Nine Arrested in Latest Sheikh Jarrah Clash

Former MK Zahava Gal-On says author David Grossman was pushed by police.

Police have clashed once more with demonstrators in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, arresting nine people. Some 300 demonstrators took part in the weekly protest on Friday, among them author David Grossman.

Every week for the past nine months, the demonstrators have protested against the takeover of homes in the neighborhood by settlers.

Protesters in Sheikk Jarrah, East Jerusalem

Unlike previous demonstrations, the protesters tried to approach a home that has been taken over and is in an area the police cordon off every week to keep the demonstrators out.

Left-wing activists say they wanted to protest that they are discriminated against by the police, who allow settlers and their supporters to reach the site.

Also among the demonstrators trying to break through the police cordon were former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair and former Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On.

A small group of demonstrators managed to get passed the police, who drove back the others.

"This was one of the more violent incidents I remember," Gal-On said. "We wanted to enter the neighborhood, but the brutality of the police has reached new heights. They pushed and I was hit, too. They simply kicked the young people lying on the floor."

Gal-On and other activists said the police also pushed Grossman.

Ben-Yair asked to talk with the officer in charge to calm the situation, but a policeman told him he refuses to negotiate.

The nine who were arrested agreed to sign a promise not to come to Sheikh Jarrah in the next two weeks.

The police say that only eight protesters were arrested and that all will be indicted.

"Once again, as in past weeks, the leftists are complaining after they broke the law," said a senior source in the Jerusalem police. "Dozens of protesters left the protest area set by the court, blocked the road and tried to break into the homes of the Jews. The police force ordered them repeatedly to go back to the protest area and they refused."

Haaretz reported early last week that a letter signed by senior legal experts and public figures was sent to the attorney general calling on him to investigate the conduct of the police toward the Sheikh Jarrah protesters.