Israeli police injured 90 Palestinians on Saturday night, May 8, outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, 16 of whom were hospitalized, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, after protesters hurled bottles and rocks at occupation forces and the police responded with stun grenades and water cannon.
Arab-Palestinians protested throughout the country on Saturday over the far-right government’s actions in Jerusalem, including its handling of violent clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday and the pending eviction of dozens of Palestinians from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The chair of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and former Hadash MK, Muhammad Barakeh, called for protests in all Arab cities against the “terror of the occupation in Jerusalem.”
Largely peaceful protests were held in numerous Arab communities in Nazareth and other locations in the Galilee. Protesters blocked traffic on a section of Route 65 near Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. However, five demonstrators were detained by police.
Meanwhile, dozens of protesters carrying Palestinian flags gathered at the Clock Square in Jaffa on Saturday evening, chanting slogans related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the planned evictions from Sheikh Jarrah, and voicing opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday night, police dispersed protesters and set up checkpoints in the vicinity of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood. Saturday night was “Laylat al-Qadr” (“The Night of Destiny”), the most sacred night in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Several buses carrying Arab citizens of Israel from the north of the country to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque were delayed at a police checkpoint on Route 1 to the west of the city on Saturday afternoon, as authorities were bracing for further protests in East Jerusalem after seeing some of its worst clashes in years on Friday during which some 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers were injured.
Israel’s Police have still not relented and said that they will allow a parade of Jewish settlers bearing Israeli flags to pass through the Old City’s Damascus Gate on Monday, May 10, despite the recent mass Palestinian protests in East Jerusalem. Israel’s so-called “Jerusalem Day” is a festive day of commemoration during which the Jewish state celebrates “the unification of Jerusalem” (following the June 1967 war), and during which racists, fascists and settlers traditionally hold provocative and often violent parades in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem.