Following weeks of steady rioting in east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods, police arrested 57 Arabs on Tuesday night who were suspected of carrying out attacks against Jewish residents living in integrated communities.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the arrests came after a protracted investigation that combined intelligence from undercover officers, informants and surveillance footage of suspects involved in the violence.
Most of the attacks were allegedly the work of masked Arabs throwing Molotov cocktails, powerful firecrackers, and rocks.
At the height of the rioting last month, two light rail stops were destroyed in Beit Hanina and Shuafat, resulting in suspended service and necessitating millions of shekels in repairs.
Rosenfeld said that 549 Arabs had been arrested in neighborhoods that included Isawiya, Shuafat, French Hill, Abu Tor, E-Tur and Sur Baher, since the violence began last month following the murder of teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
Tuesday night’s arrests came on the heels of a report that police and the Construction and Housing Ministry released on Monday.
The report stated that over 360 assaults against Jews in east Jerusalem had been reported in July alone – double the number from that period last year.
The surge in violence is largely due to Abu Khdeir’s murder – allegedly a revenge attack by Jewish nationalists – and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which have combined to spur ongoing rioting in numerous Arab communities where Jews reside, Rosenfeld said.
Additionally the report stated that a disproportionate number of violent incidents had taken place on the final night of Ramadan late last month, during which more than 70 attacks had been reported to police.
Of the 549 Arabs arrested over the past few weeks, Rosenfeld said 383 were adults and 166 were minors. He added that 184 indictments had been issued.
“This was done to prevent those involved in the rioting that occurred in Jerusalem from continuing to disrupt the city,” he said.
“Police are going to continue to make arrests as long as necessary to respond to and prevent disturbances from taking place in and around Arab east Jerusalem neighborhoods.”
Rosenfeld noted that more arrests were expected.