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Turkish parliament condemns Israel’s ‘atrocious, lawless attacks’ against Palestinians

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Five political parties in Turkey’s Parliament on Monday released a joint declaration to speak out against the latest clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, saying that they “strongly condemn the atrocious attacks by the Israeli security forces.”

The statement came after more than 200 people were injured as Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is the third-holiest site in the world for Muslims, and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, late Friday.

According to the latest Turkish media reports, 24 Palestinians, including nine minors and an elderly woman, have died while more than 700 people were wounded in new clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the occupied West Bank.

Monday’s clashes were the latest in days of the worst such disturbance since 2017 and came ahead of a planned march to mark Israel’s 1967 takeover of the holy city.

“Israel’s violence against defenseless Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem, its repressive policies and attempts to obstruct the freedom of worship have reached quite a dire dimension just on the eve of [the Muslim holiday] Eid al-Fitr. The atrocious attacks … caused many innocent Palestinians, including babies and children, to be injured,” the parties said in the written declaration.

“We, as the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, hereby strongly condemn this atrocity and lawlessness,” they added in the statement, which was signed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Good (İYİ) Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The parties further criticized Israel’s attempts to “forcefully evict” Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in Jerusalem, highlighting that they were “unlawful and inhuman.”

They expressed full support for a call by the United Nations to Israel to stop the demolitions and evictions in line with international humanitarian law and human rights laws and to preserve the status quo of holy places, calling on all UN member states to also stand behind it “with determination.”

The political parties closed by urging all international institutions, including the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly, to “take action, without wasting more time, against Israel’s moves that defy international law.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Turks on Monday violated the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown by gathering to protest against Israel in more than 30 provinces in the country, including large cities such as İstanbul and Ankara.

After Turkey’s daily COVID-19 infections and deaths reached record highs in mid-April, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP government imposed a full lockdown that took effect on April 29 and will last until May 17.

Police chose not to intervene in Monday’s demonstrations despite a ban on large public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic as the protestors in many of the cities drove in a convoy of cars without even wearing masks, disregarding the social distancing rules, local media reports said.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained since a Turkish NGO oversaw a flotilla of ships that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010, with ambassadors being withdrawn in 2018 after the deaths of Palestinian protesters in the enclave.

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