State Department 'deeply concerned' by Jerusalem clashes

State Department 'deeply concerned' by Jerusalem clashes
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The State Department said Friday it is “deeply concerned” over violent clashes between Israeli nationalists and Palestinian residents in Jerusalem. 

“We are deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Jerusalem. The rhetoric of extremist protestors chanting hateful and violent slogans must be firmly rejected. We call for calm and unity, and urge authorities to ensure the safety, security, and rights of all in Jerusalem,” tweeted State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

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The concern comes after a night of violence in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ultra-nationalist Israelis were seen chanting “Death to Arabs” and waving banners reading, “Death to terrorists,” and Palestinians were throwing firecrackers and setting garbage bins on fire.

Police responded with skunk water to try to disperse the crowds and arrested more than 50 people, according to Reuters.

Clashes have occurred nightly since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on April 13, a period that frequently sees a rise in tensions in East Jerusalem.

Violence had subsided by mid-day Friday but is anticipated to continue on virtually a nightly basis for the immediate future.

The skirmishes are taking place in a section of the city that is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is holy to both Jews and Muslims. 

The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem called for calm and urged “responsible voices” to try to end the violence.

“We are deeply concerned about the incidents of violence in Jerusalem over the last several days,” the embassy tweeted. “We hope all responsible voices will promote an end to incitement, a return to calm, and respect for the safety and dignity of everyone in Jerusalem.”