The sharp rise in terrorism in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem is the direct result of anti-Jewish incitement by the Palestinian leadership, Israel charges.
Palestinian terrorists continued to riot throughout Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria on Saturday, marking a sharp rise in terror that began on the Jewish New Year almost a week ago.
Numerous incidents of rock and firebomb attacks by Palestinian terrorists, including improvised explosive devices thrown at Israeli security forces, were recorded over the weekend.
According to media reports, at least eight Palestinian rioters were shot in clashes in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and several Israeli policemen were injured by firebombs and rocks.
In the most severe incident over the weekend, Israeli policemen were attacked in what appears to be a planned ambush on Friday near the area in Jerusalem where an Israeli man was murdered earlier in the week by rock-pelting Palestinians. Others threw firebombs and rocks, and shot at the officers. One officer was wounded in the arm by the gunfire, and three were taken to a hospital with burns from Molotov cocktails.
Terrorists attacked an IDF base just east of Jerusalem late Saturday night with firebombs. They proceeded to attack firefighters who arrived at the scene to put out the blaze. IDF forces responded with riot dispersal measures.
There were no incidents on the Temple Mount over the weekend, however, as police had limited entry to men over the age of 40 for the weekly Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in response to the extreme rise in violence at the site over the past week.
In another incident, security forces shot and wounded two Palestinians who were throwing firebombs at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, police said.
Israel decided to further beef up its security forces in Jerusalem and deployed a few hundred border police reservists in an emergency call-up. They will join the heavy forces, including special counter-terror units already stationed in the capital.
Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas Incites Violence
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to convene another emergency meeting on Sunday to review the latest developments.
Israel has reiterated its position that it has no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, but Muslim elements have been spreading rumors to the contrary, thus igniting the flames of violence.
The rumors include an Israeli “plot” to take over the site after Jewish activists publicized a notice for “a mass visit to the Temple Mount” on Sunday.
Netanyahu spoke Thursday evening with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, telling him that Israel will take action against the violence on the Temple Mount while strictly maintaining the status quo, notwithstanding provocations from leading Palestinians.
The Palestinian incitement continued with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chair Mahmoud Abbas condemning the clashes in highly racist language, also claiming that none of Jerusalem’s holy sites belonged to Israel.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Dr. Dore Gold blamed Abbas for instigating religiously motivated violence. “Today the world is divided between those trying to undermine religious coexistence and those trying to protect it. By saying that the ‘filthy feet’ of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount desecrate it, Mahmoud Abbas has now clarified on which side he stands,” stated Gold.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Friday blamed Abbas for “incitement and lies” that led to violence. He also noted that by bringing explosive materials and rocks to the holy site, Muslim rioters had turned their “house of worship” into a “warehouse of terror.”
Israeli Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef on Friday called on Islamic religious leaders and heads of other religious communities in the country to work together to bring about an immediate halt to the violence in Jerusalem and its surrounding area and to prevent riots and violations of public order in the holy places, which are for prayer. The chief rabbis places responsibility on the religious leaders to create an atmosphere that would forestall conflict and friction.
“We expect our friends, our partners in the council of religious leaders in Israel, to condemn all those who desecrate the holy places and bring into them weapons of various kinds, and to prevent such phenomena. Israel allows freedom of worship for all faiths and respects their leaders. The holy places are for prayer alone. In these days, of the start of the Jewish year, we pray for a year of peace and coexistence for everyone in the world. May it be a year of tolerance and moderation and may the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore’ be realized,” the chief rabbis stated.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
AP contributed to this report.
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