Arab Citizens of Israel Show Unprecedented Involvement in Jerusalem Protests

Out of the 200 Palestinians wounded on Friday’s violent clashes in Jerusalem, two suffered moderate wounds. Amid the unprecedented participation of Arab citizens of Israel in the recent incidents, it is not surprising that both of them are not East Jerusalem residents, but rather Arab citizens of Israel.

According to Sireen Jbareen, 25, a leading figure in the young Arab citizens of Israel protest movement, more than 250 protesters from the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm alone took part in the protests in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday. In addition, hundreds of the protesters who clashed with police in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday evening came from northern and central Israeli Arab towns.

– Jerusalem, united in violence, marks bloody anniversary today. LISTEN

Jerusalem, united in violence, marks bloody anniversary today. LISTEN

The relationship, however, between East Jerusalem Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel, is complex. On the one hand, Arab citizens of Israel mediate between East Jerusalem residents and Israeli authorities, as most of them hold top positions in the eastern part of the Israeli capital – lawyers, school principals and government agencies officials. On the other hand, East Jerusalem residents harbor resentment toward the well-off Arab citizens of Israel, who they say have forgotten their Jerusalem brethren who suffer under the Israeli occupation.

Over the past years this notion was validated as only Jerusalemite Palestinians took part in their East Jerusalem struggle. Only infrequently did waves of East Jerusalem protests, mostly around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, spark demonstrations elsewhere in Israel as well.

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