Police across the country were bracing for large demonstrations and possible
riots on Sunday, when Israeli Arabs and Palestinians mark ‘Nakba Day.’
rose in east Jerusalem this weekend following the shooting death of a
Palestinian youth during a riot in the capital’s Silwan neighborhood.
IDF on Lebanon alert for Nakba Day
Security and Defense: Bracing for mass
police headquarters in Jerusalem on Saturday evening, Insp.-Gen. Yochanan
Danino spoke with intelligence officials and commanders from the Border Police,
the Operations Branch and the Jerusalem district, and drew up final plans for
“We will allow for demonstrations and we will act with restraint.
But we will not allow violent disturbances,” Danino said.
police and Border Police units remain deployed in force in east Jerusalem, and
are on standby in case of further rioting, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld
Officers are also deployed in larger than normal numbers in the
North, including near Umm el-Fahm and in the surrounding Wadi Ara
Crossings with Judea and Samaria would be temporarily closed to
Palestinians on Sunday, the IDF announced on Saturday night. The closure began
on Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and will be lifted on Sunday at the same
Persons in need of medical attention, humanitarian aid or
exceptional assistance will be permitted to pass for care, with the
authorization of the civil administration.
Meanwhile, the police opened
an investigation into Friday’s shooting in Silwan, which occurred during clashes
with masked Arab youths hurling rocks.
Milad Ayish, 17, from the Ras
al-Amud neighborhood, was taken to Al-Makassed Hospital on the Mount of Olives
on Friday with a bullet wound to his stomach, and died early on
Police asked for permission to carry out an autopsy to
determine where he was wounded and the caliber of the bullet, which would shed
light on where the shot was fired from and what type of weapon was used, but the
request was denied, Rosenfeld said.
The teenager’s father claimed the
bullet was fired from the direction of Jewish homes in Silwan, which are
protected by armed private security guards.
“This was deliberate murder!” Sa’id Ayish, Milad’s
father, told the Hebrew media from the family’s mourning tent on Saturday.
“Martyr posters” of Milad, who was set to graduate from high school in a few
weeks, were put up around east Jerusalem.
It was too soon to draw any
conclusions, police said. “It’s not clear what the injuries were, and how he
sustained them. An investigation is under way,” Rosenfeld said.
Friday, clashes were reported in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Isawiya,
Ras al-Amud, Silwan and the Shuafat refugee camp.
Hundreds of Arabs
burned flags, threw stones and used slingshots and homemade explosives against
Four border policemen were lightly wounded, with one requiring
hospitalization, while Palestinians said 11 youths were lightly
Thirty-four people were arrested on Friday for rioting and
planning to throw gasoline bombs.
On Saturday, thousands of Palestinians
took part in a funeral procession for Ayish, marching with the coffin from Ras
al-Amud to Silwan.
Dozens of youths threw rocks at security personnel and
at Jewish homes in Silwan during the procession. Police dispersed the
stone-throwers and arrested six suspected rioters.
In the West Bank,
demonstrations were held in various cities over the weekend, but there was no
extreme violence. Near Ramallah, for example, soldiers dispersed several dozen
Palestinians and left-wing activists who were stoning IDF positions.
was no different than the regular Friday demonstrations,” one IDF officer
The Central Command will stay on high alert throughout Sunday, the
actual ‘Nakba Day,’ in anticipation of larger
Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon are also expected to
protest along the borders with Israel.
The IDF significantly boosted
troop levels in the West Bank ahead of ‘Nakba Day’ and commanders prepared their
men for a wide range of scenarios, from low-level protests to attempts to damage
the security barrier.
There are also concerns that terrorists will try to
carry out attacks in the West Bank on Sunday on the sidelines of the
Following Saturday afternoon’s meeting of police
commanders, Rosenfeld said, “We’re allowing the scheduled marches and gatherings
to take place both in Jerusalem as well as in the North. At the same time, if
there are any disturbances, there are large numbers of officers from different
police units who are ready and capable and will respond
Several peaceful pre-‘Nakba Day’ marches took place across
the country on Saturday, including one in the capital’s Sheikh Jarrah
neighborhood, which left Damascus Gate with more than 200
Police accompanied the march and there were no
“[Saturday’s] gatherings were quiet, and we’re hoping tomorrow
is also quiet, but obviously the last 48 hours have a direct influence on what
will happen tomorrow,” Rosenfeld said.
Late on Saturday, five policemen
were lightly injured in rock-throwing incidents at the checkpoint to the Shuafat
refugee camp and at Sur Bahir. Four were treated on-site while one was taken to
Nineteen people were arrested across east Jerusalem on
Saturday for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks.
services have been instructed to do everything to avoid violence during the
‘Nakba Day’ demonstrations, an Israeli official told The Jerusalem
“We hope there will not be provocations from the other side,” the
Israel is a democracy and people have the right to
demonstrate, “but if the demonstrations turn violent, we will have to respond,”
the official said.
Still, the official added, the demonstrations are
problematic, because the participants are demonstrating against Israel’s right
It’s an extremist message that ignores the fact that Israel
accepted a two-state solution in 1948, but the Arab leadership refused it, the
Fatah revolutionary council member Dimitri Dilani said
that the revolutions of the “Arab Spring,” as well as the possibility of a
Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood in September, were contributing
to the intensity of the protests.
“People are more in contact now with
the political side of things, [like they were] during first years of
negotiations, when people had an idea where leadership was taking us
politically,” Dilani told the Post on Saturday night.
“Now we have a
political goal, and with a political goal, we know what needs to happen on the
ground without us getting pushed off the track,” he said.
Regional Council head Gershon Mesika called on Israelis to protest ‘Nakba Day’
by flying national flags on their cars and homes as well as by posting
photographs of Israeli scenes on Facebook.
Activists plan to stand at
major intersections throughout the country to hand out flags.
Sunday, we will all raise with pride the flag of Israel,” Mesika said in a
message he sent to Samaria residents.
“‘Nakba Day’ is translated into
Hebrew as Yom Hashoah. This is how the ‘Palestinian’ Authority leadership has
chosen to refer to the establishment of Israel,” he wrote.
He added that
this was not surprising, given that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was a
“This year, the authority is trying to intensify the
events of that day, as a propaganda step on the way to their one-sided
declaration of a state in September. The hysteria that the PA and its PR people
from the far left are trying to inflict on the citizens of Israel is nothing but
a balloon filled with hot air,” he said.