Clashes erupted today between Israeli police and protesters expressing their support for Palestinian families threatened with eviction in the Sheikh Jara district of East Jerusalem, in the occupied Palestinian sector and annexed by Israel.
Laying prayer rugs on the asphalt of a street, Palestinians prayed before joining in with those protesting against the expulsion of Palestinians from the neighborhood, which has become a symbol of the struggle against Israeli settlement activity in the Middle East.
“My duty as a Palestinian is to be here for every Palestinian who fights for his land,” said 30-year-old Abdullah Grifat.
When security forces called on protesters to clear the street, they refused. The cavalry then turned on the small crowd, according to AFP reporters at the scene.
An AFP reporter saw two people being held by police. But police said no arrests had been made, citing “unrest”.
Palestinian protesters also clashed with Israeli forces in Hebron and Beita in the West Bank, which has occupied Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory since 1967.
In Beita, northwest of the West Bank, a French Agency photographer was injured by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli forces. According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, 23 Palestinians were injured.
Clashes erupted in Sheikh Jara on Sunday between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters, 31 of whom were injured, following a visit by an Israeli far-right lawmaker who went to support the Jewish people.
In Sheikh Jara, several Israeli families are threatened with eviction.
In May 2021, demonstrations in support of these families turned into incidents and hundreds of Palestinians were injured. The Palestinian movement Hamas fired rockets from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza into Israel, which responded and an 11-day war ensued.
Hamas warned again on Thursday that “the violation of the red lines in Sheikh Jara” could “prepare the atmosphere for the next explosion”.
On Friday, representatives of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), accompanied by members of Palestinian NGOs, visited one of the families who may be persecuted.
“The United Nations has repeatedly called for an end to evictions and demolition in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” OCHA said in a statement.
More than 300,000 Palestinians and 210,000 Israeli settlers now live in East Jerusalem.
Israeli settlement activity is illegal under international law.