PLO Leader Threatens New Intifada; Arabs Riot at Jewish Home
Jerusalem Arabs clashed with police in at least two locations in the eastern parts of the city early Tuesday morning as Arab leaders warned of a renewal of the Intifada and Muslim clerics incited worshippers.
Police in riot gear have deployed at flash points in the city to try to prevent further disturbances. Arabs attacked the Jewish residence called Beit Yehonatan, across the road from the Western Wall (Kotel), causing damage to the building but no injuries.
Two Border Police officers suffered light wounds in a rock-throwing attack at the same location, and one of them was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment. Arabs burned tires and threw rocks at police in the Shuefat neighborhood.
Police are checking all buses arriving in the city and already have turned back Israeli Arabs from the Galilee who were planning to protest at the Temple Mount. Hundreds of Negev Bedouin also are headed for the capital to join Muslim demonstrations.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member and former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told reporters Monday that Israel faces a new Intifada if Israel continues to build in parts of Jerusalem where Arabs claim sovereignty.
He said that it "is not a matter of official decision, but rather it arises from the culmination of oppression, injustice, aggression and tyranny,” the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency reported. “It is something the people decide. This is what happened with the two previous Intifada."
The latest excuse for Arab rage was Monday’s dedication of the restored Hurva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which Jordanian legionnaires destroyed in the 1948 War for Independence. Qureia said that the restored synagogue is part of a “dangerous program” which targets its land, people, holy sites, heritage and history.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters Tuesday, “I would say that we also have some concerns today about the tensions regarding the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City…. We’re deeply disturbed by statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which can only serve to heighten the tensions that we see.”
He added that the United States has no objections to Israel’s re-dedicating the Hurva synagogue. There is no record of Israel's government asking the United States' opinion on the matter.