Knesset member leads far-right mob storming Israeli occupied Palestinian neighbourhood Sheikh Jarrah

Knesset member leads far-right mob storming Israeli occupied Palestinian neighbourhood Sheikh Jarrah
2 min read
03 March, 2022
Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right Knesset member who is notorious for provoking Palestinians inside the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, led a rally inside the neighbourhood which caused confrontations with local residents.
Palestinian locals confronted the Israelis as police intervened to push solidarity activists out of Sheikh Jarrah [Getty]

The Israeli government on Tuesday allowed dozens of Israelis to storm the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in a rally provoking local Palestinian residents.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right Knesset member, led a mob of dozens of Israelis that massed around the Salem family home.

Far-right activists danced and waved Israeli flags, intimidating the Palestinian family, according to news agency Wafa.

Palestinian locals confronted the Israelis as police intervened to push activists out of Sheikh Jarrah, breaking into homes and forcibly removing them from the area.

Ben-Gvir is the leader of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), a far-right ultra-nationalist party whose coalition is made up of the Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam parties. They all support xenophobic and Jewish supremacist ideologies.

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He attempted to open a makeshift office in Sheikh Jarrah in May, which was shut down.

Tensions intensified when Israel’s Supreme Court announced its plan to forcibly displace dozens of Palestinian families from their homes.

Last month, the far-right lawmaker vowed to open an office in the occupied neighbourhood again.

Ben-Gvir is associated with Rabbi Meir Kahane, an anti-Palestinian extremist who founded the Kach party. After serving one term in the Knesset in the 1980s, Kahane was banned from running again when parliament passed an amendment forbidding political parties that incite racism.

The latest provocation in Sheikh Jarrah happened hours after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that four Palestinians who are at risk of being expelled from their own homes can stay as protected tenants until a decision is made regarding ownership of the homes.

Some 28 families in Sheikh Jarrah face expulsion orders based on an Israeli law that allows Jews to claim properties that allegedly belonged to Jewish owners before 1948.

Other families in the neighbourhood face expulsion orders that are based on the Jerusalem municipality's "public benefit".