Violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem resumed for the third consecutive night on Sunday and police arrested 18 at protests around the country showing solidarity with protesters in Jerusalem, following days of violence and unrest in the city.
Clashes renewed at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, which has been a flashpoint for rising tensions in recent weeks. Three protesters were reportedly injured.
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The police later said in a statement that "Large police and Border Police forces are currently working near Damascus gate after dozens of lawbreakers started throwing stones and bottles at forces present at the scene." The police added that they are employing riot dispersal measures to restore order.
Protests are also taking place in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem with police saying dozens of Palestinian demonstrators took parts in riots, including throwing fireworks at houses.
"Israel Police and Border Police are taking measures to restore order and prevent residents of the neighborhood from rioting," the police said in a statement.
Meanwhile, police used riot dispersal methods to clear hundreds of protesters in Haifa. Hundreds of protesters also gathered in Nazareth to show their support for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
In Haifa, police said that they had arrested 15 people at the protest for attempting to jump police barriers, "and even attempting to attack officers." In Nazareth hundreds are marching along the city's main road.
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The Haifa police said that "after the protest had been deemed illegal and demonstrators were given a reasonable timeframe to leave the area" police forces had no choice but to use crowd-dispersal methods."
Earlier Sunday, about 150 people clashed with Israeli police forces outside Jerusalem's Hebrew University in a rare escalation at the academic institution.
Dozens of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah hurled stones and other objects at police officers who responded with stun grenades. Three Israeli police officers were lightly injured, and three Palestinians have been arrested. Two other people were lightly injured by tear gas.
Earlier, police closed off the university's main gate, with dozens of students locked inside. The gate was later reopened.
The clashes at the Hebrew University erupted after several Israeli Jews attacked an Isawiyah resident and the youths rushed to assist him, a source told Haaretz.
"The Israel police are acting to restore calm by employing different measures following a violent disturbance near Jerusalem's Hebrew University, in which hundreds of lawbreakers hurled stones at police forces. Three police officers were injured, and three suspects were arrested," the police said in a statement.
Police okays Jerusalem Day Flag March
Police have approved the traditional Jerusalem Day Flag March through the Old City's Muslim quarter, despite warnings that the parade inflame tensions in the city.
The police are expected to allow the march to pass through the Damascus Gate – a sensitive site that has seen multiple violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli police in recent days – on its way to the Western Wall. However, police said, the final decision is dependent on the approval of the political echelon.
At this point, the decision to allow Jews to enter the Temple Mount will be made Monday at 6 A.M., as officials wait to see how events unfold at the site on Sunday night, and following an intelligence assessment. Police have intelligence indicating that there are people intending to provoke violence at Sunday’s Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
There will be no limit on attendance at the march, but police said they will impose a limit on the number of people allowed into the Western Wall complex.
"It will be a complicated night. Already we're seeing [Palestinian] residents of the territories and [Israeli Arab residents of] northern Israel who are attending evening prayers [at Al-Aqsa] for reasons that have very little to do with worship," Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said.
Violence erupted over the weekend on the Temple Mount, at various sites in Jerusalem's Old City and in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah where three families are facing eviction. They follow escalating tensions in the city throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
At least 305 Palestinians and 19 Israeli officers were injured in Friday and Saturday’s confrontations, which drew international condemnations and calls for calm.
For roughly 30 years, Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah have faced the risk of eviction because they live on land that was purchased by Jews at the end of the 19th century in the vicinity of the Tomb of Simeon the Just. The legal battle is being waged between the Palestinian residents and a company called Nachalat Shimon, which is controlled by right-wing activists seeking to bring Jews into the neighborhood.
Noa Shpigel contributed to this report