Palestinian youths pelted Israeli police with rocks in several locations in East Jerusalem Friday, as scattered protests broke out ahead of what Palestinians call nakba (catastrophe) day - the May 15 anniversary of Israel's founding, dpa reported.
Some 34 protestors were arrested, and 11 demonstrators and three police officers were injured. A 17-year-old Palestinian was reported to be in serious condition after being shot in the shoulder, Israel Radio reported, citing the Palestinian Red Crescent organization.
Thousands of police had been deployed in Jerusalem, "to carry out security measures and prevent disturbances," Police Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
Israel also limited access to Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, allowing only women, and men over 45 years of age, to enter.
Rosenfeld said the restrictions were imposed in order to prevent possible disturbances breaking out after afternoon prayers, ahead of nakba day on Sunday.
Some 8,000 worshippers attended prayers, but fears of mass rioting after the services proved unfounded.
Earlier, scores of Palestinian Muslims performed dawn prayers outside the Old City walls, after police had prevented them from entering the city.
Witnesses said police had clashed outside the Old City with residents attempting to reach the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites. Two people were hurt and required hospitalization.
Police reinforcements had been in East Jerusalem since early Friday, sealing off all gates to the Old City and al-Aqsa Mosque compound, allowing people to cross barriers only after their identity papers were checked.
Calls have been circulating on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter for Palestinians to launch a new uprising to commemorate the nakba.
Based on these calls, the mass activities were supposed to start after the Friday prayers with marches in cities around the world. For Saturday, calls have been made for sit-ins and protests outside United Nations offices, and United States and Israeli embassies.
Sunday is expected to be the high point of these activities.
Calls have been made for protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem near Israeli military checkpoints and settlements, and upon Arabs in states neighbouring Israel to march to the borders with Israel to demand the right of return for refugees to their homes inside Israel.
Palestinian Authority security forces said Friday that they would not allow violent protests in the West Bank or protests near Israeli contact points.
They said the public would be allowed to hold the usual annual rallies and the other non-violent activities in the city centres only.
In the Gaza Strip, officials said a large Italian solidarity delegation arrived in the salient Thursday to commemorate the nakba anniversary with local residents.
Gaza is also expecting to receive thousands of Egyptians who plan to reach the strip through the Rafah crossing on Sunday as part of the nakba activities.