Palestinians hurl stones, set tires on fire near Shuafat refugee camp. Arabs, left-wing activists say vehicles torched overnight after settlers' call for revenge. 'Any sensible person knows that we don’t set fire on Shabbat,' rightist says in response
Shmulik Grossman Published: 03.20.10, 15:14 / Israel News
Palestinians hurled stones and set fire to tires near a roadblock in the Shuafat refugee camp in north Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon. Border Guard and IDF forces dispersed the protestors using tear gas. There were no reports of injuries.
Earlier, Arab residents of east Jerusalem said that "price tag" calls made by West Bank settlers had led to the torching of several vehicles in the neighborhoods of Ras al-Amud and Wadi Joz on Friday night.
A police source confirmed to Ynet that a private car had been set on fire on Salah al-Din Street and that a bus had been completely burned in Ras al-Amud. The Palestinian reports about additional incidents have not been confirmed and it is unclear who was behind the torching.
Left-wing organizations joined the claims, saying that the acts were committed on the backdrop of the "day of rage" and the objection to the reopening of the Hurva synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the activists, extreme right-wing groups distributed leaflets earlier this week threatening revenge against east Jerusalem's residents.
Right-wing activists rejected the claims, calling them a "cowardly attempt" to present them as violent and accusing the Palestinians of sparked the recent wave of violence in Jerusalem.
"We are not being dragged into their provocations and we did not torch any vehicle. Any sensible person knows that we don't set fire on the holy Shabbat."
The rightists explained that the Palestinians often torch cars in order to gain publicity and as an insurance scam. "They take old and broken vehicles and simply set them on fire. They point a finger at the Right, but get money from the insurance companies."
'Stop Obama intifada'
Despite the high tensions, hundreds of right-wing activists are planning to take part in rallies Saturday night calling for an end to "the Obama intifada". The protests will take place in three West Bank junctions: Hawara, Talmonim and Gush Etzion.
"The Arabs are raising their heads because of Obama's backing. The riots and stone throwing in recent days are aimed at stopping Jewish construction and development in the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. Cars are being stoned across Judea and Samaria," said one of the rallies' organizers.
Rabbis and settler leaders are expected to take part in the Gush Etzion rally and to demand that the government "stand strong, resume Jewish construction and destroy terror."
Right-wing activists, led by Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir were scheduled to march in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday, but the parade has been postponed until next month due to the high tensions in the capital.
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