Protests were planned throughout the Middle East and beyond in solidarity of the Palestinians as Israel increased its Gaza airstrikes in retribution for the attacks by Hamas against Israel.
Following the Hamas attacks, which were the bloodiest killing spree against civilians in the history of the state, Jewish groups in France and other countries were also organizing demonstrations in support of Israel.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem was a focus of attention and a probable flashpoint.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, urged Palestinians to rise up on Friday in protest against Israel’s bombardment of the enclave, calling on them to march on the mosque and to confront Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank.
The militant group said Palestinians should stay at the mosque through Friday, when Muslims hold large weekly prayers.
The compound is Islam’s third holiest side after Mecca and Medina and the most sacred to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
Rallies were planned in Rome, Munich, Istanbul, Belgrade and other cities in support of the Palestinians and to protest against the bombing of Gaza.
The assault by Hamas – designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and other governments – on Israeli communities last weekend killed at least 1,300 people. Most were civilians, including women and children.
Israel has since been pounding Gaza with airstrikes and artillery fire in retaliation and more than 1,500 Palestinians have been killed. A ground invasion of the besieged enclave appears to be imminent.
In Warsaw, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, was scheduled to lead a multi-confessional prayer for peace in the city centre.
Members of France’s Jewish community were to gather at Paris’ largest synagogue for Sabbath on Friday afternoon.
In Paris on Thursday night, French police fired teargas and water cannon to break up a banned rally in support of the Palestinians, while President Emmanuel Macron urged the French people to refrain from bringing the Israel-Hamas conflict home.
His government had earlier banned pro-Palestinian protests, saying they were “likely to generate disturbances to public order”.