'Unprecedented Police Brutality' at East Jerusalem Protest

Left-wing activists protest weekly alongside Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah over settlers' takeover of locals' homes.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Some 300 left-wing activists clashed with police on Friday during the weekly protest at the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Ten activists were detained and held for questioning over blocking roadways and failing to comply with police instructions.

Protesters at a weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah in April, 2010.Credit: Emil Salman

Every weekend, Israeli protesters demonstrate alongside the Arab locals against settler activity in the Arab neighborhood. The demonstrators decry the settlers' takeover of several homes in the area.

Participating in Friday's protest were renowned Israeli author David Grossman and former Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On.

The clash erupted when demonstrators tried to make their way to the contested homes in the neighborhood.

Gal-On and Grossman said that they were pushed aggressively by police officers. Gal-On said that "it was one of the more violent events. We wanted to enter the neighborhood, but the police brutality was unprecedented."

"They pushed, and I too got hit," Gal-On went on to say. "They just kicked the young people who were lying on the ground."

Gal-On added that former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair pleaded with the police to calm the situation, but they were uncooperative.

Some six weeks ago, several hundred Hebrew University students and lecturers marched from the Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem to Sheikh Jarrah in protest over the settlers' takeover of local residents' homes. The protest march included such prominent professors as Ze'ev Sternhell, Yaron Ezrahi, Ariel Hirschfeld and others.

The protesters carried signs calling for and end to settlements in East Jerusalem. "Democracy stops at Sheikh Jarrah," some signs said, while others read "stop ethnic cleansing."

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