Palestinian unrest subsides in J’lem

Mar 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Palestinian unrest subsides in J’lem

By AP, JPOST.COM STAFF, ABE SELIG AND BEN HARTMAN

16 March 2010

Palestinian youths throw stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes in the East Jeruslaem neighbourhood of Issawiya, 16 Mar 2010

After a morning of violent clashes, during which dozens of masked Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli police and burnt tires in various east Jerusalem neighborhoods, order seems to have been restored to the capital, with the exception of Shuafat, where sporadic clashes were still being reported.

Forty two Palestinians were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of stone-throwing and disruptions. In addition, a Jewish activist who attempted to enter the Temple Mount through the Mughrabi Gate was arrested after he attacked policemen barring his way.

Police used stun grenades to disperse dozens of Arabs who were blocking the Majlis Gate, one of the Old City entrances to the Temple Mount. The protesters, some of them chanting slogans, were pushed back into the nearby Via Delarosa.

Eight border policeman and security personnel were wounded during the clashes. Four were evacuated for medical attention, and the rest were treated at the scene. Palestinians reported nine casualties.

Eight Arab minors from the capital’s Beit Zafafa neighborhood were detained by police, who suspected they intended to throw stones. Three Jabl Mukhaber minors were also arrested for throwing stones at Rehov Meir Nakar in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.

Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Dudi Cohen completed a tour of the Western Wall plaza, from where he proceeded to a tour of the recently rededicated Hurva synagogue.

Speaking to reporters, Cohen said he wasn’t concerned that the unrest would spread to become a “third intifada,” and that by Sunday the augmented police presence in the capital would drop back to normal. Cohen also blamed the recent violence on the Arab leadership, who, according to the inspector general, were inciting their public.

Two buses of Arabs from the North on their way to Jerusalem on Tuesday were turned back by police, who suspected that the passengers were heeding the call to take part in unrest in the capital. One passenger was arrested after he attacked a policeman who boarded the bus.

In addition, dozens of busloads carrying hundreds of Israeli Beduin from the Negev will make their way to Jerusalem every day this week, to protest what they say are Israeli threats against the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The protests, organized largely by the Islamic Movement in Israel, will include busloads of protesters from the Galilee as well.

Jews “have no right to the Temple Mount,” Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sehaba, whose Negev city of some 45,000 inhabitants is the country’s largest Beduin community, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, citing Jewish teachings that says that Jews cannot go onto the Temple Mount before the arrival of the messiah.

Abu Sehaba, a member of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s “more moderate” southern branch, said that while busloads leave Rahat for the Aksa compound every day, this week far more would make the journey, to bring the masses to protest what they see as threats to the foundation of the mosque from Israeli archeological digs nearby.

“We feel that there is a threat to the foundations of the Aksa Mosque,” Abu Sehaba said. “It would threaten the peace of the entire Middle East if, God forbid, something were to happen to the building.”

“We don’t want this, we want peace, not a new war in the Middle East,” he said.

“Religious Jews know about the ban on going to the Temple Mount,” the Rahat mayor said.

He blamed “settlers and right-wing Jews” for heading to the site for the sake of “provocation and politics.”

In the West Bank on Monday, former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qurei warned that if construction were to continue in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, together with the continued demolition of Arab homes there, “another intifada will break out.”

Speaking to reporters in Abu Dis, Qurei added, “If the situation remains at this level, regardless of whether we take the decision or not, [a third intifada] is coming. If Israel continues these practices, it is coming.”

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