© Reuters. Violence in Jerusalem during Ramadan pierces Israeli-Palestinian calm
By Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – After a night of violence in Jerusalem, Israeli police made more than 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured in Ramadan clashes in the disputed city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict .
From Thursday evening to early Friday, police in riot gear and on horseback fought to separate two groups of protesters – young Palestinians throwing firecrackers and setting dumpsters on fire, and ultra-Israeli Israelis. nationalists chanting anti-Arab slogans.
Police deployed armored vehicles spraying foul-smelling skunk water at the two groups of protesters – Palestinians gathered around Jerusalem’s historic Damascus Gate and hundreds of right-wing Israelis several hundred yards 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 tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening meetings outside the Damascus Gate, a historic landmark on the north side of the Old City and adjacent to several Palestinian neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, a video on social media app TikTok purporting to show a Palestinian slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jew on the Jerusalem light rail train sparked protests from Israelis and calls from far-right politicians for a harsher police action.
The incidents threatened to shatter a prolonged period of relative calm in the holy city.
On Thursday evening, hundreds of ultra-nationalist Israelis – many of them young and religious – marched through central Jerusalem towards the Damascus Gate, which police had barricaded as a precaution.
As they walked, many chanted “Death to the Arabs” and some held up banners saying “Death to the terrorists”.
A man participating in the march, David, 40, said he lived far from Jerusalem but “came here to support my own people.”
“I am a Jew and a patriot and I am proud of my country,” he said.
Mounted police fired skunk water at the Israelis, driving them away from their position at the New Old City Gate – just 600 meters (meters) from the Palestinians gathered at the Damascus Gate – and towards the road. Jaffa plant in Jerusalem.
As Palestinians heard reports of the approaching Israeli crowd, they gathered by the thousands near the Damascus Gate with ambulances that roamed the crowded alleys with their blaring sirens.
Hundreds of Israeli police in riot gear cordoned off the area to prevent Israeli and Palestinian crowds from meeting, creating a 50-meter no-man’s land between them and the group of young Palestinians.
The Palestinians dragged trash cans, some of which were on fire, into the roads on their side to disrupt the police and block them on their side. Some fired small fireworks at the police.
Armed police units marched along Sultan Suleiman Street along the old city walls, spraying skunk water, dispersing crowds and arresting protesters.
In total, police said they arrested more than 50 people overnight, without distinguishing between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent said 100 Palestinians were injured in clashes with police, 21 of whom were taken to hospital for treatment, but none of them were serious.
Palestinian clashes with Israeli police began with the start of Ramadan on April 13. The Palestinians say the police tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan night meetings outside the Damascus Gate.
“Palestinians love to relax in this neighborhood after evening prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, but the occupation (Israel) doesn’t like it. It’s a matter of sovereignty,” Mohammad Abu Al-Homus said. , an inhabitant of Jerusalem, pointing out the thrown metal barricades. by police in the area in recent weeks.
Police said the move was part of their efforts to ensure that tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers have safe access to the Old City’s main Islamic prayer site, known as the Noble Sanctuary.
“With the Damascus Gate being the primary means of reaching and entering the Old City, police forces are carrying out activities on the ground using various means to avoid friction, violence and confrontation, and to maintain the ‘order and security in the region,’ a police spokesperson said.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector captured in the 1967 Middle East War, as its capital. The Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem, including its Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites, the capital of a future state.