Israeli soldiers and policemen abducted, on Sunday evening, nine Palestinian youths, including a woman and a medic, during a protest at the Nablus Road in occupied East Jerusalem. The residents were protesting a provocative march carried out by fundamentalist settlers “celebrating” the so-called “reunification of Jerusalem” – Jerusalem Day.Dozens of local residents, a number of international peace activists and several leftist Jewish-Israelis, held their peaceful protest carrying Palestinian flags and chanting for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation, the Quds Net media agency reported.
Fundamentalist settlers were also holding their protest in front of Bab al-Amoud, one of the main gates of occupied East Jerusalem. The settlers were “celebrating” the so-called ‘Jerusalem Day’, May 20, the “reunification of Jerusalem”.
The soldiers attacked the Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters, and prevented Palestinian reporters and field researchers from documenting the incidents.
Some of the kidnapped Palestinians were identified as Omar Abu Rmeila, Farouq Shqayyar, Asmaa’ Shiokhy, Moath Sbeih and medic Abdullah ash-Shalloudy. All kidnapped Palestinians were moved to a nearby Israeli police station.
The Quds Net said that dozens of Israeli soldiers, policemen and members of the so-called Border Guard Units were deployed in Jerusalem, and placed barriers near the Hebron Gate to facilitate the procession of the fundamentalist Israeli settlers.
The settlers were cursing and swearing at the protesters, who responded by singing for Palestine, for Jerusalem and for al-Aqsa mosque in the city.
Israeli Police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, claimed that the Palestinian protest was held without a permit from the Police or the City Council, and that the police “had to use force and had to arrest some of the protesters after they refused to disperse and leave the area.
In related news, clashes were reported in different parts of occupied East Jerusalem, mainly in Silwan and Ras al-Amoud. Palestinian youths hurled stones at police and settler vehicles while the police fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs.
The soldiers also invaded several Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and several youths responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at them.
East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel, along with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, during the 1967 six-day war in June, and later annexed. Under International Law, Jerusalem is an occupied city and the so-called reunification of Jerusalem is illegal.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated during an official ceremony marking the so-called ‘Jerusalem Day’, that Jerusalem will always remain united, and added ‘should the city fall in the hands of others, I doubt we will be able to avoid religious war’, Israeli Ynet News quoted Netanyahu stating.
He added that ‘peace among faiths can only be maintained under Israeli sovereignty’.
His statements ignore the fact that millions of Palestinians have no access to Muslim and Christian holy sites in the occupied city.
Israel is also targeting the very existence of the Palestinian population in the city by its ongoing takeover, and demolition of Palestinian homes, and its ongoing illegal construction and expansion of Jewish-only settlements.