East Jerusalem: Tear-gassing of civilians by Israel Defence Forces was shocking and makes two-state solution even more urgent – Angus Robertson

The scenes of violence on the streets of Jerusalem are shocking, in particular the tear-gassing and beating of civilians by the Israel Defence Forces and shooting inside the Al Aqsa mosque.

A Palestinian man runs away from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem (Picture: Mahmoud Illean/AP)

The storming of the sacred site that contains the Dome of the Rock came ahead of a provocative flag-waving parade by Israeli extremists through the old town.

Much of the unrest has occurred as Palestinians face being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem as part of efforts by Israeli settlers to take over Palestinian properties.

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While some Israelis have been celebrating the 1967 capture of the city, for many Palestinians it marks their occupation and dispossession of their homes.

A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to visit both Israel and Palestine, and to spend some time in Jerusalem. The people there are amazing but the historic city has long been the focus of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, with competing claims on each side and its holy sites revered by both Jews and Muslims.

The Western Wall of the Old City is part of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, while it is also part of the al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, with the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque above it.

There is clearly no easy outcome to the competing pressures on Jerusalem or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Surely, however, the only way to lasting peace is with mutual respect, a two-state solution and a shared outcome for Jerusalem.

Angus Robertson is SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central

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