Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets from Gaza and Israel unleashed new airstrikes against them early Tuesday, in an escalation triggered by soaring tensions in Jerusalem and days of clashes at an iconic mosque in the holy city. Twenty-four people, including nine children, were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in Israeli strikes. This round of violence, like previous ones, was fueled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem.
Israeli police firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site on Monday, the latest in a series of confrontations that threatened to push the contested city toward wider conflict. More than 305 Palestinians were hurt, including 228 who went to hospitals and clinics for treatment, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Two doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can provide more than 95% protection against infection, severe illness, and death, according to the first nationwide data from Israel. A single dose of the jab, meanwhile, is associated with 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospital admission, and 77% against death, research published in The Lancet suggests. Protection for the elderly was almost as strong, with those over 85 getting 94.1% protection against infection.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to investigate a crush at a crowded religious festival that left dozens of people dead. At least 45 people were killed and 150 were injured at the all-night Lag B’Omer festival, which attracted tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews. It is unclear what triggered the crush. The prime minister said the “terrible disaster” was one of the worst in the country’s history.
Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution against Arabs in the occupied territories and Israel itself, Human Rights Watch says. In a new report, it says Israel has a policy “to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians”, including those who are its citizens. Apartheid amounts to state-sanctioned racial discrimination and is considered a crime against humanity.
After a night of violence in Jerusalem, Israeli police made over 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured during Ramadan clashes in the contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From late Thursday night into early Friday, police in riot gear and on horseback fought to keep apart two groups of protesters – Palestinian youth hurling firecrackers and setting fire to garbage bins, and ultra-nationalist Israelis chanting anti-Arab slogans.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday declared an “enduring and ironclad” American commitment to Israel, reinforcing support at a tense time in Israeli politics and amid questions about the Biden administration’s efforts to revive nuclear negotiations with Israel’s archenemy, Iran. Austin’s first talks in Israel since he became Pentagon chief in January come as the United States seeks to leverage Middle East diplomatic progress made by the Trump administration.
Israel’s president has named Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the party leader to try to cobble together a governing majority. Reuven Rivlin’s announcement in Jerusalem on Tuesday nudged forward the twin dramas of the country’s future and Netanyahu’s fate as his corruption trial resumed across town. The March 23 election revolved around whether Netanyahu is fit to continue serving.
Early exit polls Tuesday showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party in the lead but with no clear winner as the nation headed to the polls in its fourth parliamentary election in two years. Polls forecast a tight race, with Likud predicted to win the most seats in the 120-seat parliament, known as the Knesset. But it remains unclear if he will be able to form a majority coalition.
Israelis voted on Tuesday in a fourth election in two years, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoping a world-beating COVID-19 vaccine rollout will win him another term. Israel’s longest-serving head of government, Netanyahu has managed to hold on to power through two years of inconclusive elections despite facing corruption allegations. He is now on trial on bribery and abuse of power charges, which he denies.