Palestinians, Israeli settlers scuffle in east Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinians and Israeli settlers hurled rocks and chairs at each other in a tense east Jerusalem neighborhood on Thursday before Israeli police moved in to separate them, arresting at least seven people.
The violence broke out in Sheikh Jarrah, where dozens of Palestinians are at risk of being evicted following a long legal battle with Jewish settlers trying to acquire property in the neighborhood, which is just north of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Pro-Palestinian protesters have been meeting for nightly iftars — the meal held after breaking the daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — at long tables set up outside. On Thursday, settlers set up a table and awning across the street. They were joined by Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of a far-right party with roots in a violent anti-Arab extremist group.
Video circulating online later showed protesters on both sides hurling rocks and chairs at each other, and Palestinians tearing down the awning, before Israeli police moved in. There were no reports of serious injuries.
“Police and border police are operating to prevent friction between the sides,” the police said in a statement. “At this stage, the event is under control.” It said seven people were arrested for disturbing the peace and attacking police.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, along with the West Bank and Gaza, and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state and consider east Jerusalem their capital.
East Jerusalem includes some of the holiest sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and its fate is among the most divisive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In recent weeks, Palestinian protesters have also clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem over restrictions on outdoor gatherings during Ramadan.