Tensions Flare As Palestinians And Israeli Settlers Clash In Jerusalem Neighborhood
Clashes in East Jerusalem left twenty Palestinians injured and led to a firebomb being hurled at a Jewish home on Monday night as tensions flared up between Israeli settler groups and several Palestinian families who are facing eviction from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the Israeli controlled territory.
It’s unclear who started the brawl but police have arrested two 14-year-old Palestinians who have been accused of throwing a firebomb at a Jewish home, Haaretzreported.
The firebombing—which did not cause significant damage—led to an Israeli settler pepper-spraying Palestinian residents which then escalated into chair and stone-throwing between the two groups.
Israeli police stepped in to disperse the crowd with batons, tear gas and stun grenades which caused injuries among 20 Palestinians, according to the humanitarian group Red Crescent, the Associated Press reported.
The Red Crescent has also alleged that the settlers threw stones at one of its ambulances and Israeli forces sprayed skunk water on a second ambulance belonging to the service.
East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood has been at the center of the recent tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians as several Palestinian families face imminent eviction from their homes. An Israeli court had ruled in favor of Jewish settlers’ claim to the land on which the Palestinian homes are located and the issue is now in front of the country’s Supreme Court. The imminent evictions sparked violence in the region last month, leading to 11 days of fighting and resulting in more than 200 Gazan and at least 12 Israeli deaths. A ceasefire was agreed upon by both parties in a deal brokered by Egypt, however, tensions have remained high. The situation boiled over once again last week after thousands of right-wing Israeli nationalists marched through East Jerusalem waving Israeli flags and chanting “death to Arabs.” The march was followed by explosive balloons launched from Gaza which caused multiple fires in southern Israel, which led to retaliatory airstrikes on the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces. Maintaining the delicate ceasefire in the region has emerged as one of the biggest challenges facing the new Israeli government helmed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who came into power following the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu.