Police arrest 20 amid ongoing Jerusalem riots, heighten security for terrorist’s funeral

Abbas sends ‘urgent letter’ to the US Administration concerning situation in east Jerusalem.

Masked Palestinian protesters stand near burning tyres during clashes with Israeli police, October 24 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Masked Palestinian protesters stand near burning tyres during clashes with Israeli police, October 24
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three days after a terrorist attack rattled Jerusalem residents, resulting in the prime minister’s directive to send in an emergency Border Police unit to restore order, 20 Arabs have been arrested, as hundreds of extra officers heavily patrol east Jerusalem on the eve of the terrorist’s funeral.
According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the majority of arrests have taken place in flashpoint Arab neighborhoods including Silwan and Isawiya, the former being where alleged terrorist Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi is scheduled to be buried Sunday night.
“Hundreds of extra officers have been stationed in Silwan and throughout east Jerusalem to respond to and prevent any incidents,” Rosenfeld said. “Police are focusing on containing the situation and have made 20 arrests in different areas since Thursday, where security measures have been emphasized.”
Rosenfeld continued: “Assessments will continue to be made on a daily basis, including for the terrorist’s funeral, which is scheduled to take place tonight.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the extra police reinforcements to buttress security in the capital after three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun was killed and eight others wounded by a convicted Hamas terrorist at an Ammunition Hill light-rail stop Thursday night.
On Sunday night, a second woman injured in the car-ramming incident died as well, police said.
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Netanyahu said Islamic extremists are trying to ignite the capital, adding that Israel would do whatever it takes to ensure they do not succeed.
The prime minister said that Israel would act with all the force, determination and responsibility necessary to restore calm to the city.
“I expect wide support from all Israeli citizens to guard Israel’s capital,” he said.
Netanyahu told the cabinet that 1,000 additional Border Policemen and special unit forces are being brought in to reinforce the police and security forces in the city, adding that Israel will not accept a reality of rock throwing, firebombs and rioting in the city.
Meanwhile, as tension in the capital continues to mount, government officials said that Israel has made clear to relevant governments – especially to the Jordanians – that there is no plan to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“We are committed to the continuation of the status quo, and the government will oppose different proposals to change it,” the official added.
At the same time, he said, the government will “act energetically to deal with security threats, violence, and rioting, and there will be no compromise on that. Law and order will be maintained everywhere in Jerusalem.”
The official said that the root of the problem is “Palestinian extremists and, unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority as well, spreading totally false rumors that the Muslim holy sites are threatened.”
He said that among the messages being sent to the Jordanians and other governments, which he would not identify, was that there is no threat to the Muslim religious sites, and that the government is committed to protecting them.
In response to the ongoing violence in east Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday sent an “urgent letter” to the US Administration.
In his letter, Abbas urged the US Administration to intervene quickly to “stop Israeli escalation in east Jerusalem, especially raids by settlers and extremists into the Aqsa Mosque,” according to a statement released by the PA president’s office in Ramallah.
Abbas warned that Israel’s measures in the city would lead to a “wider explosion” that would be impossible to control.
Abbas also held the Israeli government responsible for the “dangerous escalation” and claimed that it was seeking to divide prayer times inside the Temple Mount between Muslims and Jews.
Khaled Abu-Toameh contributed to this report.