Arab Party Suspends Israeli Coalition Membership After Al-Aqsa Mosque Violence

Arab-Israeli Raam party “suspends” its participation in the coalition government of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett over violence at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem that left 170 Palestinians injured at the weekend.

“If the government continues its steps against the people of Jerusalem… we will resign as a bloc,” quoted Raam in a statement.

The government, an ideologically disparate mix of left-wing, hardline Jewish nationalist and religious parties, as well as Raam, had already lost its razor-thin majority this month when a religious Jewish member quit in a dispute over leavened bread distribution at hospitals.

Since then, days of violence around occupied East Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque after Israeli troops stormed the compound, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, put Raam under pressure to quit too.

Political sources said after Raam’s withdrawal from his coalition, PM Naftali Bennett would likely seek to calm the situation.

According to the statement, Raam also follows deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank starting in late March, in which 36 people have been killed so far.

At the same time, 14 Israeli, among them police officers, were killed in different attacks carried out by Palestinian since March 22.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a call on Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said Turkey would contact all sides and appeal them to “end the Israeli escalation.”

Also Pope Francis prayed for peace as Christians celebrated Easter on Sunday, including at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem where they believe Jesus died and was resurrected.

“May Israelis, Palestinians and all who dwell in the Holy City, together with the pilgrims … dwell in fraternity and enjoy free access to the Holy Places in mutual respect for the rights of each,” the Pope said in his Easter address.

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