Muslim Holy Night Marred by Israeli-Palestinian Violence
Riots again broke out on the Temple Mount and around Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday night as around 90,000 Muslim worshippers converged on the holy city to mark Laylat al Qadr, the Night of Power, which commemorates the angel Gabriel’s revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. About 200 Palestinian protesters and more than a dozen Israeli police officers were injured in the violence. After nightly violence around Damascus Gate throughout the holy month of Ramadan, and with Palestinians facing off against Jews over hotly contested real estate 1 kilometer away in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, Israel faces a swelling chorus of condemnation from the international community. It’s only expected to get worse: Sunday night and Monday are Jerusalem Day on the Hebrew calendar, when Israelis celebrate the 1967 “reunification” of a clearly still painfully divided city. Traditionally, the day includes a march of flag-waving nationalist-religious Israeli youth from Damascus Gate through the Muslim Quarter, ending at the Western Wall. Israel Police’s Jerusalem District Chief Doron Turgeman has recommended that the march be rerouted in light of the current atmosphere, but there are no plans to do so. Coinciding with Jerusalem Day, the Supreme Court was set to hear an appeal in the Sheikh Jarrah case; lower courts have ruled in favor of Jewish claims to the properties in question. That hearing has now been delayed, following a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Benny Gantz. Later this week, Muslims will end Ramadan with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, mark the Iranian-instigated Quds Day to show support for Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, and commemorate Nakba Day, which mourns the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.