Rising Tensions in Jerusalem

Two Jewish seminary students were stabbed by Arab attackers in what police are calling the latest string of violence in the Old City of Jerusalem. Following the assault, three suspects have been apprehended as the victims are being treated in a nearby hospital, with one in serious condition and the other with light injuries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arranged for heightened security in Jerusalem to extinguish what some are beginning to call the third intifada.

Over the past several months, violence in Jerusalem has been intensified due to fighting between Jews and Arabs over authority of what Jews call their holiest site, the Temple Mount, and what Palestinian Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. Netanyahu has reiterated that he will not reverse his policy of barring Jews to pray at this holy site, but prominent Israeli political figures have continued to protest this policy.

One such figure was Yehuda Glick, a prominent Israeli activist, who was critically wounded after being shot four times by an Arab attacker. Before shooting Glick, the attacker said, “I’m sorry, but I have to shoot you because you are an enemy of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Israeli police apprehended the suspect in the shooting.

Protests against Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount has spread to other Israeli areas, such as Tel Aviv and the West Bank, where two Israelis were killed and two stabbed within hours of each other. Three attacks by Palestinian drivers on light-rail depots, which have occurred since August, have killed four people.

The atmosphere of violence and hatred has worsened significantly after two Arabs wielding meat cleavers, knives, and a pistol last week killed four Israelis praying at a synagogue, as well as a policeman. Police shot and killed the two attackers.

Last week, a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school was set ablaze by anti-Arab arsonists who also vandalized the school with hateful messages. Responding to the attacks, Israeli politicians expressed utter disgrace while students at the school affirmed, “We are like brothers and sisters here. [Extremists] won’t change that.”

Earlier this week, a man was threatened by two knife-wielding Arabs in East Jerusalem, who were later apprehended by Israeli police. On Monday, a Palestinian woman stabbed a civilian in Gush Etzion and was later neutralized by Israeli forces. Later that day, an Israeli was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle in the West Bank in what police suspect to be a hit and run. The circumstances of this event are still under investigation. Palestinians attacked an Israeli bus with rocks later Monday night, but no injuries were reported.

 

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