The defense establishment is prepared for a tense weekend in Jerusalem after Palestinians declared today as a so-called ‘Day of Rage” to be perpetrated against Israelis.
By Erin Viner
“The security forces are deployed throughout the country to enable the holiday events to be held as usual in Jerusalem and throughout the country. We are determined to allow the events to take place as usual while taking a strong and uncompromising position against terrorism and violent disturbances. The security forces will not rest until they apprehend the terrorists and those who sent them,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid following a detailed intelligence assessment in the wake of events in eastern Jerusalem and continued preparations to ensure safety for the Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles and Simchat Torah commemorations.
In efforts to achieve calm, additional steps to strengthen police units on the ground via the use of designated budgets were approved.
Prime Minister Lapid emphasized the importance of increased information efforts among the Palestinians in order to stop terrorist activity, stressing it is critical to remain alert and not permit ‘fake news’ to mislead the public.
At least 300 Border Police have been deployed to the capital to join existing forces as violence continues to erupt in the pre-dominantly eastern Arab sector. It was also decided during the security assessment to not bar Muslim worshippers from entering the the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City for Islamic Friday prayers in a bid to avoid inflaming tensions. Despite calls from Palestinian terror factions for clashes at the sensitive holy site, the services passed without reported incident.
“Alongside the continued activity to secure the many visitors who come to the entertainment and shopping centers, and the worshippers who arrive to the holy sites, we also need to treat what is happening in East Jerusalem with determined and uncompromising attention,” said Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman, stressing, “The increased operational alertness over the coming weekend will continue, and we must use all the tools and means at our disposal to take care, in a determined and concentrated manner, of anyone who will try to disrupt the city’s routine life and the order throughout the Sukkot holiday.”
Eighteen suspects were arrested overnight for involvement in violent disturbances. Mobs in the Beit Hanina and Ras al-Amud neighborhoods hurled rocks and shot fireworks last night at law-enforcement authorities, who responded with crowd-dispersal means. Police were deployed to Sheikh Jarrah to separate Arab and Jewish youth who were throwing rocks at one another; leaving eighteen Arabs and two of the Jewish combatants with injuries.
“We face a number of uneasy days, but we will persevere in an appropriate manner, and I wanted to seize this opportunity to praise you for your hard work and engagement,” said Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai, after visiting a number of the operating forces, emphasizing, “We do this work for the sake of security for the state of Israel, the people of Israel and Jerusalem.”
Earlier on Thursday, the annual Jerusalem March was held without incident. Hundreds of Christians from 70 nations around the world participated in the procession in a proclamation of love for God and the People of Israel.
“We are here to celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” a Christian Pilgrim from West Africa identified as Ebenezer said, while expressing joy to be in Jerusalem. Canadian celebrants Melody and Juade said they “came to bless Israel and let you know we love you, and we will always be with you and support you.” The couple added that they pray for the Israeli people and for the peace of Jerusalem.
Violence continued to surge in the West Bank Districts of Judea and Samaria, however.
During IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations forces conducted counterterrorism activity overnight and this morning as part of the half-year-long Operation Waves Breaker launched by Jerusalem’s defense establishment to root-out terror elements in the West Bank to counter a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.
Troops came under heavy fire in the terrorist hotbed city of Jenin during Salma’s arrest operation reportedly by Palestinian gunmen taking cover behind a wall. According to Palestinian Health Authorities, two Palestinians were killed during the exchange of gunfire. They have been identified as an operative of the Iranian-proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group and Dr. Abdullah abu Tin – who may have been armed and participating in the fight. There were no casualties among the Israeli troops.
Both the Israeli military and Palestinian officials say groups of young armed men in Nablus and Jenin – often only loosely associated with established terrorist factions – have been at the forefront of clashes.
Roads into Nablus were closed during the week to facilitate heavy security checks, and the IDF reported that two suspected gunmen were arrested during an operation in the city today.