Damascus Gate
Damascus Gate Israel news photo: Flash 90

Two policemen were lightly hurt by rocks and bottles hurled by dozens of Arabs Sunday, during a riot at Jerusalem's Shechem Gate, aka the Damascus Gate.

Police dispersed the riot and arrested two Arabs on suspicion that they threw the rocks that struck the policemen.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that there were some clashes between Jews on the Rikudegalim Flag Dance Parade, and local Arabs. Police “stopped a brawl between Jews and Palestinians and arrested one Palestinian,” the left wing paper said.

The Flag Dance Parade, which is held annually on Jerusalem Day, will pas through the Shechem Gate on its way to the Western Wall (The Kotel), where a mass thanksgiving service will be held to celebrate 48 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

The organizers of the parade called on the tens of thousands of people expected to take part in it not to provoke the Arabs of the Old City. High Court judges approved the parade's path, which passes through the Old City, but stipulated that whoever calls out “racist” slogans during the march will be arrested and charged.

MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) complained Sunday that Jerusalem Day had “turned into the day of hatred and provocation, in which hundreds of provocateurs march through the Muslim Quarter as the lords of the land, while the residents are ordered to shut their shops and cower inside their homes, faced with the uninvited invaders.”

He accused “right wing extremists” of “ceaselessly attempting, on Jerusalem and on all the other days of the year, to ignite the city and destroy it.”

Previous Jerusalem Day parades included confrontations between Jews and Arabs, and led to conflicting versions of what had happened. While Arabs and their left wing sympathizers blamed the Jews for chanting what they said were racist chants, spokesmen on the Jewish side said that the Arabs had physically attacked and threatened the Jews.

The newly appointed Minister of Internal Security, Yariv Levin, toured the city Sunday and commended the police for doing “thorough work” in preparing for Jerusalem Day.