Several dozen far-right Jewish nationalists marched through the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the aftermath of a suspected Palestinian terror attack, chanting “death to terrorists.”
The march — mostly joined by teenagers and young men — was held in response to the stabbing of an Israeli Jewish resident of Sheikh Jarrah Wednesday morning. Moriah Cohen, 26, was stabbed as she accompanied her five children to school, by a person who appeared to be a young girl, video released by police showed.
“Let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes,” the far-right demonstrators sang. The song — based on a biblical quotation — is a favorite of the Israeli radical right, who often swap the word “Philistines” for “Palestine.
During the march, Palestinian counter-protesters scuffled with police along Sheikh Jarrah’s main drag. Officers were filmed seeking to disperse Palestinians, in some cases violently. In one video, a police officer appears to bash a Palestinian demonstrator’s head into a metal pole.
Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood a 10-minute train ride away from Jerusalem’s city center, has emerged as a symbolic flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the past few years, a handful of Jewish nationalists have moved into the mostly Palestinian neighborhood, mostly through complex eviction cases.
A 14-year-old Palestinian girl, apparently a neighbor of the victim, was arrested under suspicion of being the assailant. The teenager denied any connection to the attack, her lawyer, Mohammad Mahmoud, told The Times of Israel.
According to police, the suspect stabbed the woman in the back, as the victim walked her children to school, and then the suspect fled the area.
“I screamed in pain, and my son said to me, ‘Mommy, you have a knife in your back,'” Cohen recounted to Channel 12 News on Wednesday evening.
נערים שצועקים "מוות למחבלים" שייח ג’ראח.. pic.twitter.com/Cz0E0HcHuq
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Tensions in the neighborhood have risen in recent months due to long-simmering court battles over dozens of homes in the neighborhood in which Palestinian families have lived for decades, but which Jewish groups claim legally belong to them.
Many Palestinians and their supporters see that conflict as part of a larger effort by Israel to expunge their presence from the contested capital. The dispute — along with clashes at the Temple Mount — played a role in the Hamas terror group’s decision to fire a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem in May, sparking a brutal 11-day conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The past few weeks have seen a rise in Palestinian terror attacks, with four taking place in Jerusalem alone. In addition to Wednesday’s attack, there was a shooting in Jerusalem’s Old City that left an Israeli civilian dead, a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate, and another stabbing in the Old City.
With the exception of the Old City shooter — middle-aged Hamas member Fadi Abu Shkhaydam — the perpetrators have been overwhelmingly young and fit the profile of “lone wolf” attackers.