Following a day declared by Palestinians as the “Day of Rage,” where at least three people were killed and several others were wounded by Palestinian men, the violence continues. The attacks yesterday occurred in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv.
The coordinated attacks illustrate the latest unrest of Palestinians in Israel which is continuing to grow. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet to determine what police should do in the situation. The meeting convened well into the night and the security cabinet announced its plans earlier this morning.
Officials decided to seal off Eastern Jerusalem Palestinian districts from the rest of the city in an attempt to contain the violence. Officials also decided to take away certain residency rights and to destroy the homes of some known Palestinian attackers.
Hundreds more security guards were drafted in order to secure public transport.
Israel’s internal security minister announced that the bodies of dead Palestinians who attacked Jews will likely not be returned to their loved ones for burial. Gilad Erdan said that the funerals of Palestinian attackers often are turned into “an exhibition of support for terror and incitement to murder.” He said that Israel should not allow these dead attackers to “enjoy respect and ceremonies.”
Adding to Palestinian unrest is the fact that a growing number of Jews are visiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites in the world. The ancient relic also houses two sacred Jewish temples - which creates severe conflict.
In response to the unrest over al-Aqsa, Netanyahu has said that Israel will continue to ban non-Muslim prayer at the site but that Jews are still allowed to visit.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disavows the current violence but also calls for al-Aqsa to be “defended” from Israel. His administration has also spread on social media allegations that some Palestinians killed by Israeli police were executed.
Netanyahu demanded that Abbas “Stop lying. Stop inciting. If the situation deteriorates as a result of this incitement . . . you will bear responsibility.”
The Israeli government has not been able to stop the violence so far - mostly carried out by young Palestinians. As of now, it is not believed that these attackers are affiliated with known militant groups. But, the attacks are getting more coordinated and sophisticated, which is very worrisome to Israel.
In the meantime, panic is gripping the nation. Israelis do not know what to do or where to go. They are very afraid that the recent incitement of violence is only the beginning to a long, drawn out violent war.
Yesterday, The Obama administration voiced its concern and State Department spokesman John Kirby stated that, “The United States condemns in the strongest terms [the] terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.” He added that the U.S. urges both sides “to prevent actions that would further escalate tensions.”