BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei’s foreign ministry on Monday expressed “grave concern” over Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, where over 300 people have been wounded since Friday as protesters clashed with security forces.

“Brunei Darussalam expresses grave concern on the actions by the occupying power following attacks against the Palestinian civilians at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadhan and the forced evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

“Brunei Darussalam joins the international community in reiterating its serious concerns on any change in the status quo of Jerusalem. We reaffirm our belief that the two-state solution is the most viable long-term solution towards achieving an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

MFA added that Brunei continues to support all relevant United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, particularly on the need for the final status of Jerusalem to be “resolved through negotiations among all parties concerned”.

A Palestinian protester is detained by Israeli border policemen amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, May 4, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Protests in Jerusalem broke out three weeks ago at the start of Ramadhan, when Israel restricted gatherings at a popular meeting spot outside the Old City.

The removal of the restrictions briefly calmed the situation, though protests reignited in recent days over the threatened expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem in favour of Israeli settlers.

Tensions came to head Friday night when riot police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque — Islam’s third holiest site — throwing grenades and firing rubber bullets after they said protestors threw rocks and fireworks at them, wounding 17 officers.

More than 300 Palestinian civilians have been injured since then, as clashes continued into Saturday and Sunday night when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, the most sacred night of Ramadhan.

An injured Palestinian woman is evacuated during clashes with Israeli police near Damascus Gate on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 8, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israel has faced mounting international criticism of its heavy police response and expulsion of Arabs from their homes, which the UN said could amount to a possible war crime. ⠀

Sheikh Jarrah has become a flashpoint of recent tension — since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Arab families from the neighbourhood, part of a wider policy of displacing the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s annexation of the city in 1967, as well as Gaza and the West Bank, is not recognised by most of the international community and settlements built there are considered illegal under international law.