'Death to Arabs': Over 100 Palestinians wounded as Jewish extremists stage provocative march in Jerusalem

'Death to Arabs': Over 100 Palestinians wounded as Jewish extremists stage provocative march in Jerusalem
Far-right Jewish extremists pledged to 'burn Arabs' and 'bury them alive' in a march organised to 'reclaim Jerusalem' from Palestinians.
3 min read
23 April, 2021
The march was organised by far-right anti-Palestinian activists [Getty]
More than 100 Palestinians were wounded on Thursday evening during clashes triggered when Israeli extremists marched without intervention from the Israeli police through occupied Jerusalem chanting "Death to Arabs!".

The march, organised by Jewish supremacist organisation Lehava, came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in what was seen as an additional provocation by Palestinian residents.

Lehava - a Hebrew acronym that stands for the Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land - was founded by followers of the banned Kach movement, a racist group designated as a terrorist organisation in Israel, the US and the EU.

It campaigns against relationships and marriage between Jews and non-Jews and has carried out regular attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis.

The Joint List, a Palestinian-Israeli political coalition with six seats in the Israeli parliament, decried Thursday's violence as a "joint aggression" by Israeli police and "Jewish extremist gangs".

Hundreds of Lehava supporters marched from Zion Square in West Jerusalem towards the Old City on Thursday evening in what organisers referred to as an attempt to "restore Jewish dignity".

"We've come here tonight to clarify to anyone who thinks otherwise - Jerusalem is ours!" Lehava leader Ben-Zion Gopstein was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post

Read more: Palestinians furious after Israel prevents Al-Aqsa call to prayer on first day of Ramadan

The planned march was preceded by calls for violence on social media.

"We're burning Arabs today, the Molotov cocktails are already in the trunk," Haaretz quoted one message in an organising WhatsApp group as saying.

Another message on the group said that activists "must break their faces, bury them alive".

At Zion Square far-right activists assaulted left-wing counter-demonstrators, with Lehava supporters lighting dumpsters on fire in the Old City and attempting to break in to Palestinian homes.

Jerusalem's Old City has been a flashpoint for violence in recent weeks as Israeli forces curtail access to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex during Ramadan.

Violence also broke out at the Mahane Yehuda market, where Jewish extremists attacked Palestinian restaurant workers.

Lehava supporters also attempted to enter Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied east Jerusalem where several families were recently evicted from their homes, but were stopped by police.

At least 50 people were arrested, including both right-wing Jewish extremists and Palestinians. 

Of the 105 Palestinians wounded, 22 were hospitalised with moderate injuries. 

At least one Palestinian was hospitalised from a head wound after being shot by the Israeli Border Police, according to Israeli media reports.

Several more were wounded by rubber-coated bullets fired by police, sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.

At least one police officer was also wounded, reportedly as Palestinian counter-protesters hurled stones at far-right activists and Israeli forces.

Earlier this week, six people were arrested after far-right activists patrolled central Jerusalem, attacking passers-by who appeared to be Palestinian with stones and tear gas. Those arrested were later released by police.

The attacks followed a series of TikTok videos ostensibly showing young Palestinians assaulting Jewish Israelis in the city. Several of the alleged attackers were arrested by police, as well as people who filmed and shared the videos.

In a tweet on Friday, the US embassy called for an "end to incitement, a return to calm, and respect for the safety and dignity of everyone in Jerusalem".

Israel has illegally occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli authorities annexed east Jerusalem shortly afterwards, sending hundreds of thousands of settlers to live there in contravention of international law and evicting Palestinians from their homes in an attempt to alter the demographic make-up of the holy city. 

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