In recent days, Palestinian rioters have intensified their initiation of violent clashes with Israeli forces in order to demonstrate solidarity with four Palestinian terrorists that were released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal yet were re-captured for violating the terms of their pardon. These four Palestinian terrorists are Samer Issawi, Tareq Qaadan, Jafar Ezzedine and Ayman Sharawna, and they are presently on hunger strike. Recently, another Palestinian terrorist on hunger strike, Arafat Jaradat, passed away because he suffered a cardiac arrest. This has added ammunition to the Palestinian Authority’s desire to initiate disturbances.
Last Thursday, on the Fast of Esther, hundreds of Palestinian Arabs rioted outside Ofer Prison, demanding that Israel release all Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons. During this particular riot, the Palestinians threw rocks and bricks at Israeli officials causing two Israeli journalists, one of them from Channel One News, to be wounded and requiring treatment in Israeli hospitals.
On Friday, thousands of Palestinians rioted in Jerusalem, as well as Judea and Samaria. In Hebron, one police officer was wounded when Palestinians threw a brick at him. On the Temple Mount, dozens of Palestinians threw firecrackers and rocks at Israeli policeman stationed outside the Al Aqsa Mosque, thus requiring Israeli forces to respond and disperse the Palestinian rioters from the area. Clashes also took place in Shechem (Nablus) and Ramallah.
On Shabbat, there were violent clashes between Jews and Arabs in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria. There, ten Jews were slightly injured from Arab rock-throwing. This confrontation was evidently initiated when a mob of about 200 Palestinians entered into the Esh Kodesh community vineyard and attempted to destroy the fences that protect them. The 25 Jewish members of this community were outnumbered and attempted to defend themselves until the IDF intervened and dispersed the Palestinian rioters.
On Sunday, which was Purim, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in Hebron, Beit Ummar, the Al Arrab refugee camp, and in Tulkarm. An IDF spokesperson claimed that hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and burned tires in Hebron, and that an Israeli soldier was wounded by a Palestinian rock. In Beit Ummar, between 100 and 300 Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli soldiers. On Monday, there were clashes in Bethlehem, where several makeshift bombs were hurled at IDF soldiers. An Israeli soldier was also wounded as a result of stones thrown at him at the Beit Omar refugee camp.
A senior level Fatah official has admitted that the Palestinian Authority has supported and assisted in the organization of all of these riots. Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh believes that the Palestinian Authority is seeking something akin to a mini-Intifada prior to President Obama’s visit to Israel in order to prompt the Americans to pressure Israel into “making far-reaching concessions to the Palestinian Authority. This is why the Palestinian Authority leadership has been encouraging its constituents lately to wage a “popular intifada” against Israel, each time finding another excuse to initiate confrontations between Palestinians and Israel. Now the Palestinian Authority is using the issue of Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike in Israeli prisons as an excuse to call for street protests and clashes with the Israel Defense Forces. [….] By encouraging a “popular intifada,” the Palestinian Authority leadership is hoping to bring the Palestinian issue back to the top of the agenda of the US Administration and Israel.”
By Rachel Avraham