Violence Simmers in Jerusalem; Marchers Heading for Al-Aqsa

Hamas urges West Bank Palestinians to head to Jerusalem to protect mosque from 'Zionist siege.'

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A masked Palestinian youth in the refugee camp of Shuafat in east Jerusalem, on November 6, 2014.
A masked Palestinian youth in the refugee camp of Shuafat in east Jerusalem, on November 6, 2014.Credit: AFP

Thursday was quiet in Jerusalem when measured against the violence of the past few weeks. Nevertheless, it didn’t pass completely without incident.

A Palestinian was arrested on suspicion of attacking a guard on the light rail; Palestinians threw stones at several Israeli vehicles, causing damage but no casualties; and Palestinians stoned a Border Police unit in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Shoafat.

Earlier in the day, police closed off the southern neighborhood of Abu Tor to vehicular traffic from neighboring Palestinian villages. It’s not yet clear how long the closure will continue.

Abu Tor, a mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood that is bisected by the figurative Green Line, has become a locus of stone throwing over the past week because the terrorist who tried to kill Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick last Wednesday lived there.

Jewish residents of the neighborhood were informed of the closure by the community administration, which noted that as long as the closure was in force, cars would be able to enter Abu Tor only via the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

A few days ago, police also blocked car traffic between the neighborhoods of Jabal Mukkaber and Armon Hanatziv, but those barriers have since been removed.

Jerusalem Police Chief Moshe Edri restricted prayers on the Temple Mount on Friday to men over the age of 35. There will be no age restriction for women. This is a significantly less restrictive policy than the one imposed last Friday, which barred men under the age of 50.

Hamas on Thursday urged Palestinians throughout the West Bank to participate in marches at the end of Friday’s prayers in order to “protect” Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque from the “Zionist siege.” Marchers are slated to depart from Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Hebron and Nablus and head toward Israeli checkpoints, which could result in clashes.

Abbas’ Fatah party hasn’t issued any similar call, but the marches may draw large crowds nonetheless.

Last night masked Palestinians began hurling rocks and firecrackers at border policemen in Shoafat. Earlier, Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli vehicles in the A-Tur neighborhood, damaging six cars and a bus.

In another incident, stones were thrown at houses on Naomi Street. Border policemen in the area arrested a suspect – a 13-year-old resident of Abu Tor.

In addition, a Palestinian worker was attacked by Jews in the Givat Shaul neighborhood in a suspected hate crime.

Overnight, police arrested 16 suspected rioters. Over the past two weeks, police have arrested 117 adults and 71 minors suspected of participating in disturbances.

The right-wing group El Har Hamor and the United Jerusalem city council faction urged people to join their planned march last night from the place where Glick was shot to the Temple Mount, under the slogan “Marching Through Our Jerusalem.”

Hadassah Hospital reported Thursday that two of the people wounded in Wednesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem remain in intensive care, one of them in critical condition. The other underwent an operation on Wednesday, has recovered full consciousness and is now in moderate condition.

The three soldiers wounded in Wednesday night’s hit-and-run incident near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc – which police now think may have been a standard road accident rather than a terror attack – also remain hospitalized. One has taken a turn for the worse and is in serious condition.

Border Police Superintendent Jedan Assad, who was killed in Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem, was laid to rest on Thursday at the military cemetery in his hometown Beit Jann. Thousands attended his funeral, including the spiritual leader of the Druze community, Sheikh Moafak Tarif, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Brig. Gen. Yizhar Peled, Jerusalem district commander for the Border Police, eulogized Assad as “noble, modest and principled. You didn’t fear anything, not danger and not the enemy. You were the first to charge and the last to leave the field. In my name and that of the fighters of the Border Police, I salute you.”

Aharonovitch, describing Assad as “one of our best fighters,” said, “As public security minister I salute you and the entire Druze community, for their great contribution to our shared struggle to preserve the country’s security.”

Danino also praised the Druze for their “priceless contribution to the state’s security,” adding, “It’s a pride and an honor to have officers like Jedan serving in the Israel Police. It’s a credit to the state and society that these are our policemen.”

Assad is survived by his wife, who is five months pregnant, a 3-year-old son, his parents and four siblings.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called King Abdullah II of Jordan Thursday, assuring him that Jordan’s special status regarding the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, as specified in the peace agreement between the two countries, would be preserved.

The day before, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest against what it described as “the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary and the repeated Israeli violations of Jerusalem,” the Jordanian state news agency reported.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah had said his country’s recall of ambassador Walid Obeidat was “an indication of the seriousness of the situation. ... We have sent repeated messages to Israel ... that Jerusalem is a red line.”

In the call between Netanyahu and Abdullah, the prime minister’s bureau said, “Both leaders called for the immediate cessation of violent actions and incitement.”

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