Approximately 100 Arabs rioted in a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem early Tuesday evening, injuring one officer and trying to blockade the main artery in the area. The police officers dispersed rioters in the Maaleh Har HaZeitim (Ras al-Amud) neighborhood.
The latest violence occurred several hours after Palestinian Authority senior negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of “sparking a fire, deliberately escalating tensions…instead of taking steps to placate the situation.”
In a separate incident, Arab terrorists attempted to cause fatal traffic crashes by throwing rocks and damaged a bus on the highway near Kalkilya, adjacent to Kfar Saba. No one was injured. Several hours earlier, approximately 70,000 Jewish marchers, protected by thousands of police officers, concluded the annual Sukkot parade in Jerusalem without incident.
Tension in Jerusalem has escalated during the Jewish holiday season, when tens of thousands of Jews from Israel and abroad visit the Western Wall (Kotel), the outer wall of the Temple Mount compound and the capital itself, which is the holiest Jewish city in the world. Muslim leaders have repeated allegations that Jews are planning to “take over” the Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount, which they allege includes the area of the Western Wall.
Along with Erakat’s blaming Israel for the tension, Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raad Salah continued to call on Arabs “to defend” the Temple Mount. Several leading political leaders, including Yisrael Beiteinu Minister Uzi Landau, demanded that the police arrest Salah for incitement. He has been charged several times and has been convicted for inciting violence.
Most analysts have tried to calm fears that a “Third Intifada” is imminent, but there has been no relaxation in Arab rhetoric. PA leaders said they would “confront Israel” diplomatically and would use “legal means to protect our people and to confront Israel and its plan to thwart any efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital."
Mohammed Dahlan, former Fatah strongman in Gaza, now ruled by Hamas, accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of trying “to blow up the situation in Jerusalem to evade negotiations." He charged that "Israel tries to impose a de facto situation in Jerusalem by these aggressions in a continued plan to isolate the city from” Judea and Samaria, which the PA and international media refer to as the West Bank.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat commented Tuesday that the Arab riots “are specific events, stemming from centers of violence,” which have to be isolated.
Arab tempers flared Monday night after Jerusalem Police Chief Aharon Franco accused Arabs of being “ungrateful” by rioting after law enforcement officers preserved the peace during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in August.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said Tuesday, “The State of Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem and there is no force that can limit it in the eternal, united capital of the Jewish people. Anti-Jewish preaching from within the country or from abroad cannot undermine nor loosen the connection between the People of Israel and their capital, and the need to strengthen and develop the city.”
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