Palestinian-Israelis join protests as Israel ramps up Jerusalem assault on worshippers

Palestinian-Israelis join protests as Israel ramps up Jerusalem assault on worshippers
Palestinian citizens of Israel have taken part in demonstrations in Haifa and Nazareth.
4 min read
10 May, 2021
Israeli police detain a demonstrator in Haifa [Getty]
Israeli police arrested at least 18 protesters on Sunday evening in Haifa and Nazareth, where Palestinian citizens of Israel joined demonstrations in solidarity with Jerusalemites threatened with police violence and forced displacement in the holy city.

Hundreds of people protested in Haifa's central Ben Gurion Avenue, chanting slogans in solidarity with four Palestinian families faced with expulsion from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Police fired sound grenades and physically assaulted protesters in the northern city, The New Arab's sister site Arab48 reported.

At least 15 protesters, most of them university students, were arrested in Haifa, lawyer Hassan Mourid told Arab48.

Eight of the detainees were released on Monday. It is not clear whether they face charges.

Relatives and advocates allege the detainees were assaulted by police both during their arrests. Six of the detainees were admitted to hospital after police violence, said lawyer Hassan Jabareen of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Suhair Badarneh, the mother of detained activist Majd Kayyal, told Arab48 her son was "assaulted by the police... and dragged into a police car without providing any medical care".

The father of another detainee, 19-year-old Taufiq Natour, said police violence was widespread on Sunday evening.

"I saw police officers trample on a girl in the demonstration. The racism we face falls under the name of ethnic cleansing," he told Arab48.

At least three demonstrators were arrested in the Palestinian-majority city of Nazareth, where protesters marched from the Mary's Spring square to the police station.

All three remain in custody after their detention was extended by a Nazareth court on Monday.

However the number of detainees in Nazareth may be as high as 14, lawyer Ashraf Mahroum told Arab48. The advocate alleged lawyers were being prevented from meeting with detainees held at a local police station.

Protesters in the city raised Palestinian flags and chanted in solidarity with the Sheikh Jarrah families and with worshippers besieged by Israeli police in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

'A source of pride'

Police stormed Al-Aqsa, which is also known as the Temple Mount, for the third day in a row on Monday.

More than 300 Palestinians have been injured as Israeli police fire rubber-coated bullets and sound grenades inside the compound, which is Islam's third holiest site, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Monday.

The humanitarian organisation claims medics have been prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa complex to provide care for injured worshippers, thousands of whom have congregated at the site during the last few days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Muna Al-Kurd, an activist and journalist who is among the Palestinians threatened with expulsion from Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli authorities, welcomed the solidarity demonstrations in Nazareth and Haifa.

"The numbers we see [demonstrating] are a source of pride for us," Kurd told Arab48. "It indicates that our people are conscious and our struggle is one, with the [Israeli] occupation."

The demonstrations have also received backing from Ayman Al-Odeh, head of Israel's largest Palestinian-led political party.

"Anyone who wants live in peace and security must see themselves as part of the just cause of East Jerusalem Palestinians," Odeh said on Monday during a visit to Sheikh Jarrah.

"The essential thing is - there is an occupation. As long as there is an occupation, there will be resistance," the Joint List leader said.

Speaking on Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh linked the attempt to take over homes in Sheikh Jarrah to the original displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948, known in Arabic as Al-Nakba.

"The people of the neighborhood, who are now threatened with displacement from their homes, were previously displaced from their homes in Haifa, Jaffa, and Acre during the Nakba in 1948, the 73rd anniversary of which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr," Shtayyeh said, referring to the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month.

Palestinians who were able to remain in their homes or were displaced within what became the state of Israel later became Palestinian citizens of Israel.

They make up more than 20 percent of Israel's population but human rights groups say Palestinian citizens are denied key rights and face widespread discrimination.

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