Following a day of violent demonstrations in riot-racked Jerusalem on the heels of the funeral of an Arab teenager allegedly murdered by Jews, clashes between local Arabs and security forces flared up again on Friday night in the capital and in other parts of Israel with large Arab populations.
After a few hours’ respite, rioting again erupted in various East Jerusalem neighborhoods on Friday night, with police using tear gas to disperse the violent demonstrations.
Meanwhile, in the central Israeli towns of Taibe and Tira, Arab Israelis burned tires and clashed with security forces in protest of the death of the teenager, Muhammed Abu Khdeir.
Dozens of protesters were burning tires and hurling rocks at police while holding a demonstration at the entrance to Taibe, leading police to close off Route 444. Demonstrations were also being held in the Arab Israeli towns of Kalanswa and Baqa al-Gharbiya.
In Shuafat, 16-year-old Abu Khdeir’s home neighborhood, several men reportedly attempted to cut down an electric pole powering Jerusalem’s light rail with a circular saw, and posted a photo of the act to Facebook, before being chased off by police.
Dozens of people were throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police forces in East Jerusalem, who responded with non-lethal weapons to quell the unrest.
Near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, some 40 Palestinians also hurled rocks and rolled burning tires at police forces, Channel 10 reported.
The renewed violence followed several hours of relative calm in the capital after a day of heavy rioting and emotionally charged demonstrations, as Abu Khdeir, an Arab teenager allegedly murdered by Jews on Wednesday, was laid to rest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.
Police officials said there would be increased presence across the city throughout the night, with an emphasis on East Jerusalem and areas prone to violence.
Around 35 Palestinians and 13 police officers were lightly wounded during the day’s events, before the renewal of violence at night.
Thousands of Palestinians, some firing weapons into the air, attended the funeral of Abu Khdeir, whose burned body was found in a Jerusalem forest Wednesday morning in a killing blamed by the Palestinians on Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the murder; police investigators increasingly believe Abu Khdeir was murdered by Jewish terrorists in revenge for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered on June 12, but there has not been a definitive declaration to this effect.
Chanting “with our blood and our spirit we shall sacrifice for the martyr,” mourners carried the shrouded body of Abu Khdeir, 16, through Shuafat as flag-waving crowds thronged the narrow streets, before he was buried in a local cemetery.
“I hope your death brings victory to Palestine,” Abu Khdeir’s mother, Suha, said as her son was laid to rest. “May God burn the criminals who burned my son. I do not wish for any family to experience the sorrows that have come upon us.”
The teenager’s funeral coincided with the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. As it took place, riots broke out in several locations throughout the capital, with hundreds of Arab youths hurling stones and makeshift Molotov cocktails at police officers. Masked protesters hurled rocks at police near the site of the funeral as well. Police blocked all the roads leading from East Jerusalem neighborhood’s to the city’s western half for several hours.
In anticipation of unrest Friday, Border Police in the city had increased their preparedness in Jerusalem, bringing in reinforcements, and limiting access to the Temple Mount to Muslim men 50 years and over, as well as all women.
Just 8,000 worshipers joined the weekly prayers there, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP. Many apparently stayed away fearing clashes with police. On the same day last year police reported a crowd of 80,000.
The police precautions came after two days of clashes between East Jerusalem residents and Border Police officers as tensions escalated sharply surrounding Israeli calls for revenge against Arabs for the killing of the three teens — Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar on June 12; their bodies were found north of Hebron on June 30.
Earlier Friday, clashes broke out between Arab youths and police around the Temple Mount complex. Blasts from stun grenades were heard from the site of the turmoil, as dozens of demonstrators tried to breach a police barrier at an entrance to the compound.
Clashes also broke out in the Ras-al-Amoud neighborhood on the Mount of Olives.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinians reportedly hurled stones at IDF soldiers in three different locations. IDF troops responded both with live fire and rubber bullets, according to Haaretz. Eight Palestinians were reported injured during the clashes, including one who was shot with live ammunition, the IDF said.
Police officials told The Times of Israel they were continuing to investigate whether Abu Khdeir was murdered in a family honor killing, or if it was a nationalistically motivated slaying. According to officials familiar with the case, investigators increasingly view the killing as a revenge attack perpetrated by Jewish terrorists.
AFP, Adiv Sterman and Lazar Berman contributed to this report.