Arab-Israeli Raam party "suspends" its participation in the coalition government of PM Naftali Bennett over Israeli violence centered on occupied Jerusalem's flashpoint Al Aqsa compound.

Palestinian Red Crescent says 19 Palestinians were wounded on April 17, 2022.
Palestinian Red Crescent says 19 Palestinians were wounded on April 17, 2022. (AFP)

Israel's fractious governing coalition has seen a new split as Arab-Israeli party Raam "suspended" its membership, after Israeli troops stormed Al Aqsa Mosque, igniting protests at the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site that wounded more than 170 Palestinians in the last three days.

"If the government continues its steps against the people of Jerusalem... we will resign as a bloc," Raam said in a statement on Sunday.

The Israeli 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.

Raam's declaration came hours after more than 20 Palestinians and Israelis were wounded in the latest incidents in and around the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and at a tense time when the Jewish Passover festival coincides with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

They also follow deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank starting in late March, in which 36 people have been killed.

READ MORE: US: Deeply concerned about violence at Al Aqsa Mosque

Holy site 

On Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said 19 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli troops, including at least five who were hospitalised. It said some had been wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets.

More than 700 illegal Israeli settlers forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex on Sunday under heavy police protection to celebrate the week-long Jewish Passover holiday, which started on Friday.

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.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.

READ MORE: Settlers storm Al Aqsa as Israeli police restrict entry of worshippers

Pressure on PM Bennett

Political sources told the AFP news agency that, after Raam's withdrawal from his coalition, PM Naftali Bennett would likely seek to calm the situation.

On Sunday, Turkish President Erdogan said Ankara strongly condemns Israel's actions at Al Aqsa Mosque and finds the move "unacceptable."

Erdogan, in a call with Palestine's President Mahmud Abbas, said he would make contact with all sides to "end the Israeli escalation", Abbas's office said in a statement.

King Abdullah II of Jordan also called on Israel to "stop all illegal and provocative measures" that drive "further aggravation".

The kingdom serves as custodian of holy places in occupied East Jerusalem.

Senior Palestinian official Hussein Al Sheikh said on Sunday that "Israel's dangerous escalation in the Al Aqsa compound ... is a blatant attack on our holy places", and called on the international community to intervene.

READ MORE: Erdogan condemns Israeli raids on worshipers at Al Aqsa Mosque

Source: TRTWorld and agencies