Clashes break out in Jerusalem as right-wing Jewish rally chants ‘Death to Arabs,’ faces off with police (VIDEOS)
Dozens of arrests were made following rioting and clashes in downtown Jerusalem, where Jewish and Arab demonstrators squared off with security forces – and reportedly with each other – as police struggled to keep them apart.
The Jerusalem District Police kept a heavy presence in the city on Thursday night and into Friday morning amid the violence, which saw scores of Jewish marchers stream through the Jerusalem, some taking part in menacing chants such as “Death to the Arabs” and “May your village burn down,” according to local news reports.
Hundreds of young Jewish supremacists, led by far-right leader Benzi Gopstein — who is on for incitement for incitement to violence, racism, and terror — now gathered near Jerusalem's Old City. Journalists on the ground reporting chants of "death to Arabs."Video by @OrenZiv1985pic.twitter.com/xFei1iAule— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) April 22, 2021
At least 79 arrests were made over the course of the night, including five Israelis for “suspicious behavior” – some of whom were armed with hammers and other makeshift weapons, Haaretz reported – while dozens more were picked up in clashes with police and other opposing demonstrators. Both Jewish and Arab protesters reportedly threw stones and launched fireworks at officers.
Footage circulating on social media showed a number of scenes from the confrontation, including when police unleashed stun grenades and “skunk water” cannons on the crowds. Mounted officers were also present.
Other unconfirmed footage purported to show an attack on an Arab household by a Jewish group, in which people are seen hurling objects at the home, while yet another clip appeared to depict a demonstrator hitting an officer with a stone at point-blank range.
Israeli Jewish fascists are attacking the homes of Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. All night long Jewish groups have been roaming streets, shouting death to Arabs. Can you imagine the fear? pic.twitter.com/t8pufxK04Q— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) April 22, 2021
Fires were also ignited in the street by protesters, with videos showing a vehicle going up in flames and what appeared to be a public security camera destroyed and set ablaze.
مستوطنون يُضرمون النار تجاه في سيارة لأحد الفلسطينيين في حي الشيخ جراح بالقدس المحتلة. pic.twitter.com/5DatYXM0L3— Newpress|نيو برس (@NewpressPs) April 23, 2021
מצלמות אבטחה של המשטרה והעירייה עולות באש ליד שער שכם pic.twitter.com/2jEKPFaFzw— Oren Ziv (@OrenZiv1985) April 22, 2021
According to local broadcaster Kann News, some of the Israelis present were linked to the Lehava organization, a militant right-wing movement fiercely opposed to Jewish-Arab integration, which Israeli officials have previously considered labeling as a terrorist group. Lehava’s leader, Ben-Zion Gopstein, attended Thursday’s march, where the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying “We've come here tonight to clarify to anyone who thinks otherwise: Jerusalem is ours!”
Hundreds of mostly orthodox Jewish youth marching through downtown Jerusalem towards Damascus Gate, amid chants of “Death of Arabs!” pic.twitter.com/k8Rh85lAaJ— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) April 22, 2021
Horrifying night in Jerusalem. “Hundreds of Jewish Supremacists March Toward Jerusalem’s Old City Chanting ‘Death to Arabs’” Haaretz. pic.twitter.com/lWRqorSIn5— Abier Khatib (@abierkhatib) April 22, 2021
Though police did appear to take measures to halt the Israeli activists, the head of Israel’s Arab Joint List party, Ayman Odeh, questioned the “intentions” of the security forces, claiming they had enabled the far-right demonstrators to “organize a pogrom tonight.”
The unrest comes amid a string of violence during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which has seen tit-for-tat attacks and reprisals between Arabs and Jews. Helping to fuel the tensions, a number of videos have recently made the rounds on TikTok showing Palestinians assaulting Israelis, including one group who beat a driver in the street and later reportedly set his car on fire.
Jerusalem itself is at the heart of a decades-long dispute between Palestinians and Israelis, with the city holding major religious significance for both Muslims and Jews. Its western half was incorporated into the newly created state of Israel in 1948, after the United Nations recommended dividing the city between the two sides, while its eastern portion was captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day War and has been under military occupation ever since. Israeli settlements continue to encroach into East Jerusalem, which has been deemed a violation of international law by the UN and other world agencies.Also on rt.com As Israel plans to evict up to 550 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Biden admin remains silent
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