Police arrest 14 protesters in Sheikh Jarrah
Left-wing activists say police showed it aligned itself with settlers when it allowed them to enter the neighborhood on Jerusalem Day.
Police arrested 14 left-wing activists on Friday during a protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The protesters reported brutality on the part of police forces and four demonstrators were hospitalized to undergo medical examinations.
The demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah is held weekly to protest a Jewish takeover of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem through the use of ownership documents dating from the period of the British mandate in Palestine.
The clashes began after a small group left the 350 protesters at the usual demonstration site to try to enter the conflicted area. The group was protesting a recent police decision to allow right-wing activists to protest in the area on Jerusalem Day this past Wednesday, as opposed to leftist activists who haven't been allowed to enter the neighborhood.
The activists were stopped at the police barricade and several laid down on the road in protest. The police then proceeded to arrest them, including Israel Radio reporter Shay Zilber, who was released shortly afterward. Among the activists who blocked the road was also former president of Hebrew University, Hanoch Gottfreund.
"During Jerusalem Day last week the police showed that without a doubt, it sees itself a part of the settler movement in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem," one of the protestors said.
"During that whole day, the police allowed hundreds of settlers to enter the neighborhood from all parts of the occupied territories in order to dance and riot at the center of it, while they blocked roads and threatened Palestinian residents. At the same time, police prevented a group of 40 left wing activists to stand by the Palestinian residents and called the leftists' presence in the neighborhood an illegal gathering," the protester added.