Large numbers of police were deployed in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Monday, using stun grenades to disperse young Palestinians who had gathered in the neighborhood.
Supporters of the Likud party rallied nearby with Israeli flags, as far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir returned to a makeshift office he set up in the flash point neighborhood.
Ben-Gvir claimed that he had received a number of offers to get him to leave the neighborhood, but that he insisted that a home in which a Jewish family lives be guarded around the clock. "All I am asking if for a police car or police post so that the family can walk around here, and unfortunately this has not been done up to now. And therefore, I am not leaving."
Political leaders fear that the clashes in Sheikh Jarrah may bring about an escalation of the security situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a meeting to assess the situation with Public Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Shin Bet security service officials.
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“We don’t need politically motivated provocations that will inflame the area. We don’t need Ofer Cassif, Ben-Gvir or [Ahmad] Tibi to run Jerusalem for us,” Bennett said, referring to two lawmakers belonging to the Joint List. “We will take care of this and bring stability and security to the city’s residents.”
Ben-Gvir, a member of the Religious Zionism party, ascribed his decision to open the office to a fire that broke out two days ago in a Sheikh Jarrah apartment where a Jewish family was living. He described the fire as one in a series of attacks against the family.
On Monday, the police announced that together with the Shin Bet, they had arrested two people suspected of using Molotov cocktails to torch the apartment. Clashes in the area on Sunday left 31 Palestinians lightly wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.