Violence erupts in Jerusalem in most violent night in capital in years

Two policemen injured, possibly by pipe bomb • Jerusalem mayor's car pelted with rocks on his way to a Sukkot event in east Jerusalem

 Palestinian youth clash with Israeli border police officers in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 12, 2022.  (photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)
Palestinian youth clash with Israeli border police officers in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 12, 2022.
(photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)

Two Israeli police officers were injured and nine Palestinians were arrested between Wednesday night and Thursday morning as violence broke out across Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank amid rising tensions surrounding IDF operations in Shuafat and Nablus and a visit by Jews to Joseph's Tomb.

Arab rioters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks and fired fireworks toward Israeli forces throughout east Jerusalem starting early in the evening. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion's car was also pelted with rocks on his way to a Sukkot event in east Jerusalem.

During riots in the Isawiya neighborhood, two police officers were lightly wounded. Police were investigating if the injuries were caused by a pipe bomb thrown at Israeli forces amid the riots.

Video published by Palestinian media showed rioters firing fireworks towards Israeli forces in multiple neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, including Ras al-Amud and Issawiya. In Silwan, near the Old City, a suspect threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces and at a car; the fighters responded by shooting.

 Israel Police confront Arab rioters in east Jerusalem, October 12, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE) Israel Police confront Arab rioters in east Jerusalem, October 12, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

Two Israeli officers were lightly injured from an explosive device and were evacuated for medical treatment.

In the Beit Hanina-Neve Ya'akov intersection in Jerusalem and in Abu Tor, Arab rioters threw rocks at Israeli drivers. Riots also broke out in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood overnight after Jewish rioters threw stones at a mosque there, according to Israeli media.

In Silwan, video published online showed rioters torching a police car.

An additional video from the riots in east Jerusalem showed fireworks being fired directly at a haredi (ultra-Orthodox man in the city.

In Kalandiya, located north of Jerusalem, armed Palestinian terrorists clashed with Border Police officers, according to Israel Police. No Israelis were injured in the clashes and searches are ongoing for the perpetrators. 

Israel Border Police Commander Amir Cohen ordered on Thursday morning for 10 border police reserve companies to go on alert after the recent violent incidences in Jerusalem, Hebrew media reported.

"The men and women of the Border Police will continue to act resolutely against the violence in order to maintain public safety," he said.

Nine Arabs suspected of taking part in the riots had been arrested by Israel Police in Issawiya as of Thursday morning; they were then transferred for questioning.

In the West Bank, Palestinian rioters threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli vehicles near Kedumim, Hebron and Psagot, among other locations.

More arrests

Israeli forces, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Border Police arrested four more Palestinians at the Qalandiya refugee camp the same night on suspicion of terrorist involvement.

During the operation, stones were thrown at the forces, who responded to disperse the demonstrations.

IDF soldiers also worked to secure the entry of worshipers into the compound of Joseph's Tomb. Shots were fired at the soldiers but there were no casualties. Another operation was conducted in the Palestinian village of Dheisheh south of Bethlehem, where two were arrested. 

 IDF soldiers operate in east Jerusalem October 12, 2022. (credit: ISRAEL BORDER POLICE SPOKESMAN) IDF soldiers operate in east Jerusalem October 12, 2022. (credit: ISRAEL BORDER POLICE SPOKESMAN)

Hours later on Thursday morning, a Palestinian threw stones at a bus near Kiryat Arba. IDF soldiers responded by shooting and wounding him in the leg. He was immediately provided medical treatment.

Palestinians prepare for clashes in Nablus

Meanwhile, in the Nablus area, Palestinian terrorists burned tires and were preparing to attack Israeli worshippers set to visit Joseph's Tomb later in the night. Terrorists fired shots at Israeli forces as they entered the area with the worshippers; no injuries were reported throughout the visit.

 Israelis visit Joseph's Tomb during Sukkot, October 13, 2022 (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL) Israelis visit Joseph's Tomb during Sukkot, October 13, 2022 (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL)

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and rabbi of the Itamar settlement Daniel Lunzer joined the worshippers at Joseph's Tomb.

The Lion's Den terrorist group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of shooting attacks in recent days, called on Palestinians earlier in the day to gather around Joseph's Tomb and light tires on fire.

The Nablus Brigade of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades stated on Wednesday night that it was declaring "complete readiness" to confront Israeli forces in Nablus.

Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF placed a closure on the turbulent city, limiting entry and exit to only a few roads and imposing security checks following a rise in shooting attacks by the Lions’ Den group.

Additionally, Palestinian media affiliated with Hamas published calls for a Day of Rage to be held on Friday.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev spoke with Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai amid the violence on Wednesday night.

"In recent hours, police forces and Border Police have been working to curb riots and disturbances in several locations in east Jerusalem. Israel Police restored order in most of the hotspots, and will continue to operate until calm is achieved," tweeted Bar Lev. "We have no intention of allowing the violence to continue, and we are determined to act harshly against anyone who disrupts the order and endangers public peace and the safety of police officers."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at a regional summit in Kazakhstan in regard to the recent violence that he will "examine the continuation of relations with Israel; we will not accept the status quo."

Right-wing leaders call for stronger action against terrorists

"I strengthen the residents of Jerusalem who are facing violent rioters at this difficult time and the men and women of security forces who are fighting them," said Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the attacks. "This is the result of a weak government on all fronts, from Hezbollah's threats to the neglect of the personal security of Israeli citizens."

Shlomo Ne'eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council and chairman of the Yesha Council, responded to the violence on Wednesday night, saying that, "when we said a week ago that it was time to launch a protective wall operation for Israel, some thought it was a 'settler problem.' Tonight everyone understands and sees how the State of Israel is threatened by murderous Arab terrorism.

"We must go deep, plowing against terrorism. Not to kill mosquitoes, but to dry the swamps," he said. "We are again calling on Defense Minister [Benny] Gantz to wake up and act - strengthen and expand the settlements and embark on an extensive military operation which will end the terrorists' hope and restore peace to the region."

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Beit Hanina neighborhood of east Jerusalem on Wednesday night, stressing that it was "a battlefield for all intents and purposes."

"We do not have the privilege of holding back with riots. This is about human life. [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid, Gantz and Omer Bar Lev must wake up," tweeted Shaked. "Heavy-handed treatment is required here - zero patience for terrorists, nullification of citizenship, 10-year prison sentences, curfews, relaxation of open-fire rules and the mobilization of Border Guard reserves."

After visiting Joseph's Tomb on Wednesday night, Dagan welcomed the decision by Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi to allow worshippers to visit Joseph's Tomb despite threats from Palestinian terrorist organizations.

"The goal of terrorism is for the State of Israel to be afraid of it and run away, and the only way to defeat terrorism is to fight back, to switch from defense to offense," said Dagan.

The Samaria Regional Council head called on the government to launch "Operation Defensive Shield 2" (a reference to a large operation carried out by the IDF throughout the West Bank in 2002).

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.