Israeli authorities are fighting lawlessness on several fronts as well as violence allegedly committed by fringe Jewish extremists.
Israelis, while suffering the worst upsurge in violence since the Second Intifada, are also reeling from the news that six Jewish nationalists, including three minors, are suspects in the barbaric murder of Palestinian Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
Violence in Israel has increased dramatically over the past week all over the country since the discovery on Monday of the bodies of three Israeli boys who were kidnapped and shot to death by Hamas terrorists and the subsequent murder of a Palestinian Arab teen who was savagely burned to death.
On Tuesday last week, close to 100 demonstrators in central Jerusalem called for revenge for the murder of three Jewish boys. The event became violent and resulted in several arrests.
Palestinian Arabs Call for Third Intifada
Calls for a new Intifada pervaded the funeral on Friday for Abu Khdeir, which took place in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, known for its anti-Israel activism.
Since Abu Khdeir’s death, forest fires caused by arson have erupted throughout the country. Palestinian hooligans did millions of dollars’ worth of damage to the Jerusalem light rail stations in their neighborhoods, which could take months to repair – ironically, as the transportation system was established for their benefit.
Violence in Jerusalem’s Arab districts swept into Jewish areas over the Sabbath, including an attack on a yeshiva on Mount Zion. Jewish residents of mixed neighborhoods, such as the Mount of Olives, remained indoors.
A local tour guide told United with Israel that he was scheduled to lead two excursions in the Old City on Sunday morning but both were cancelled by the fearful tourists.
Residents in the South Confined to Shelters
Southern Israelis are confined to shelters as rockets rain down on their homes. More than 150 rockets had landed on Israeli territory since efforts began to find the kidnappers of the three Jewish boys.
While the brutal deaths of three Jewish teens and a 15-year-old Palestinian Arab are tragic, the reaction of mainstream Israelis and lawmakers versus that in Palestinian society is as different as night and day. Palestinians were celebrating the kidnapping of Israeli teens, while Israelis were calling for the arrest of anyone, Jew or Arab, who commits violence against innocent civilians.
During the search for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frankel, the Palestinian street was celebrating. At schools and summer camps, Palestinian youth were demonstrating a three-fingered salute, representing three captured Israeli teens whom they compared to rodents and had hoped to exchange for a large number of terrorists in Israeli jails.
Palestinian Human Rights Activist Defends Kidnapping
Prominent Palestinian human-rights activist and political analyst Bassem Eid, speaking to journalists in Jerusalem last Wednesday, conceded that Palestinians, including “moderate” Palestinians, were pleased about the kidnapping, although, he said, they were “sorry” about the murder, which “wasn’t the target.”
According to Eid, Palestinians in the West Bank were hoping the three boys would be traded for Palestinian prisoners. Asked whether they saw any difference between innocent schoolchildren being held captive and violent terrorists with blood on their hands, he acknowledged that indeed they did not differentiate between them.
“It’s no different than the IDF shooting at Palestinian teenagers,” he responded, although, as UWI pointed out, the Israeli children were on their way home from school while the Palestinian teens shot – allegedly – by the IDF would have been throwing rocks or committing some form of aggression against soldiers or civilians.
Nor do the Palestinians differentiate between civilian residents of Judea and Samaria and soldiers, Eid added.
Israel Condemns Violence against both Jews and Arabs
Meanwhile, Israeli politicians and human-rights activists have expressed horror at any incitement or violence instigated on the Israeli side. An investigation was launched immediately following the news of Abu Khdeir’s death, with Prime Minister Netanyahu condemning the murder in the strongest terms and vowing to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
The suspects are being questioned at an Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) facility. All other details regarding the investigation are under a judicial gag order.
“We will not sweep this under the rug,” President Shimon Peres stated. “The culprits will be caught and punished to the full extent of the law. There is no difference between [Arab] blood and [Israeli] blood.”
Author: Atara Beck
Senior Writer/Editor, United with Israel