JERUSALEM – Clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces on Wednesday as Israeli demonstrators marched through the Old City of Jerusalem to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s capture of the city’s eastern half.
Several dozen young Israeli men, some holding Israeli flags, marched toward the Old City’s Damascus Gate on their way to the Western Wall when they encountered a group of Palestinian protesters.
Israeli forces moved in, and clashes ensued with the Palestinian protesters. No injuries were reported and a Palestinian man was held for questioning, a police spokesperson said.
A group of left-wing Israeli protesters also attempted to prevent the marchers from entering the Old City by linking arms and blocking the entrance of the Damascus Gate. Israeli police forcibly removed the protesters.
Addressing parliament, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Western Wall will remain under Israel’s control “forever.”
Netanyahu was addressing the Knesset for a special session marking Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of Israel’s capture of the city’s eastern half, which includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War.
“The Temple Mount and Western Wall will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu told lawmakers, just two days after President Donald Trump visited the wall.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem and the contested Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound is the holiest site to Jews and the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
Earlier Wednesday, police arrested two Islamic Waqf guards who allegedly assaulted a group of Israelis who entered the compound. Police also ejected several Jewish visitors who bowed in prayer, in violation of a longstanding ban on Jewish worship at the site.
Israel considers the entire city its united capital. The international community doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem and Palestinians regard it as the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.