Fourteen Palestinians were arrested in Jerusalem on Thursday after unrest following a press conference by a far-right Israeli lawmaker denouncing restrictions on a controversial march, police said.
Israeli nationalists were due to organize the flag march on Thursday, crossing critical areas of East Jerusalem which have seen repeated clashes in recent months between Israeli security forces and the Palestinians.
Israeli authorities have said the march could take place next week if the route is changed.
Scuffles erupted Thursday after Itamar Ben-Gvir, accused by police of fueling unrest in Jerusalem, spoke outside the Damascus Gate in the Old City, the site of clashes between Palestinians and Palestinians last month. Israeli security forces.
“The police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators at the Damascus gate, some of them causing disturbances to public order,” said a police statement.
The police had forbidden Ben-Gvir to go to the old town.
“To decide that an Israeli MP cannot roam free in the Old City of Jerusalem is to offer Hamas a victory,” said Ben-Gvir, surrounded by bodyguards and holding an Israeli flag in his hands.
Right-wing organizers had described the march as a routine demonstration of free speech, but many critics feared it might correspond to already seething tensions.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said the march would spark further violence.
Ben Gvir’s speech came exactly one month after Hamas launched rocket volleys at Israel in “solidarity” with Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem, sparking a deadly 11-day conflict.
This followed days of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians angered by a years-long attempt by Jewish settlers to seize Arab homes.
The protests culminated when Israeli forces stormed the sensitive compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, sacred to Muslims and Jews.
© 2021 AFP