Israeli right-wing protesters attack Palestinians in Jerusalem

Reports say that one man was ‘savagely beaten’ in Jerusalem, after pro-government supporters had gathered.

Pro-reform demonstration in Jerusalem
Right-wing protesters shout pro-Netanyahu slogans outside Knesset in Jerusalem [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu]

Three people have been arrested as part of an ongoing probe after far-right groups were filmed attacking Palestinian citizens of Israel who were passing by pro-government protests in Jerusalem, according to Israeli police quoted by local media.

Reports say that one man was “savagely” beaten during the attacks on Monday evening – at the end of a day of nationwide protests against government plans to alter Israel’s judiciary.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets starting Sunday night and continued on Monday amid a general strike. Pro-government demonstrators also rallied in various parts of the country before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the postponement of the move.

The largest protests by both camps took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, prompting fears of possible violence between the two sides.

Reports and videos shared on social media suggested that right-wing protesters in Jerusalem accosted Palestinian passersby and drivers during their rallies.

People who were attacked included a taxi driver near a petrol station and a youth walking by the protest near Yitzhak Ben Zvi Boulevard in Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Times of Israel said.

A video shared on social media showed a large crowd of what seems to be demonstrators and security forces rushing into a petrol station in Jerusalem.

According to another short clip, a Palestinian appears to be caught up in a right-wing protest until he is saved by security forces.

Another one purportedly showed protesters with Israeli and Likud flags who blocked a Palestinian driver’s path and chanted slogans.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir had backed protesters who took to the streets supporting the judicial amendments.

He wrote on Twitter: “Today the right stopped sitting on the sidelines and being silent. The right is usually indifferent to demonstrations, and active at the polls. But when they want to cancel our vote, when they try to steal the election results from us, when they tell us that our vote is second class – this is the result.”

He also shared a photo from the pro-government demonstrations.

Mass protests in Israel
Israelis opposed to the judicial amendments set up bonfires and block a highway during a protest moments after Netanyahu fired his defence minister, in Tel Aviv, on March 26, 2023 [Oren Ziv/AP Photo]

The plans by the governing nationalist religious coalition to hand control over judicial appointments to the executive while giving parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings has ignited one of the biggest internal crises in Israeli history and led to massive protests against the move in the past few months.

The decision to suspend the overhaul followed an extraordinary weekend in which Defence Minister Yoav Gallant was sacked after warning the divisions caused by the plans had affected the military and were threatening national security.

His dismissal by Netanyahu stirred mass protests once again as Israel’s President Isaac Herzog urged a halt to pushing the amendments through.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies