but instead send the groups from the Jaffa Gate through to the Western Wall.

But with the rocket fire from Gaza being reported shortly thereafter, Israeli police reportedly attempted to disperse the march, but to no avail.

Videos from the scene showed large groups of right-wing Israeli youth waving hundreds of Israeli flags, dancing, and chanting a number of racist slogans, including "death to Arabs."
Palestinians march protest
© Ibrahim Attaia/APA Images
Palestinians protest Israeli provocations in Jerusalem near settlement of Beit el near Ramallah in occupied West Bank, May 9, 2021
#SaveSheikhJarrah builds momentum

The tensions in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound have been exacerbated by ongoing protests in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian residents have been fighting against the efforts of Israeli settler groups to evict them from their homes.

The families in Sheikh Jarrah have been staging daily sit ins and peaceful demonstrations, which have been violently suppressed by Israeli police, who have beaten and arrested dozens of activists and local residents.

The families were supposed to have their appeal heard in the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday, but the court delayed their hearing to an undecided date.

The fight to #SaveSheikhJarrah has drawn increased international attention in recent days, as the deadline for the eviction of the families grows more imminent, and Israeli settlers in the area step up their attacks on the residents and their homes.

Solidarity protests with the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have popped up all across Palestine and the world, with protests taking place on Sunday night in the cities of Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, Nablus, Gaza City. More protests are expected to continue in the coming days.

Several U.S. progressive representatives, like US Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have called for Israel to halt its forcible removal of the families.

There are currently four families in the neighborhood under immediate threat of displacement. If the court denies their appeal, these families will be forcibly removed and thrown out into the streets, and their homes will be taken over by the settlers.