Driver Slams Into Palestinians On Day of Chaos in Jerusalem

Graphic footage showed a white car being pelted with stones before it crashed into Palestinian protesters. The incident came during rising violence, and ahead of a controversial march that looked set to inflame an already chaotic situation.
May 10, 2021, 1:59pm
car jerusalem
Photo: Israeli police / Emanuel Fabian

A car being pelted by stones outside Jerusalem's Old City struck Palestinian protesters on Monday, as violence flared ahead of a nationalist march.

CCTV footage released by Israeli police showed a white car being struck by stones thrown by Palestinians on the busy Jericho Road.

The driver of the car, thought to be an Israeli settler, reverses out of shot, before then driving into protesters, one of whom is seen limping away. It is not known what injuries he sustained. Graphic footage showed the sickening impact of the car.

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Palestinians then appear to attack the occupants of the car, before an Israeli police officer with a drawn firearm intervenes and disperses the crowds.

The incident took place amid growing violence and chaos in Jerusalem, as Israeli police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at the mostly-young protesters outside al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The violence coincides with what Israelis call Jerusalem Day, marking the capture of East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. Police have given the green light for a march usually attended by nationalist Jewish youth to take place through the Old City’s Damascus Gate and Muslim neighbourhood.

Israeli men walk by the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israeli men walk by the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israeli police have announced that marchers are however barred from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Sporadic and violent confrontations have taken place between well-equipped Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters since the start of Ramadan, fuelled by anger at an Israeli court ruling which confirmed the eviction order of dozen of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district in favour of a Jewish settler organisation. 

Palestinians wait at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Photo: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Palestinians wait at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Photo: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hundreds of Muslim worshipers observing “I’tikaf” – the practice of staying at the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan – were injured early in the morning during the violence.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the number of wounded people has reached over 300, with seven in critical condition. Israeli police also reported an officer had been taken to hospital, and nine more had been hurt. 

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The tensions have reached new heights in the past few days between the Palestinians and the Israeli police, with both sides blaming each other. Meanwhile international concern over events in Jerusalem is growing.

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A Palestinian man is treated by medics near the Lions' Gate, where Israeli police used tear gas, rubbr bullets and stun grenades. Photo: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“All sides need to de-escalate tensions in the final days of Ramadan,” said James Cleverly, the UK’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by phone today with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat to reiterate the Biden administration’s “serious concerns” regarding the recent escalations, and urged the Israeli authorities to “pursue appropriate measures” during the Jerusalem Day march.

“Mr Sullivan expressed the administration’s commitment to Israel’s security and to supporting peace and stability throughout the Middle East, and assured Mr Ben-Shabbat that the U.S. will remain fully engaged in the days ahead to promote calm in Jerusalem,” the statement said.