EU urges 'immediate end' to West Bank violence

EU urges 'immediate end' to West Bank violence
A tweet from an EU spokesperson urging an end to the violence garnered backlash for its use of the term 'clashes' to describe the Israeli attack on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday.
2 min read
16 April, 2022
Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan [Anadolu via Getty]

The European Union called on Friday for an immediate end to violence in the occupied West Bank, including what it described as "clashes" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

More than 150 Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa compound on Friday morning, firing hand grenades, tear gas, and live rounds. Some 400 Palestinians were arrested in the Israeli raid.

"The European Union follows with deep concern the latest upsurge in violence across the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem and the clashes at Al Aqsa mosque on Friday morning," read a statement from the European Union's diplomatic service.

"The EU calls on all sides to engage in de-escalatory efforts," it added.

A tweet from the service's lead spokesperson Peter Stano that summarised the statement garnered backlash for its use of the word "clashes" and its failure to name Israelis as the attackers.

Israeli forces have increased their presence in the occupied West Bank and are reinforcing a wall and fence barrier with the occupied territory following recent attacks inside Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has given "full freedom" to the Israeli forces to respond to these attacks, warning there will be "no limits" to their campaign.

At least 15 Palestinians have been killed since then, mostly in raids in the West Bank city of Jenin and its surrounding areas.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem had been bracing themselves for fresh Israeli raids on the compound since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 2 April.

Last year during Ramadan, Israeli settlers and soldiers regularly stormed the sacred compound as Muslim worshippers gathered.

Hundreds of Palestinian worshippers were injured when Israeli soldiers stormed the mosque in May last year, to which Hamas responded by firing rockets from Gaza.

Israel then launched a military campaign on the besieged strip, leading to a devastating 11-day war that killed more than 250 Palestinians, including dozens of children.