Thousands of Israeli nationalists, a few of them chanting “Loss of life to Arabs,” paraded by means of the guts of the primary Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis on Sunday, in a present of drive that risked setting off a brand new wave of violence within the tense metropolis.
The crowds, who had been overwhelmingly younger Orthodox Jewish males, had been celebrating Jerusalem Day—an Israeli vacation that marks the seize of the Outdated Metropolis within the 1967 Mideast warfare. Palestinians see the occasion, which passes by means of the guts of the Muslim Quarter, as a provocation. Final 12 months, the parade helped set off an 11-day warfare with Gaza militants, and this 12 months’s march drew condemnations from the Palestinians and neighboring Jordan.
Israel mentioned it deployed 1000’s of police and safety forces for the occasion, and violent scuffles between Jewish and Palestinian teams erupted contained in the Outdated Metropolis earlier than the parade started.
Because the march acquired underway, teams of Orthodox Jewish youths gathered outdoors Damascus Gate, waving flags, singing non secular and nationalistic songs, and shouting “the Jewish nation lives” earlier than getting into the Muslim Quarter. One giant group chanted “Loss of life to Arabs,” and “Let your village burn down” earlier than descending into the Outdated Metropolis.
Police cleared Palestinians out of the world, which is generally a bustling Palestinian thoroughfare. At one level, a drone flying a Palestinian flag flew overhead earlier than police intercepted it.
Forward of the march, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett mentioned that “flying the flag of Israel within the capital of Israel is an apparent factor,” but in addition urged individuals to rejoice in a “accountable and respectful method.”
Bennett later issued an announcement instructing police to indicate “no tolerance” towards the racist teams. He described them as a “minority that got here to set the world on hearth” and vowed to prosecute violent extremists—a step that few Israeli governments have taken up to now. International Minister Yair Lapid referred to as the racist teams “a shame.”
1000’s of individuals usually participate within the march by means of the Muslim Quarter, together with some who shout out nationalistic or racist slogans towards the Palestinians, earlier than making their strategy to the Western Wall within the Jewish Quarter on the opposite aspect of the Outdated Metropolis.
Final 12 months, after weeks of Israeli-Palestinian unrest in Jerusalem, authorities modified the route of the march on the final minute to keep away from the Muslim Quarter. But it surely was too late by then, and Hamas militants in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets towards Jerusalem because the procession was getting underway. That set off 11 days of heavy combating.
Sunday’s march got here at a time of heightened tensions. Israeli police have repeatedly confronted stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators within the disputed compound in current months, usually firing rubber bullets and stun grenades.
On the similar time, some 19 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian attackers in Israel and the occupied West Financial institution in current weeks, whereas over 35 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli navy operations within the occupied West Financial institution. Some had been armed, whereas others had been shot whereas allegedly throwing stones or firebombs at troops. However a number of seem seem to have been uninvolved in any violence, together with Shireen Abu Akleh, a well known correspondent for the Al Jazeera satellite tv for pc channel.
Jerusalem police had been criticized internationally for beating mourners at Abu Akleh’s funeral two weeks in the past.
Regardless of the current unrest, Israeli leaders determined to permit this 12 months’s parade to happen alongside its conventional route by means of the Muslim Quarter. Forward of the march, there have been small scuffles between Israeli nationalists and Palestinians, who threw chairs and bottles and shouted “God is nice” on the marchers. Some marchers sprayed pepper spray at Palestinians and journalists. In a single video shared on social media, a younger Jewish man kicked and sprayed an older Palestinian lady within the face, sending her crumbling to the bottom.
Police additionally fired rubber-tipped bullets and used golf equipment and pepper spray to disperse Palestinian protesters from the world.
The Palestinian Crimson Crescent rescue service mentioned 62 folks had been injured, together with 23 who wanted hospitalization.
Israeli police mentioned they arrested over 50 suspects suspected of disorderly conduct or assaulting law enforcement officials. It mentioned 5 officers had been injured.
Forward of the march, over 2,500 Jews visited Jerusalem’s most delicate holy website contained in the Outdated Metropolis, as Palestinians barricaded contained in the Al Aqsa Mosque threw rocks and fireworks.
Al Aqsa is located on a hilltop compound revered by Muslims and Jews. The mosque is the third-holiest website in Islam, and the Palestinians are fiercely protecting over what they take into account to be a potent image of their nationwide aspirations.
The compound is also the holiest website for Jews, who name it the Temple Mount and revere it as the house of the biblical Temples. The competing claims to the positioning lie on the coronary heart of the Israeli-Palestinian battle and have triggered quite a few rounds of violence.
Police additionally mentioned one of many Jewish teams “violated visitation guidelines” and was eliminated. Israeli media mentioned the group had unfurled Israeli flags within the compound.
Below longstanding preparations generally known as the “establishment,” Jews are allowed to go to the compound however not pray. Lately, nonetheless, the variety of Jewish guests has grown considerably, together with some who’ve been noticed quietly praying.
Such scenes have sparked Palestinian fears that Israel is plotting to take over or divide the world. Israel denies such claims, saying it stays dedicated to the established order.
Among the many guests was Itamar Ben-Gvir, chief of a small ultranationalist opposition celebration and a follower of the late racist rabbi, Meir Kahane, who entered with dozens of supporters underneath heavy police guard.
Palestinians shouted “God is nice” as Ben-Gvir, accompanied by Israeli police, shouted “the Jewish folks stay.” Police mentioned they locked the gates of the mosque and mentioned they made 18 arrests.
Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of “enjoying with hearth irresponsibily and recklessly.”
Jordan condemned Ben-Gvir’s go to to the positioning and warned that the “provocative and escalating march” might make issues deteriorate additional. Jordan managed east Jerusalem till Israel captured it in 1967 and it stays the custodian over Muslim holy websites.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, together with the Outdated Metropolis, within the 1967 Mideast warfare. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem in a transfer that isn’t internationally acknowledged and claims the entire metropolis as its capital. The Palestinians search east Jerusalem because the capital of a future state.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers praised what they referred to as “the good heroism” proven by Palestinians at Al Aqsa earlier Sunday. “The Islamic Palestinian Arab identification of the Al Aqsa Mosque might be protected by our folks and their valiant resistance with all their would possibly,” mentioned Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the group.
The group, nonetheless, could also be cautious of getting concerned in one other spherical of combating. Gaza was arduous hit in final 12 months’s warfare, and the territory continues to be struggling to restore the harm. As well as, some 12,000 Gazan laborers are actually permitted to work inside Israel as a part of efforts to keep up calm between the enemies. Renewed combating might threat shedding these jobs, which have given a small increase to Gaza’s devastated economic system.
—AP correspondents Alon Bernstein and Ariel Schalit contributed reporting.
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