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Israeli police face off with Palestinians as Jerusalem violence continues

Israeli nationalists plan to parade through the Old City today in an annual flag-waving display for Jerusalem Day.

Clashes in east Jerusalem in the holy city’s worst religious unrest in several years.
Clashes in east Jerusalem in the holy city’s worst religious unrest in several years.
Image: Ariel Schalit/AP

ISRAELI POLICE HAVE faced off with Palestinian protesters in east Jerusalem as the holy city’s worst religious unrest in several years continued yesterday.

The violence came a day before Israeli nationalists plan to parade through the Old City in an annual flag-waving display for Jerusalem Day meant to cement Israeli claims to the contested area.

Addressing a special Cabinet meeting ahead of Jerusalem Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly”.

“We will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all faiths, but we will not allow violent disturbances,” he said.

At the same time, he added: “We emphatically reject the pressures not to build in Jerusalem.”

Israeli police granted approval for today’s parade despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site.

embedded259677577 Palestinians have protested against their forcible eviction from homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Source: Majdi Mohammed/AP

This year the march coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of heightened religious sensitivities, and follows weeks of clashes.

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That, combined with anger in a nearby Arab neighborhood where Jewish settlers are trying to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes, could set the stage for an especially volatile day.

The US, meanwhile, has renewed its “serious concerns” about the situation.

Washington made these known during a phone call between national security advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart.

Sullivan urged Israel “to pursue appropriate measures to ensure calm during Jerusalem Day commemorations”, according to a statement by National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.

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