search

Old City tense as Jews, Palestinians and cops engage in Jerusalem Day scuffles

Palestinians lift their national flag on a fence across from Israelis lifting theirs at the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, as Israelis mark Jerusalem Day, on May 29, 2022. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
Palestinians lift their national flag on a fence across from Israelis lifting theirs at the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, as Israelis mark Jerusalem Day, on May 29, 2022. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The atmosphere in the Old City is tense, with Jewish religious nationalists, young Palestinian men and Israeli police engaging in occasional brawls.

“I will take one revenge for both my eyes against Palestine — damn them,” sing Jewish teenagers, modifying a Biblical verse sung by Samson about the Philistines.

Another advises his friends: “The next time you see Arabs running, stick out your legs and trip them.”

Palestinians run by, some throwing bottles at Jewish Israelis standing near the Chain Gate to the Temple Mount. The Israeli teens give chase, with the police in hot pursuit.

A young Palestinian man pushes a police officer. Several shove back, occasionally hitting him with clubs as he drags his feet while walking away.

Other Palestinians scuffle with Israelis farther down the alleyways winding to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Plainclothes security officers dot the alleyways. Many shops and stands are closed and deserted.

“Every year they come here and provoke us. But this year is worse. It feels like a challenge,” says a Palestinian bystander, who declines to be identified.

Israeli marchers say they’re the ones under attack.

“They call us a provocation. But if I tell you I’m provoked by you breathing, how is that any different,” says Ori, a Jerusalem resident in his 20s.

Ori says that local Palestinians have repeatedly provoked, cursed and aggressed against the marchers. He denies that the marchers act violently, but says that if any do “it’s an exception that doesn’t match the rule.”

comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed