Arabs clashed with Jewish marchers in the Old City of Jerusalem, and rioted in the nearby Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood during a heavily policed Jerusalem Day march, but there were no major injuries recorded during the 55th anniversary of the liberation of eastern Jerusalem..
Police said 50,000 Jews marched through the Old City on Sunday, Jerusalem Day, the Hebrew calendar anniversary of Israel’s capture of the area in the 1967 Six-Day War. A record 2,600 Jews visited the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
A group of Jewish marchers reportedly shouted “Death to Arabs” and “may your villages burn.” Some Arabs rushed the marchers, and there were fights. There were reports of minor injuries. Media reported police arrested about 50 people, most of them Arabs.
Kann, Israel’s public broadcaster, reported Jerusalem Arabs stoning vehicles and Jews responding to Arab attacks with pepper spray. There were some minor injuries.
The day culminated with tens of thousands of Jews dancing at the Western Wall, the Jewish holy site that is adjacent to the Temple Mount.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he would not tolerate Jewish extremists who tried to provoke a conflict and had instructed police to arrest rioters. “The overwhelming majority of participants have come to celebrate but unfortunately there is a minority that has come to set the area ablaze, take advantage of the government’s strong position against Hamas threats, and trying to use force in order to ignite a conflict,” he said.
The Gaza-based terror group Hamas used the planned Jerusalem Day celebration last year as among its pretexts for launching rockets into Israel, sparking an 11-day conflict in which more than 230 Arabs and 12 Israelis were killed.
Bennett, whose governing coalition is hanging by a thread, is eager to stem tensions ahead of a visit next month by President Joe Biden. The region has been roiled by a spate of deadly Arab terrorist attacks and unsettled by Israel’s recent announcement of new settlement building.