US voices condemnation of Jerusalem violence, calls for calm and unity

The United States on Friday voiced alarm over scuffles in Jerusalem and criticised "hateful" rhetoric after far-right Jews shouted slogans against Palestinians.

"We are deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Jerusalem," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"The rhetoric of extremist protestors chanting hateful and violent slogans must be firmly rejected," he wrote on Twitter.

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More than 100 Palestinians were wounded on Thursday evening during clashes triggered when Israeli extremists marched without intervention from the Israeli police through occupied Jerusalem chanting "Death to Arabs!".

The march, organised by Jewish supremacist organisation Lehava, came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in what was seen as an additional provocation by Palestinian residents.

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Lehava - a Hebrew acronym that stands for the Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land - was founded by followers of the banned Kach movement, a racist group designated as a terrorist organisation in Israel, the US and the EU.

It campaigns against relationships and marriage between Jews and non-Jews and has carried out regular attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis.

The Joint List, a Palestinian-Israeli political coalition with six seats in the Israeli parliament, decried Thursday's violence as a "joint aggression" by Israeli police and "Jewish extremist gangs".

Hundreds of Lehava supporters marched from Zion Square in West Jerusalem towards the Old City on Thursday evening in what organisers referred to as an attempt to "restore Jewish dignity”.

In a tweet on Friday, the US embassy called for an "end to incitement, a return to calm, and respect for the safety and dignity of everyone in Jerusalem".

Israel has illegally occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli authorities annexed east Jerusalem shortly afterwards, sending hundreds of thousands of settlers to live there in contravention of international law and evicting Palestinians from their homes in an attempt to alter the demographic make-up of the holy city. 

Agencies contributed to this article. 

Source : Al-Arabi

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