Police arrest 14 left-wing activists in Sheikh Jarrah
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. Four demonstrators were hospitalized to undergo medical examinations.
The demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah is held weekly to protest the 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 on Friday began after a small group left the 350 protesters at the usual demonstration site to try to enter the disputed area. The group was protesting a recent police decision to allow right-wing activists to demonstrate 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. Police officers proceeded to arrest them, including Israel Radio reporter Shay Zilber, who was released shortly afterward. Former president of Hebrew University Hanoch Gutfreund was also among the activists blocking the road.
"During Jerusalem Day last week the police showed, without a doubt, that it sees itself as part of the settler movement in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem," one of the protesters said.
"During that entire day, the police allowed hundreds of settlers to enter the neighborhood from all parts of the occupied territories in order to dance and riot in the center of it, while they blocked roads and threatened Palestinian residents," the protester added. "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."