Amid heightened tension in the capital following Monday’s acquisitions of Jewish homes in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, a police official said Tuesday that police were actively working with the Public Security Ministry to put an end to chronic rioting.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after fire bombs were hurled at the two buildings housing the newly relocated Jewish residents in the disputed Arab community, and three weeks after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat accused Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch of shirking his responsibility to protect residents.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, several joint police and ministry programs have received approval in recent days and will combine technology, increased intelligence and extra units to address flashpoint Arab neighborhoods.
“Among the approved programs is a new rapid-response police unit that will deal with disturbances in Arab neighborhoods, the creation of more police observation points, more security cameras, and more patrols on the ground,” he said.
Earlier this month, following weeks of rioting in Arab neighborhoods, Barkat attacked Aharonovitch in an open letter, which he also sent to other government officials and national police commissioner Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino.
The rioting has resulted in hundreds of Arab arrests.
During the height of the violence, a Jewish resident was killed in a construction excavator attack in the Shmuel Hanavi area, an IDF soldier was shot at a bus station, three light rail stations were destroyed and a French Hill gas station was nearly set on fire.
Rosenfeld, however, said he believed the worse of the violence had passed.
“Now that [Operation Protective Edge] and the Jewish festivals are over, we expect less tension on the ground level in the capital in the near future,” he said.