Palestinians and Jewish settlers are confronting each other with hurling stones, chairs, and firecrackers at each other overnight in a stressed Jerusalem vicinity where settler groups are trying to evict several Palestinian families.
The looming ejections fired up protests and clashes in the approach to last month’s 11-day Gaza war and posed a challenge for Israel’s new governing coalition, which includes three pro-settler parties but is eager to sideline the Palestinian issue to evade internal divisions.
Israeli forces and border officials held that they detained four suspects in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. It was uncertain who started the scuffle. One woman was allegedly wounded when she was hit in the back by a stone, police said.
The Red Crescent emergency service said its officials helped 20 Palestinians, 16 of which suffered from pepper spray and tear gas while others were injured by rubber-coated bullets. Two other people were wounded, including an old man who was hit in the head, a statement said.
The Red Crescent said attackers threw stones at one of its ambulances and Israeli forces squirted skunk water at a second ambulance belonging to the service.
The outburst of violence is the latest resistance in Sheikh Jarrah, where weeks of turbulence captured international attention on account of the 11-day Israel-Hamas conflict last month. The cease-fire took effect on May 21, but the long-running movement by Jewish settlers to expel dozens of Palestinian families endures.
Besides this, the sequence of tensions is taking place in an unambiguous early test for Israel’s new coalition government, which is just a week old.
The coalition is established under a rotation agreement with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the head of the right-wing Yamina party. In two years, he will relinquish his position to Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party.
Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted by the coalition after having been in the post of prime minister for 12 years.