Police chief: Unrealistic to expect zero rock-throwing

There is no third Intifada in Jerusalem, police chief says, vowing to allow Jews to ascend the Temple Mount, even if it requires more forces at the site.

Palestinian protesters hurl stones towards IDF troops during clashes at a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, in the West Bank City of Hebron August 9, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian protesters hurl stones towards IDF troops during clashes at a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, in the West Bank City of Hebron August 9, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There is no intifada in Jerusalem, but rock-throwing will not be totally stopped, Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said at a Knesset Interior Committee meeting Sunday, called after a Muslim terrorist shot Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick last week.
Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) opened the meeting by saying the police must have zero tolerance for terrorism.
“We cannot lose Jerusalem,” she said. “When we lose Jerusalem’s security, we’ll lose Tel Aviv too.”
Danino recounted that violence in Jerusalem escalated during Operation Brother’s Keeper to find the three teenagers kidnapped and murdered in Gush Etzion and their killers this summer, and trickled into other parts of the country, positing that the police managed to lower the flames.
“We increased our forces by thousands of police officers and the claim that we did not enter neighborhoods is not true... We must use force wisely. We have to bring back quiet and whoever thinks that we only used means for dispersing demonstrations is wrong,” he said.
Danino insisted that there is no third intifada in Jerusalem, though he said that he will continue to send more officers to Jerusalem as long as it is necessary.
“Statements about an intifada only scare people,” he added. “We will protect everyone who visits Jerusalem.”
When Danino said “rioting and rock-throwing significantly decreased in recent days,” MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) told him he was given inaccurate information.
“Whoever thinks there is no decrease in violence is not connected to reality,” Danino said.
“Whoever thinks that there is no rock-throwing is not connected to reality,” Yogev responded. “I was in Silwan and there were rocks thrown at me.”
Yogev also posited that if there were fewer rocks thrown over the weekend, it was because of inclement weather and quipped: “The police can’t take credit for the rain.”
Danino answered that it is “not realistic for there to be zero rocks thrown.”
Later in the meeting, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he “will not come to terms with rock-throwing.”
As for the Temple Mount, Danino said that every government since the Six Day War did the same thing and he does not plan on making a change in the status quo.
“The attempt to murder Glick crossed every line in the sensitive fabric of the Temple Mount. This criminal terrorist act requires us to make it clear that we will not allow such actions,” he stated.
Danino explained that police closed the Temple Mount to make it clear that this is a tool they will not hesitate to use if necessary, but promised that throughout the year he will do everything possible to allow Jews and tourists to exercise their right to visit the holy site, even if many more officers must be sent there.
“We will be more careful and determined than in the past,” he stated. “Even if the level of danger will require many more police officers, we will bring the forces to protect the rights of those ascending the Mount.”
Barkat complained that “Women in Black,” Muslim women who harass Jewish visitors to the Mount, are intolerable, and Danino said that, together with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the police are trying to stop funding for their activities.
“We must fight those trying to break the status quo. We cannot allow an attempt at political assassination deter us from maintaining the status quo,” Barkat said.
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) pointed out that the Knesset will mark the anniversary of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on Wednesday and “we will remember that words can kill.
“There was obvious incitement against Glick and his friends,” Struck said. “I demand to know how much of it was investigated after the assassination attempt and how the police deals with such incitement to murder.”
Struck also pointed out that Danino did not say that he would allow Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, but said that consistently opening the site to Jewish people was a good start.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) said Danino was “inviting the next murder” by not stopping those who incite against him and others who visit the Temple Mount.
“When I ascended the Mount today, I heard calls of praise for [Glick’s shooter],” he added.
“There’s no hope and no long-term plan here. There’s a limit to how many police officers can be brought in,” MK Michal Biran (Labor) said.
Earlier Sunday, Labor MKs Nachman Shai and Erel Margalit held an emergency conference calling for calm and tolerance in Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is out of control.
Extremists on both sides are focused on it... Jerusalem is the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Shai said.
“We are initiating a campaign in Jerusalem and beyond to sound a new voice, one of sanity and good judgment that is stable in facing the populists and inciters.”