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Clashes Over Ramadan Gatherings Escalate in Jerusalem
Israeli security forces stand guard as Jewish protesters from the extremist Lehava organization gather outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, April 22, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

Clashes Over Ramadan Gatherings Escalate in Jerusalem

Clashes erupted Thursday night in east Jerusalem between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces, as Jewish extremists called for “Death To Arabs,” laying bare simmering tensions in the holy city. Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 105 Palestinians were injured, with 22 hospitalized. Some 20 Israel Police officers also were injured. The violence took place near the Old City of Jerusalem, amid a dispute over evening gatherings at Damascus Gate after iftar, the breaking of the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslim worshippers usually gather in large numbers, including on the steps of Damascus Gate. The tense incident erupted after videos posted online showed Palestinians, including journalists, being harassed Wednesday night by Jewish youths shouting “Death to Arabs.” Following Wednesday’s incidents, 70 people – both Israelis and Palestinians – were arrested, police said in a statement. Separately, on Thursday night, the Israeli extreme-right-wing group Lehava organized a march in west Jerusalem, attended by hundreds protesting against anti-Jewish violence, the police said. A video posted earlier this week on the social media app TikTok, purporting to show a Palestinian man slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on Jerusalem’s light rail train has drawn protests from Israelis and calls by some right-wing politicians for tougher police action. The incidents, which followed the start of Ramadan on April 13, threaten to break a sustained period of relative quiet in a contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

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