Tensions rise as far-right Israeli MP sets up Sheikh Jarrah office

1.Sheikh Jarrah 3
A Palestinian man holds a Palestinian flag while confronting Israeli Jewish settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on February 13, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday, as a visit by a controversial far-right Israeli lawmaker inflamed tensions.اضافة اعلان

Israeli occupation forces said two people were arrested as they tried to contain "a violent riot", in the area of annexed East Jerusalem that has emerged as a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation of the city.

Scuffles broke out as Itamar Ben Gvir of the far-right Religious Zionism alliance opened a parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah, in what he described as an effort to show support for its Jewish residents.

More than 200,000 Jewish settlers live in East Jerusalem, in communities that are illegal under international law.

Efforts by settler groups to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital, have further fueled hostilities.

Ben Gvir, a Jewish nationalist with a long history of incendiary comments about Palestinians, accused police of failing to react to alleged arson attacks on a settler home in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Palestinian Authority, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, condemned Ben Gvir's visit as a "provocative and escalating move that threatens to ignite ... violence that will be difficult to control."

Tensions that erupted in Sheikh Jarrah last year — as several Palestinian families faced eviction by settler groups — in part sparked the Israeli war on Gaza in May.

Hamas warned there would "consequences" over Israel's repeated attacks on Sheikh Jarrah.

Palestinians across East Jerusalem accuse Israeli occupation forces of using heavy-handed tactics to quell protests.

Six people were arrested in the neighborhood during unrest late Saturday.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed in in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

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