After a few hours’ respite, rioting was once again reported in various East Jerusalem neighborhoods on Friday night, with police using tear gas to disperse the violent demonstrations.
The renewed violence followed several hours of relative calm in the capital after a day of heavy rioting and emotionally charged demonstrations, as an Arab teenager allegedly murdered by Jews was laid to rest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.
But confrontations were again reported at night, with dozens of people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police forces, who responded with non-lethal weapons to quell the unrest.
The teenager’s funeral coincided with the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. As it took place, riots broke out in several locations throughout the capital, with hundreds of Arab youths hurling stones and makeshift Molotov cocktails at police officers. Masked protesters hurled rocks at police near the site of the funeral as well. Police blocked all the roads leading from East Jerusalem neighborhood’s to the city’s western half for several hours.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinians reportedly hurled stones at IDF soldiers in three different locations. IDF troops responded both with live fire and rubber bullets, according to Haaretz. Eight Palestinians were reported injured during the clashes, including one who was shot with live ammunition, the IDF said.
Israeli police and Palestinian protesters are clashing in Jerusalem where thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of an Arab teenager who, Palestinians believe, was killed by Israeli extremists in a revenge attack.
Police used teargas and stun grenades against hundreds of Palestinians outraged over the murder, who pelted rocks at law enforcement officers.
On Friday, Israeli officials handed over the body of the murdered boy to his family after Muslim prayers. Partially wrapped in a traditional headscarf, the body – said to be badly burnt – was carried by mourners aloft on a stretcher through East Jerusalem, The Associated Press reports.
Palestinian leaders have not waited for the results of the autopsy of Muhammad Abu Khdeir to decide that it was “settlers” who kidnapped the East Jerusalem 16-year-old on Wednesday morning and burned him to death.
Clashes between police and Palestinians continued before, during and after the youth was laid to rest in his home Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat on Friday afternoon, with Palestinian news agencies reporting over 20 people injured from rubber bullets. Israel Radio reported 13 police officers were lightly injured in the clashes.
Tensions were high in Jerusalem as Abu Khdeir’s funeral took place in the heat of the day, following the first Friday prayers of Ramadan. Riots in the eastern neighborhoods of Shuafat, Beit Hanina and Ras Al-Amoud had been continuing on and off for the third consecutive day.
The PA president made no reference to the violent clashes which were taking place across Jerusalem, and did not call for cooler heads to prevail. He apparently felt he had lost the remaining political and popular clout that would have allowed him to do so.
The PLO, which Abbas chairs, was harsher in its criticism of Israel, which has not yet officially decided whether the killing was criminal or nationalistic in nature.
With no leadership speaking to or on behalf of Jerusalem’s Palestinians, neither in the PA nor in the Israeli Knesset, it will be the street which decides whether it now opts for escalation or calm. We’ll all see in the next few days which they choose.