Israeli Forces Detain 20 Palestinians in Clashes in Jeruslaem's Old City on Muslim Holiday

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 14 were wounded in confrontations near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, signalling mounting tensions ahead of Ramadan

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Border Police officers struggle with a protester in East Jerusalem, Monday.
Border Police officers struggle with a protester in East Jerusalem, Monday.Credit: Noam Revkin Fenton
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Israeli forces detained at least 20 Palestinians in clashes in Jerusalem's Old City, and 14 were wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, four of whom were rushed to hospital.

An 11-year-old child was wounded in the leg by a stun grenade, the Red Crescent said. She was taken to hospital, but her condition remains unclear.

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Confrontations between young Palestinians and police began as Muslims celebrated the Isra and Mi’raj on Monday, commemorating Prophet Mohammed’s nighttime journey and ascent into heaven, according to Muslim tradition.

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Starting in the morning, hundreds of Palestinians arrived to celebrate at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Damascus Gate in the Old City. In addition, a march was held with thousands of Palestinians participating, including families and children.

In the middle of the day, confrontations between Palestinians and police began near Damascus Gate, with Palestinians throwing rocks and bottles at their posts.

The police tried to disperse the crowds using riot control measures such as stun grenades and water cannons. According to Israeli police, four officers required medical attention.

Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Israeli woman was wounded when stones were hurled at her car as she was driving to the West Bank settlement of Eli, according to emergency services. She was taken to hospital in moderate condition, with wounds to her limbs and face.

The events at the Damascus Gate on Monday have increased the tensions in Jerusalem ahead of the Ramadan fast, which will begin in just over a month. During Ramadan last year, riots broke out in Jerusalem that spread to every mixed Jewish-Arab city in Israel.

There has been relative calm in Jerusalem over the past few days, following the decision to postpone the eviction of the Salem family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which had been scheduled to take place soon.

Police said that as opposed to last year, they would avoid placing barriers in the Damascus Gate plaza. However, rising tensions in Jerusalem can be mapped to other factors, including the threat to demolish dozens of buildings in the Jabal Mukhaber and Silwan neighborhoods, and the presence of far-right MK Itamar Ben-Gvir in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The police said its forces were “acting to preserve public order and prevent riots and violence at the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. Riots broke out at the site in the past few hours that including calls for incitement, rock throwing and throwing bottles at the police forces operating there. Police forces are operating there, using riot dispersal means, repelling the rioters and conducting arrests. The Israel Police will continue to act with determination and zero tolerance for violence of any form, disturbances of public order and attempts to illegally attack police officers and civilians.”

Hagar Shezaf contributed to this report.

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