Dozens hurt and arrested as Jewish and Arab extremists clash in Jerusalem
Written by The Ministry of Jesus Christ on April 23, 2021
Dozens of people were injured and arrested late Thursday night as far-right Jewish extremists marched into east Jerusalem, chanting “Death to Arabs.”
The protests took place mainly at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City where Arab youth hurled rocks and bottles at police as the daily Ramadan fast came to an end. The Jewish group – led by the far-right Lehava organization – announced earlier in the day that it would march to the gate to stop the Arabs and remind them who Jerusalem belongs to.
Israel Police deployed throughout the city to tackle the foot traffic and in an attempt to prevent the violence. The goal of the police throughout the night was to keep the two groups as far away from each other as possible.
Police forces successfully broke up some of the protests, warning the protesters – numbering in the hundreds – beforehand, starting to push them towards Highway 1.
A Jerusalem Post correspondent confirmed that the Jewish protesters were pushed toward the Jerusalem Municipality building, while the Arab protesters were directed in the direction of Salah a-Din street.
Police forces have begun to break up the protests, warning the protesters beforehand, starting to push them towards Highway 1. (Credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Arab youth opened the night by lighting fireworks at Damascus Gate, calling out “Allahu akhbar.” At the same time, Israeli media reported, hundreds of Jewish youth from the far-right extremist Lehava organization arrived at the gate from Zion Square along Jaffa Street, yelling “Death to Arabs,” and “Revenge.” They held up signs that read “Death to terrorists,” according to N12.
Protesters at Damascus Gate. (Credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
The tension accumulated to an instance of bottle throwing, at which point the police arrived to break up the fight.
Using stun grenades, they created a human blockade of police officers to prevent any violence. Meanwhile, Arab youth continued to throw stones and fireworks towards the officers.
Eventually, the Lehava teens broke through the wall of cops.
“We’ve come here tonight,” Ben-Zion Gopstein, head of Lehava, said, “to clarify to anyone who thinks otherwise: Jerusalem is ours!”
Police forces eventually succeeded in creating and maintaining space between the two groups, with the goal of stopping the protests from bleeding into the Old City.
The Post correspondent reported that few Arabs tried to reach the Jewish activists, with stones flying back and forth in the process. Several were detained.
Mobs of Jewish demonstrators tried to break through police barricades and enter the city through Damascus gate, Kan News reported.
As police began to attempt to clear the protesters out of the area, dumpsters were lit on fire near Damascus Gate.
Fires burn through dumpsters as the protests at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City continue, April 22, 2021. (Credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
A number of policemen were injured in the clashes. One officer sustained injuries to his head from a rock that was thrown at him.
One of the Israeli Police offers who was hit by a stone being thrown at him during the night of Arab and Jewish protests in Jerusalem during Ramadan, following nights of violent incidents, April 22, 2021. (Credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Four individuals were arrested along Jaffa Street, by Jaffa Gate, for attacking a passerby, who slipped through the crowd before he could be identified.
Sources confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that police searched cars and performed thorough security checks on civilians in the general vicinity of activity ahead of the protests, earlier in the evening. Security forces were positioned near Damascus Gate as well as in other areas in the center of town.
Dozens of police officers, all fully armed, stood along Jaffa street, a central road in Jerusalem along which protesters were reportedly gathering.
The police horses were seen trotting along the street of Mahaneh Yehuda Market and officers on motorcycles were speeding down along the light rail tracks.
Drivers reported police stop-and-searches in the region, as well.
Lehava announced on Wednesday that it was planning a march while Ramadan services on the Temple Mount continue, to protest the recent violence exhibited towards Jews over the last week.
Police arrested over 50 individuals for disturbances in Jerusalem and 20 officers were injured. Some of the instances were filmed and uploaded online.
The recent increase in violence incidents and public disturbances are due to rising nationalistic tensions, while Ramadan continues in the Arab sector.
Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.