Israel police block far-right protesters from Jerusalem’s Muslim quarter

1. Israel Police Protesters
Israeli forces keep Palestinians at bay in front of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, as they gather to watch Israeli protesters marching toward Allenby square on April 20, 2022, during the “flags march” organized by nationalist parties. (Photo: AFP)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli police prevented hundreds of Jewish ultra-nationalist protesters from approaching Jerusalem’s Muslim quarter on Wednesday to prevent more violence after weeks of tensions.اضافة اعلان

More than a thousand ultra-nationalist demonstrators carrying Israeli flags gathered in the early evening in a square outside the Old City.

The police blocked hundreds of protestors from reaching Damascus Gate, which is the main entrance to the Muslim quarter of the city, according to AFP teams at the site.

Tensions have spiked in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem amid nearly a month of deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank, with the Jewish Passover festival coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We want to go to all of Jerusalem and our government is not letting us,” said Pnina, a 62-year-old civil servant.

Among the demonstrators were supporters of far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, a controversial opposition politician. Some demonstrators shouted “death to the Arabs”.

Ben Gvir himself had been barred from the area earlier in the day by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“I have no intention of allowing petty politics to endanger human lives,” Bennett said in a statement. He said he would not allow Gvir’s “political provocation” endanger Israeli occupation forces. “Bennett, coalition security is not state security,” Ben Gvir responded on Twitter.

Bennett, himself a right-winger and a key figure in Israel’s settlement movement, leads an ideologically divided coalition government.

Earlier this month, his coalition lost its one-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament, after a member left in a dispute over the use of leavened bread products in hospitals during Passover.

Then on Sunday, the Raam party, drawn from the country’s Arab-Israeli minority, suspended its support for the coalition following violence in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, where clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces left more than 170 injured on Friday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, right-wing lawmakers are under pressure to quit the government, which is seen by some on the Israeli right as being too favorable to Palestinians and Israel’s Arab minority.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Jerusalem” and is in contact with parties to press them “to do all they can to lower tensions, avoid inflammatory actions and rhetoric,” according to a statement by his spokesperson in New York.

Last year, escalations in Jerusalem lead to an 11-day Israeli war on Gaza.

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