Nearly 100 people wounded in Jerusalem clashes; Israeli nationalists shout 'Death to Arabs"

  23 April 2021    Read: 593
Nearly 100 people wounded in Jerusalem clashes; Israeli nationalists shout

After a night of violence in Jerusalem, Israeli police made over 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured during Ramadan clashes in the contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. read more

From late Thursday night into early Friday, police in riot gear and on horseback fought to keep apart two groups of protesters - Palestinian youth hurling firecrackers and setting fire to garbage bins, and ultra-nationalist Israelis chanting anti-Arab slogans.

Police deployed armoured vehicles spraying foul-smelling skunk water towards the two groups - Palestinians gathered around Jerusalem's historic Damascus Gate and hundreds of right-wing Israelis several hundred metres away.

Clashes and other violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred nightly since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Palestinians say police have tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening gatherings outside Damascus Gate, an historic landmark on the north side of the Old City and adjacent to several Palestinian neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, videos on social media purporting to show Palestinian youth slapping or otherwise assaulting ultra-Orthodox Jews in the city have drawn protests by Israelis and calls by far-right politicians for tougher police action.

The violence appeared to give way to relative calm by mid-day on Friday, with around 60,000 Muslim worshippers filing past police in the Old City to attend noon prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

But with more clashes expected later, the incidents threaten to break a sustained period of relative quiet in the holy city.

On Thursday night, hundreds of ultra-nationalist Israelis marched through central Jerusalem towards the Damascus Gate, which police had barricaded as a precaution.

As they marched, many chanted "Death to Arabs" and some waved banners reading: "Death to terrorists".

One participant, David, 40, said he lived far from Jerusalem but "came here to support my own people", adding: "I'm Jewish and I'm a patriot and I'm proud of my country."

Police fired skunk water at the Israelis, pushing them away from their position at the Old City's New Gate - just 600 metres (yards) away from Palestinians gathered at Damascus Gate - and towards Jerusalem's central Jaffa Road.

 


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