Violence has erupted in and around the walled 'old city' section of Jerusalem during Muslim holidays after on Thursday night far-right Jewish groups staged a large demonstration at the Damascus Gate where they loudly chanted "death to Arabs".
Counter-protests by Palestinian youth quickly broke into fights between the two groups and clashes with police, as security services attempted to disperse rioters. Reuters reports on Friday that "After a night of violence in Jerusalem, Israeli police made over 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured during Ramadan clashes in the contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Hundreds of mostly orthodox Jewish youth marching through downtown Jerusalem towards Damascus Gate, amid chants of “Death of Arabs!” pic.twitter.com/k8Rh85lAaJ— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) April 22, 2021
A number of journalists and commentators are observing the Jewish mobs are essentially seeking to ethnically cleanse the old city - which many Israeli's deem the authentic capital of Israel - by way of a mass pogrom.
Here's more via Reuters on the clashes, which have been nightly since the start of Ramadan:
Police deployed armored vehicles spraying foul-smelling skunk water towards the two groups – Palestinians gathered around Jerusalem’s historic Damascus Gate and hundreds of right-wing Israelis several hundred meters away.
Clashes and other violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred nightly since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Palestinians say police have tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening gatherings outside Damascus Gate, an historic landmark on the north side of the Old City and adjacent to several Palestinian neighborhoods.
Hundreds of far-right Israeli activists took to the streets of Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday night chanting "death to Arabs" and “Arabs get out. pic.twitter.com/nr84PjFQZP— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) April 23, 2021
Despite the Muslim-Jewish tensions, this area of Jerusalem has historically had a large Palestinian Christian presence, also including Greek and Armenian Orthodox Christians as well.
The ultra-nationalist Jewish groups were filmed Thursday night entering the old city's streets while vowing to kick out Palestinian families.
This sparked multiple instances of Palestinians attacking Jewish individuals on the streets in return, as horrific footage shows...
Police spox says Jewish man in disturbing video was pelted by rocks while driving and was attacked when he attempted to escape the mob on foot. His car was incinerated. (Not Wadi Joz, but near Rockefeller Museum not far from Damascus Gate.) pic.twitter.com/kV19Qr6SRq— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) April 22, 2021
Cars and trash bins were also set on fire overnight; however, the chaos turned to an uneasy calm by daytime Friday, which saw thousands of Muslims enter al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers.
Watch Israelis chanting " Death to Arab" in the occupied Jerusalem.— Muhammad Smiry 🇵🇸 (@MuhammadSmiry) April 23, 2021
Dozens of Palestinians were injured in clashes pic.twitter.com/zJnMT81PBX
Palestinian Muslims have in the past clashed with Israeli police at Damascus Gate over attempts to organize public worship events there. The city is on edge headed into the weekend, as more protests are expected.
In one week tens of thousands of Christians, including foreign pilgrims from Greece, Russia, and across Eastern Europe are expected in Jerusalem for the Orthodox Church's Easter (Pascha) celebrations, which is likely to cause further tensions with Jewish settler groups.
Meanwhile, things look to continue into Friday night and the weekend...
Palestinians protest near the al-Aqua mosque in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/YXxuEoj7hs— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) April 23, 2021