In what they called “a Day of Rage,” Palestinians rioted across east Jerusalem on Tuesday, throwing rocks, setting tires and garbage bins ablaze and even using live fire against police forces deployed by the thousands in the capital.
The violence spread from one neighborhood to another. In one incident, youths hoisted a Palestinian flag and shouted, “We shall die and Palestine shall live!”
A police officer was shot and lightly wounded in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amud on Tuesday evening, after the widespread rioting saw more than a dozen security forces wounded and upward of 60 arrests.
The policeman, a member of the elite Yasam unit, sustained a gunshot wound to the hand and was evacuated to the capital’s Hadassah-University Hospital, Mount Scopus. Security forces were searching for the assailant.
The rioting erupted in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, along with the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi Joz, Ras el-Amud, Isawiya, the Shuafat refugee camp and Jebl Mukaber, among other locations.
“They are donkeys and dwarfs!” a woman screamed as riot police and plainclothes security men hauled away a handcuffed, hooded youth.
Throughout the day, more than 60 rioters were arrested for throwing rocks, among other violations, and 15 policemen were wounded. Four of those officers were evacuated for medical treatment, while the rest were treated at the scene.
According to Palestinian reports, more than 100 people sustained injuries during the unrest. Palestinian medics said 10 people were seriously wounded, five from rubber bullets.
Order was restored to the capital for a brief interlude in the afternoon, with the exception of the Shuafat refugee camp, where sporadic clashes were still being reported.
In addition, a Jewish activist who attempted to enter the Temple Mount through the Mughrabi Gate was arrested after he attacked policemen barring his way.
At one point, police used stun grenades to disperse dozens of Arabs who were blocking the Majlis Gate, one of the Old City entrances to the Temple Mount.
The protesters, some of them chanting “Allah hu akbar,” were pushed back into the nearby Via Dolorosa.
In Wadi Joz, mobs of rioters clashed with mounted police, who rode past smoking trash bins that had been set alight in the neighborhood during the melee.
In Ras el-Amud, dozens of Palestinian youths, their faces shrouded in scarves and keffiyehs, repeatedly clashed with security forces throughout the day. The boom of stun grenades could be heard echoing through the neighborhood’s alleyways, even from inside the Old City, which is located across the Kidron Valley from the neighborhood.
Rioting also erupted in Isawiya, in northeast Jerusalem, where dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and burned tires as they clashed with border patrolmen.
In Jebl Mukaber, in the capital’s southeast, dozens of youths approached a police force that had been deployed nearby and began hurling rocks in their direction. The rock-throwers were soon dispersed by police, and five of them were arrested.
Palestinian merchants in east Jerusalem shuttered their stores in solidarity with the protests, and Palestinian schools in the city were closed.
Speaking to reporters after completing a tour of the Western Wall Plaza and the recently rededicated Hurva Synagogue on Tuesday afternoon, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said he wasn’t concerned that the unrest would turn into a “third intifada.” He added, however, that the reinforced police presence in the capital would remain through Sunday.
Cohen also blamed the recent violence on the Palestinian leadership, which the inspector-general said was inciting the public.
Earlier Tuesday, two buses carrying Israeli Arabs to Jerusalem from the North were turned back by police, who suspected that the passengers were heeding calls from Palestinian clerics and officials to join the unrest in the capital. One passenger was arrested after he attacked a policeman who boarded the bus.
Additionally, dozens of buses carrying hundreds of Israeli Beduin from
the Negev will make their way to Jerusalem every day this week, to
protest what they say are Israeli threats against the Aksa Mosque on
the Temple Mount.
The protests, organized largely by the Islamic Movement in Israel, will include busloads of protesters from the Galilee as well.Jerusalem Post staff and AP contributed to this report.