Palestinians fear ‘Israeli violence’ on J'lem Day

PA mufti of Jerusalem warns against attacks by Jews, Palestinian shopkeepers reject police instructions to shutter shops.

Orthodox Jews look out Temple Mount (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Orthodox Jews look out Temple Mount
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Palestinians over the weekend expressed fear that Jerusalem Day celebrations would turn violent as thousands of Israelis are set to march in various parts of the city.
Palestinians shopkeepers in the Old City rejected instructions from the police to close down their shops on Jerusalem Day on Sunday.
The Palestinian Authority mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, warned against attacks on Palestinians, especially in the Old City. He also voiced concern that Jews would try to storm their way into the Temple Mount during Sunday’s celebrations.
The mufti said that the Israeli authorities would be held fully responsible for clashes that could erupt between Palestinians and Israelis during the “provocative” marches, particularly inside the Old City.
Another senior Islamic religious official, Sheikh Yusef Idais, warned that Israelis were preparing to perpetrate “massacres” against Palestinians during Jerusalem Day celebrations.
Idais urged Palestinians to converge on Jerusalem on Sunday to “confront the extremist settlers.” He said that in previous years those who took part in celebrations inside the Old City had chanted “Death to Arabs” and insults against the prophet Muhammad.
Idais predicted that Jerusalem would witness “violent confrontations” during the celebrations and called on Arab youth in the city to put up “strong resistance.”
Representatives of the Palestinian merchants in the city issued a statement in which they said that the purpose of Sunday’s celebrations was to “make Jerusalem a Jewish city and provoke the feelings of Muslims and Christians.”
Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Committee for Defending Silwan, condemned the authorities’ decision to block several roads and neighborhoods during Jerusalem Day, noting that this would disrupt normal life and prevent people from going to work and students from attending school.
Abu Diab said he expected Sunday to be a “dangerous and difficult” day for Arabs in the city.