More Temple Mount clashes in worst Jerusalem violence for months

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More Temple Mount clashes in worst Jerusalem violence for months

Over 200 Palestinians and at least 17 Israeli police officers are hurt, many of them seriously, amid rising tensions in the Old City

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

A Palestinian protester during clashes with Israeli police at Damascus Gate on Saturday night (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
A Palestinian protester during clashes with Israeli police at Damascus Gate on Saturday night (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Clashes broke out for a second consecutive night on Saturday between Israeli police and Palestinians on the Temple Mount amid rising tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Israel’s police chief said more officers would be deployed on the streets of the city this weekend following the previous night’s violence, when over 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police were wounded.

It is among the worst violence seen in Jerusalem for many months.

Thousands of Muslim worshippers returned to Jerusalem on Saturday night to mark Laylat al-Qadr, the most sacred night of the month of Ramadan, at the Al-Aqsa mosque upon the Temple Mount.

The clashes that subsequently broke out saw at least 17 Palestinians wounded, most of them by rubber-coated bullets, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

Earlier in the day dozens of buses filled with Israeli Arab citizens were stopped on the main road connecting Jerusalem with Tel Aviv.

People were ordered off the buses for security checks, prompting passengers to block traffic and pray on the highway in protest.

Israeli police detain a Palestinian man during clashes at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Saturday night (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Israeli national police commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said he had ordered the reinforcements ahead of Laylat al-Qadr, saying “the right to demonstrate will be respected but public disturbances will be met with force and zero tolerance.

“I call on everyone to act responsibly and with restraint.”

Tensions have been growing in Jerusalem over the authorities’ threat to evict dozens of Palestinians embroiled in a legal battle with Israeli settlers over property in East Jerusalem.

An Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions on Monday.

There were also reports of a small protest on Israel’s border with Gaza.

The US, EU and the Middle East Quarter were among those to have call for calm in Jerusalem.

Other Muslim majority countries — including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey — have condemned Israel for its use of force.

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