Climate of fear pervades city following Jerusalem riots and spate of attacks against Jews

‘Everyone thinks there’s going to be a war here, so now they are afraid to leave their homes,’ says east Jerusalem man.

Palestinians pray on the first Friday of Ramadan in the Wadi al-Joz section of east Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians pray on the first Friday of Ramadan in the Wadi al-Joz section of east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hours after an unsettling autopsy report surfaced Saturday concluding that Muhammad Abu Khdeir was burnt alive, allegedly by Jewish nationalists seeking revenge for the three murdered yeshiva students, several Israelis were attacked in and around the capital by Arab terrorists.
The attacks followed days of rioting and heated calls for a third intifada on Friday, as thousands of Arabs converged in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat for Abu Khdeir’s highly charged funeral procession.
“With our blood and our spirit we shall sacrifice for the martyr!” chanted mourners, as they waved Palestinian flags during the procession, which was interrupted by masked Palestinian youths hurling rocks at officers.
According to police, in one instance Saturday evening a group of young Arabs threw rocks at a couple outside of the Old City, lightly wounding a woman, whose armed husband fired a warning shot into the air, causing their assailants to flee.
In another incident, a video surfaced of the 174 bus between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim being struck by rocks while passing through a tunnel near Mount Scopus, lightly wounding the driver and two passengers, who were treated at a nearby hospital.
Later that night, terrorists hurled Molotov cocktails at Jewish residents of Nof Zion, located adjacent to the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber, and destroyed two vehicles, one owned by the United Nations.
A brush fire was started in Har Homa, located in southern east Jerusalem, near Beit Sahur, after Molotov cocktails were thrown there. The fire was quickly extinguished by fire fighters, as rioting continued in Arab neighborhoods of the capital, including in Isawiya and Abu Tor.
Despite the rash of violence, residents of east Jerusalem expressed more fear than anger Sunday afternoon. The normally bustling intersection by the capital’s Green Line was largely devoid of traffic as Arabs congregating near Damascus Gate sat in shaded areas while fasting for Ramadan.
“Everyone is afraid,” said Mohammed Abu-Hawa Soose, a kitchen worker at a local hotel. “I’m afraid to go to work because someone will kill me. Everybody’s nervous because the news is so bad that Jews and Arabs are both afraid.”
Adnan, a middle-aged taxi-driver sitting with several Arab friends under a large umbrella, said Sunday’s quiet is unprecedented.
“I’ve been driving a taxi for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this,” he said.
“Everybody thinks there is going to be a war here, so now they are afraid to leave their homes.”
Asked about the prospect of a third intifada, Firas, another taxi driver sitting with Adnan, said he believes that it will likely begin after Ramadan.
“Right now people are very tired from rioting and fasting for Ramadan,” he said. “But the intifada will come soon, because Israel is closing in on our people. Ramadan is good because it will give us more energy for the intifada.”
Told about the six arrests of Jewish nationalists suspected in the murder of Abu Khdeir early Sunday morning, Adnan said the inevitable disparity in their treatment versus the Arabs suspected of killing the three teenagers will only exacerbate tensions.
“The Palestinians arrested will have their homes destroyed and their families will be arrested, but the Israelis will be out of jail within a week,” he said. “The government will let them go and punish us.”
Despite Adnan’s prediction of another intifada, a 21-year-old Arab business student returning from school, who requested anonymity, denounced the rioting and retaliatory violence.
“The rioting is not good,” he said. “I kill you, your brother kills me – what good does that do? Most of the people want peace.”
Indeed, one young Jewish mother, pushing her infant daughter in a stroller on Jaffa Road, echoed the student’s sentiments.
“We need to calm [down],” she said, requesting her name not be published. “It’s not good for Jews or Arabs. Everyone should live in peace.”
Meanwhile, Rachel Godlove, who joined her husband at a nearby outdoor café for ice coffee to cool off from the sweltering heat, expressed sorrow, fear and uncertainty.
“My first thought is that this is sad because everyone wants revenge,” she said.
“You see a lot of police because people are worried because we don’t know when or where they will attack us.
“We really can’t know, and that makes us afraid,” she continued.