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Jerusalem (AFP)

Four Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Monday, after officers cordoned off a popular gathering spot for Ramadan crowds.

Separately in the historically Arab Jaffa district of Tel Aviv, residents assaulted a rabbi seeking to acquire land for housing for Jewish seminary students in a predominantly Arab neighbourhood, prompting clashes with police.

Police said they made three arrests after the Jerusalem clashes, during which they used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a large crowd gathered outside one of the gates to the walled Old City, video posted on Twitter showed.

Police said the crowd attacked officers with stones and firecrackers but caused no casualties.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said four people in the crowd were wounded.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful fast from dawn to dusk, the promenade around the walls of the Old City is a popular place for Palestinians to gather after dark.

Two far-right lawmakers — Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Religious Zionism alliance — visited police deployed outside the Old City on Sunday night.

“We need zero tolerance, an iron fist and to bring all the perpetrators to justice,” Smotrich tweeted.

In Jaffa, the unrest began when residents assaulted the head of a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, police said, adding that they had arrested two suspects in their thirties.

After the assault, groups of Jaffa residents faced off with seminary students in the streets. Police in riot gear and on horseback rode through the neighbourhood, where residents set off firecrackers and clouds of smoke hung in the air.

Police said officers were attacked with stones and firecrackers and two were injured. Three people were arrested.

The seminary’s director, Moshe Sendovich, told Israeli public radio that he and Mali had been touring a possible site for student housing when the alleged assault took place.

He said he and Mali were hit, slapped and kicked, and the rabbi’s glasses were thrown.

Sendovich said that the seminary, in the predominantly Arab Ajamni neighbourhood of Jaffa, was part of an effort to boost the local Jewish community.

“The Jewish communities in Jaffa got weaker, and got thinner and we came to strengthen them,” he said.

Lawmaker Sami Abu Shehadeh, an Arab resident of Jaffa, said the seminary’s promoters were seeking to change the character of the neighbourhood.

“These are people who have an ideology that is dangerous to a mixed city,” he said.



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