Israel Police and Border Police officers clashed with dozens of protesters in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem Friday afternoon.Two protesters were arrested after throwing rocks and endangering officers on the scene. Balad chairman Sami Abu Shehadeh said he will join protesters at Sheikh Jarrah on Friday "to continue the struggle for the rights of the residents."
"The just struggle of [Sheikh Jarrah's] locals should be shared by all those who seek justice and equality and oppose the occupation," Abu Shehadeh tweeted Friday afternoon, noting that he was on his way to Sheikh Jarrah to show solidarity with residents fighting for their homes.
Protests began in the affluent Arab neighborhood, which is home to several consulates, at 4:00 p.m. Israel time. The IDF has sent reinforcement to the area, preparing for possible riots to break out later during the day.
בדרך לשיח' ג'ראח לחזק את תושביה בימים קשים אלו. מאבקם הצודק של התושבים אמור להיות גם מאבקם של כל שוחרי הצדק והשוויון ומתנגדי העוול והכיבוש.נתראה היום בשיח' ג'ראח בשעה 16:00 להמשיך להיאבק למען זכות התושבים בבתיהם ונגד גירושם.— Sami Abou Shahadeh (@ShahadehAbou) May 7, 2021
MK Abu Shehadeh was joined by other MKs, primarily from the Joint List, including MKs Ofer Cassif, Ahmad Tibi and Osama Saadi. Meretz MK Mossi Raz also attended the protest. "We came here in the hundreds - Palestinians and Jews - to demonstrate against the racist act of theft taking place in Sheikh Jarrah, and against Kahanists and the worse possible racists acting under the active protection of the government," Cassif said in a video taken at the protest.
The MKs claimed that police officers used violence against them and protesters, including using pepper spray and stun grenades.
Cassif claimed that police officers pushed him and caused his glasses to break again, following a similar incident that took place last month.
"Violence was directed toward us [MKs] and towards everyone," he said. "It seems like the Israel Police – or the Bibi-militia to be exact of the Jerusalem District – enjoys breaking my glasses, as this is the second time," he said.
Later on Friday, Tibi told Ynet that he was pushed as well. Video footage from the protest shows the MK shouting "This is illegal," while Border Police officers ignore his plea.Tensions remained high in Sheikh Jarrah throughout the day.
"If they evacuate them - there will be war," one participant from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya told Ynet.
A statement by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, released on Friday and cited by N12, blamed Israel for carrying out illegal actions in Sheikh Jarrah by planning on evacuating Palestinian families from their homes in the mostly Palestinian neighborhood. "The fact that Israel is continuing its illegal and provocative actions in Jerusalem, while violating the rights of Sheikh Jarrah's residents, is a dangerous game," Jordan's foreign minister said.
On Thursday, demonstrations in support of the legal battles of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah took place in Gaza, Palestinian media reported.
Since Sunday, at least 12 Palestinians have been injured in demonstrations for the same cause in Jerusalem; three required medical treatment.
The High Court can either uphold the lower court decisions to evict the Palestinian families in favor of the Nahalat Shimon Company or overturn that decision and allow the Palestinians to stay.