Violence, Arrests in Eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria
Three Arab rioters were arrested for throwing rocks Friday, following disorders at the Damascus Gate (Shaar Shechem in Hebrew) to Jerusalem's Old City. Another youth was arrested following a disorder next to the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives.
At the same time, additional disorders broke out in the area of the Rockefeller antiquities museum, across the street from the Flower Gate (Shaar Haperahim in Hebrew). Jerusalem District police, deployed with reinforcements since the early-morning hours in anticipation of pre-planned violent disorder, dispersed the rioters.
About 100 Arabs rioted next to Rachel's Tomb, between the Israeli capital and Bethlehem. They threw rocks at Israeli security forces.
Other disorders were reported in the Judean localities of Hevron and Kadum, the Samarian (Shomron) Arab village of Bituniya, near Ramallah, the Prigat Junction near the Shechem-area village of Huwara and near the Binyamin-region Jewish community of Neve Tzuf.
The violence came against the backdrop of a call by Hamas and Islamic Jihad for the launch of a third intifada uprising against Israel while Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday evening that his goal is to achieve permanent peace with Israel.
Abu Obaida, a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing Izaddin Kassam brigades, has urged PA Arabs to wage a third intifada against Israel in response to Israeli efforts to “judaize Jerusalem," especially the Temple Mount. He told reporters in Gaza that Hamas has not abandoned the option of suicide bombings.
He accused Israel of exploiting the current “futile” peace talks with the PA to “liquidate the Palestinian cause and create new facts on the ground.”
Meanwhile, a senior Islamic Jihad leader Ahmed Al Mudallal said during a rally in the Gaza Strip that "the intifada must break in all areas of conflict. Resistance is the best response against the crimes of the occupation in the Al Aqsa Mosque."
“A new intifada should erupt against the Zionist enemy and we believe that our people have the will and ability to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea,” Mudallal said.
The Islamic Jihad leader continued to accuse Israel of attempting to replace the Al Aqsa Mosque with a Jewish Temple and urged the Palestinian Authority to pull out of negotiations with Israel. “The enemy is using these talks to pursue its crimes against the Aqsa Mosque,” Mudallal firmly stated.
Masked gunmen belonging to Fatah’s armed wing, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, held a press conference in Gaza City during which they threatened to launch attacks against Israel. “The enemy will soon pay a heavy price for its crimes in Jerusalem,” a spokesman for the group said.
Following a fear of violent civil unrest after Friday's prayers, Jerusalem Police officials limited the Muslim worshipers at The Temple Mount to men over 50 with blue identity cards and women with no age limit.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, being the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem. Despite that fact Jews are banned from praying there by the Israeli police and Islamic Waqf trust (which administers the Islamic complex currently located on the site), in the face of threats of violence by Islamist groups.
Numerous Israeli court rulings calling for the ban to be lifted in the name of freedom of religion have been circumvented by the police, who cite unspecified "security threats" to arrest Jewish visitors who worship there, and sometimes bar Jews from entering altogether.
Jewish groups have repeatedly challenged the restrictions on Jewish visits, and recent years have seen a marked increase in Jews ascending the Mount, much to the alarm of Islamist groups, who have upped a campaign of incitement against the Jewish presence there in response.