tel Aviv – There was increased security in Jerusalem on Friday after a night of violent clashes involving far-right Israeli Jews, Palestinians and police that left dozens injured and under arrest. More police forces have been deployed near the Old City to prepare for what many feared would be a continuation of violence after Friday prayers as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.
The holy month brings more and more worshipers to pray in holy city mosques, and last week saw a series of violent assaults on Palestinians after TikTok videos showed Palestinians assaulting Orthodox Jews near the Damascus Gate, the entrance. of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The violence began Thursday night after a group of far-right anti-Arab Jewish activists called LEHAVA staged a march in East Jerusalem. The group called a march to “restore Jewish dignity” and urged people to unite and arm themselves.
They marched through the streets chanting “death to the Arabs” and clashed with the police as they tried to enter a Palestinian neighborhood.
Palestinian activists have called on social media for people to go to the Damascus Gate to organize a counter-protest against the “settler thugs”. Palestinians who heard the call also clashed with police, throwing stones and other objects at various locations throughout the night.
Police used the “Skunk” water cannon – which floods people with a strong, nasty liquid – and stun grenades on both groups. Police said 20 officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested in the chaos, but the Palestinian Red Crescent organization reported that more than 100 Palestinians were also treated for their injuries, including 22 who required hospitalization. in the hospital.
The US Embassy in Israel, based in Jerusalem, posted a message on Twitter expressing deep concern over the violence and urging “all responsible voices” to “promote and stop incitement”.
The government of neighboring Jordan, meanwhile, has called on Israeli officials to abide by international law and, as an “occupying power” in East Jerusalem, has put an end to “provocation and aggression” against Palestinian residents of the city, according to the Israeli newspaper. . Haaretz.
Haaretz said Israeli Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, released a statement on Friday condemning the attacks on Jews, but did not mention Palestinians who were targeted. despite the Red Crescent said that dozens of injured.
The Damascus Gate is the main entrance to the Old City used by Muslims who enter to pray in the revered mosque on the Temple Mount, or the al-Aqsa complex as it is known in Islam. The site was the scene of numerous clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.