MOSCOW, May 9. /TASS/. Russia expressed concerns over the situation in East Jerusalem and strongly condemned the attacks on civilians, urging the sides to avoid steps leading to the escalation of violence, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Moscow is deeply concerned over the unfolding events [mounting tensions in East Jerusalem]. We resolutely condemn the attacks on civilians. We call on all sides to refrain from any steps fraught with the escalation of violence," the ministry stated on Saturday.
According to the Russian ministry, the mounting tensions in the city are fueled by the eviction of Arabs from the places of original residence - Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, promoting plans of constructing 540 houses in the Har Homa area and also the killing of two Palestinian at a checkpoint near the city of Jenin.
Moscow confirms its "principal and consistent stance" on Israel’s steps and brands the expropriation of land and property there as well as the creation of settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as illegal measures. "Such steps violate international law and hinder the achievement of peaceful settlement on the basis of the establishment of two states - Palestine and Israel - within the 1967 borders, co-existing in peace and security," the ministry emphasized.
On Friday, Palestine’s WAFA news agency reported that about 200 Palestinians had been injured in clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem. The most violent clashes took place near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas were used against the crowd. After that, over 200 law enforcement officers stormed the courtyards and praying rooms of the mosque, forcing believers to leave the building.
Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out in East Jerusalem after the beginning of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which started on April 13 and will be over on May 12.