Dozens of Arabs arrested for violence on Jerusalem Day

Palestinians rioted on Temple Mount, in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and parts of Judea and Samaria.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel NewsDozens of Arabs arrested for violence on Jerusalem Day

More than 50 Arabs were arrested by the end of Jerusalem Day Sunday for disorderly conduct and violence during the celebrations that saw some 70,000 participate in the Flag March to the Old City.

While a record 2,626 Jews celebrated the capital’s reunification by visiting the Temple Mount itself, Arabs threw chairs, rocks and firecrackers at the security forces guarding the visitors. A video circulating on social media showed a crane that had been brought into Al-Aqsa Mosque to enable Arabs within to hurl objects from the highest windows of the religious site.

There were no reported injuries on the Mount, but at least 18 suspected rioters were arrested there, the police said.

At least three Jewish civilians and five police officers were injured in riots elsewhere in Jerusalem, police said, including a bodyguard of Likud MK Miri Regev. He was struck in the head with a rock that had been aimed his protectee near Damascus Gate, and was taken to hospital with light injuries.

Several other clashes broke out at the volatile site, both before and during the Flag March. Arabs threw stones and bottles at police and fought with some Jewish nationalists, who exchanged punches, threw things and squirted pepper spray at each other.

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At a few points in the Muslim Quarter, groups of young Jewish males shouted such epithets as “Death to Arabs.” Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said they had come “with the clear intention of disrupting [the parade], to incite and to try and harm Arab citizens,” and called their actions “ugly, racist behavior that cannot be tolerated.”

Scuffles also broke out in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

In the seamline neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, both Jews and Arabs threw stones at each other and claimed that their car windows were smashed. The security forces used a water-spraying cannon to disperse the crowds.

And in the neighborhood of Sur Baher, Kan News showed fireworks being fired directly at police forces on the street, who are then seen running toward the source of the shooting.

The Palestinian Red Crescent claimed that several dozen Arabs were injured in confrontations both in Jerusalem and in Palestinian towns in Judea and Samaria such as Huwara and near Ramallah, with four requiring hospitalization.

It was unclear if any of the Jews were arrested for fighting, although police said several were detained on the Temple Mount for waving Israeli flags and delaying the entry of other visitors. However, there were also groups who were left undisturbed as they sang Israel’s national anthem, prostrated themselves in prayer or waved flags on the holy site.

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In all, more than 2,000 police officers were spread throughout the city to keep the peace during a day when, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Flying the Israeli flag in the capital of Israel is self-evident,” yet many Arabs, including Israeli citizens, see it as a provocative act.

Gaza terror groups threatened rocket fire over the march and what they described as “Israeli aggression” against the Al Aqsa Mosque. But no rockets were fired.

Jerusalem Day marks the anniversary of the city’s reunification during the Six-Day War of 1967.