Palestinian Riots Erupt in Jerusalem Over Passover

Israeli border police force patrol an alley in Jerusalem's Old City April 17, 2022. / Reuters
April 18, 2022

Israeli police battled Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem over the first weekend of Passover, as tensions remained high following weeks of violence and terrorism in Israel that have seen dozens killed.

On Friday, the first day of the Jewish holiday, police clashed with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque who threw stones toward the Western Wall.

That clash fueled further violence through the weekend, according to the Jerusalem Post, which reported Arabs on Saturday fought with Israeli forces outside the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court following reports that Israel would not release some of those arrested at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

That same night, Israeli forces made an arrest after Arabs raised a banner at the Temple Mount that read, "Hamas calls on you for a general mobilization and to push out the herd of settlers who are threatening to storm al-Aqsa."

Violence escalated further on Sunday. Israeli police entered Al-Aqsa mosque to protect Jewish visitors' access to the site, and they clashed with Palestinians occupying the mosque, who reportedly set up barricades and gathered stones with which to fight police. Palestinians also launched fireworks from within the mosque. At least 17 Palestinians were injured during fighting with police.

Several people received minor injuries Sunday when Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Jewish passengers outside Jerusalem's Old City, home to holy sites including the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, and the Al-Aqsa mosque. A video shared online showed Jewish children taking cover inside a bus as rioters threw stones through the windows. Jewish worshipers walking in the Old City were also attacked, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Islamist Ra'am party on Sunday announced it would temporarily withdraw its membership in the Knesset in protest over Israeli forces' clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

This weekend saw a rare overlap of the Jewish Passover, Muslim Ramadan, and Christian Easter holidays, fueling religious tensions. Israel has seen fierce violence since March in the form of terrorist attacks and clashes between security forces and Palestinians. Fourteen Israelis have been killed in terror attacks since March 22.