An Israeli man uses pepper spray on Palestinians in the Old City. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Clashes erupted on Sunday after tens of thousands of flag-waving ultra-Israeli nationalists took to the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Israelis were chanting “Death to Arabs,” and made other provocative statements through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem.
Palestinians confronted some Israelis after they pepper sprayed some women near Al Aqsa mosque.
Medics said clashes were reported across the occupied West Bank, injuring over 160 Palestinians, 20 of them hit by live bullets.
Palestinian shop owners in Jerusalem shuttered their stalls hours before the parade was due to start and fighting erupted sporadically as protesters entered the Muslim Quarter.
A video showed a young Israeli man using pepper spray on a Palestinian woman, resulting in an exchange of punches and kicks.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the overwhelming majority of protesters came to celebrate.
An Israeli man was seen pointing a pistol at Palestinians, before being stopped by Israeli security forces.
The annual parade celebrates Israel’s capture of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
The parade has increasingly become a show of strength for Jewish nationalists.
Many protesters sang and danced as they made their way through the narrow stone streets. Others sought confrontation.
“May your villages burn,” a group shouted. Police said a record 2,600 Jews visited the Al Aqsa compound ahead of the march.
Attempting to prevent the visits, the Palestinians threw rocks and set off fire before being driven back by police who fired stun grenades.
The preacher of the mosque, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, denounced their behaviour.
“What happened today in Al-Aqsa mosque hadn’t taken place since 1967,” he told reporters.
Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam. It is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount – a vestige of their faith’s two ancient temples.