The tension rose, from provocation to provocation, until an explosion that everyone expected, but that no one knew how to prevent. Since the start of Ramadan on Monday, April 12, access to the Old City of Jerusalem has been placed under the close control of the Israeli authorities. Young Palestinians did not fail to lash out at the police, and then posted some videos of random attacks on Israeli Jewish passers-by on the TikTok social network – a pair of slaps, bullying.
Rumor circulates about Palestinian newsgroups
These images have not escaped the notice of Lehava, a far-right group that former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon wanted to classify as terrorist in 2015. The organization is mobilizing in West Jerusalem, calling for the beating of Arabs , then comes to challenge, Thursday evening the 22nd, the Muslims leaving the al-Aqsa mosque, on the esplanade, the third holy place of Islam. On Palestinian discussion groups, a rumor is circulating that the Jews are trying to take over the plaza, an old claim by religious Zionists who dream of rebuilding a third temple. The defenders of the mosque are mobilizing.
The police too. Dozens of law enforcement officials completely lock down access to the Damascus Gate, the main access point to the Old City of Jerusalem. A truck sprays a putrid liquid on Palestinian protesters. Some brave the pestilential smell to throw a few stones, but are quickly stopped by the police. On the other side, other security forces prevent the Jewish hooligans, who march chanting “Death to the Arabs”, from reaching the Old City.
The clashes are concentrated in the rue Saint-George
A young Palestinian, salesman in a stall, took part in these first scuffles: “It was confusing, because the police were preventing us from moving around. I even took a rubber bullet… The Jewish rioters approached the Damascus gate, but were repulsed. They went up to Sheikh Jarrah. This is where the brawls continued. ” The two sides do not choose Sheikh Jarrah by chance. This Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem is under pressure from settlers, looking for any loophole to settle.
→ READ. In Hebron, the face-to-face tense between settlers and Palestinians
The clashes are concentrated in Saint-George Street, connecting the West to the settlements in the East. From one o’clock in the morning, the night is punctuated by cries of rallying, which in Hebrew, which in Arabic. Stones and fireworks fly from one camp to another. The police charge, multiply the throws of deafening grenades, but when the riot calms down here, it resumes elsewhere.
A cypress blazes like a torch, threatening neighboring trees
At five in the morning, fireworks fell on the premises of OCHA, the United Nations agency responsible for humanitarian coordination in Palestine, in Sheikh Jarrah. In the dark night, a cypress blazes like a torch, threatening the nearby trees. Stunned by the spectacle, the two camps stop the confrontation, before the police arrive and secure the work of the firefighters. Other attacks are occurring in the Old Town. MP Mossi Raz, from the left-wing Meretz party, relayed the video of very young ultra-Orthodox Jews storming Palestinian homes.
At daybreak, the belligerents disperse, leaving the places strewn with scattered stones and burnt tar, while in Sheikh Jarrah, the burnt cypress rains ashes.