'End settlement in Sheikh Jarrah'
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Police officer outside Jewish home in east Jerusalem (Archives)
Some 300 Arabs and left-wing activists, including former minister Yossi Sarid, took part on Friday in the weekly rally against Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Hundreds gather near Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem to protest eviction of families from homes
Twenty leftists were arrested for attempting to break into Jewish-owned homes and trying to attack Jewish worshippers at the tomb of Shimon the Righteous.
Protestors waved signs reading, "Free Sheikh Jarrah" and chanted, "Cowardly settlers, leave the homes at once." The demonstrators also criticized the arrest of several activists during recent protests in the neighborhood.
During the rally, a Jewish man sustained mild injuries from stones thrown at him by left-wing activists.
Speaking to Ynet, Sarid, a former chairman of the Meretz Party, called the arrests "arbitrary and unruly."
"I have been following the developments here for the past few months and I have read about what the police did over the past week. I became nauseous and wanted to vomit," he said.
"We are dealing with a Jerusalem mayor (Nir Barkat) who is in way over his head, and a prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) who is pulling the strings behind the scenes, like a scoundrel."
Former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg and Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh also took part in the rally.
Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was among the 17 activists who were detained during last week's rally. "We are determined not to let these scare tactics deter us," he said, referring to the arrests. "The protests are against the expulsion of Palestinian families whose homes are being taken over by settlers."
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report