Violent clashes broke out in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) Sunday evening, after lawmakers from the Joint Arab List confronted a right-wing lawmaker who set up a temporary office in the area.
MKs Ofer Cassif, Ahmed Tibi, and Osama Saadi from the Joint Arab List set off a new wave of violence in the Jerusalem hotspot Sunday, when they approached MK Itamar Ben-Gvir’s (Religious Zionist Party) temporary parliamentary office, which he set up in the neighborhood following attacks on local Jews this weekend.
The visit by the Joint Arab List MKs sparked violent clashes with right-wing activists who gathered in Shimon Hatzaddik following a spate of attacks on Jewish residents over the past few days.
Police have maintained an elevated presence in the area, and officers deployed to the neighborhood separated the two groups after the violence broke out.
Authorities later barred entrance to the neighborhood to motor vehicles, with the exception of residents.
Jerusalem city councilman Aryeh King told Israel National News Sunday: “I prevented Ahmed Tibi and Ofer Cassif from entering private property.”
“Despite my efforts, police helped them enter, in violation of the law.”
On Friday, a Jewish home was torched in the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood, causing heavy damage to the structure. No injuries were reported in the fire, which was apparently caused by Molotov cocktails.
A day later, Arab rioters clashed with police in the area, and an Arab driver was arrested after his vehicle rammed into a 20-year-old man, leaving him moderately injured.
Last week, yeshiva students were pelted with stones and sprayed with tear gas.
Built on land purchased by a Jewish charity in the 19th century, the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood housed dozens of Jewish families prior to Arab rioting in the 1920s and 1930s, with the area’s remaining Jewish residents forced out in 1948 by the Jordanian occupation.
Following Israel’s liberation of eastern Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish organizations have worked to reclaim Jewish-owned properties in the area.
Evictions of Arab squatters, including a number of pending eviction orders, have drawn international attention, and galvanized Arab rioters.