Israeli Security Forces On High Alert, Expect More Riots; Hamas Hopeful Upsurge In Violence Leads To Liberation Of Jerusalem
We’ll need to keep a close eye on the situation as it develops in Israel leading up to Barack Obama’s upcoming March visit. In the Islamic world, the seemingly tiniest spark has a tendency to ignite a raging fire very, very quickly …
By YOEL GOLDMAN and PHILIP PODOLSKY, Times of Israel – “Israel’s security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been placed on continued high alert following a day of violent demonstrations by Palestinian activists on Friday.
‘The continuing riots clearly show the terrorists’ motivation to carry out attacks,’ a source at the Central Command told Channel 10 News. He added that the security establishment had received many warnings of planned terrorist attacks, although the majority of the threats were of ‘spontaneous’ attacks, such as stabbings. Soldiers have been instructed to maintain extra vigilance at checkpoints after two Palestinians were arrested Friday carrying knives.
Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told Channel 10 News that, for now, things are under control, but that ‘if something happens to any of the Palestinian prisoners, especially the hunger strikers, it will fuel the public’s anger and lead to acts of retribution.’
Four Palestinian security prisoners who are hunger-striking in Ofer Prison were said to have been transferred to hospital on Friday.
Some Israeli experts believe the Palestinian Authority is using the issue of the hunger strikers to try to foster a First Intifada-style popular uprising. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza on Friday said he hoped the upsurge in riots represented the start of a third intifada that would ‘liberate’ the Palestinians from Israeli occupation.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom called the incidents of the last few days ‘a test for (Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas.’
‘If he is giving the green light to all these riots, what will happen if and when we sign a peace agreement? He has to prove that he can maintain control,’ Shalom said.
Channel 2 News defense analyst Roni Daniel said that US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the region would be a key factor in determining the future course of the protests. ‘If the visit fails to produce gains for the Palestinians, we can expect to see things escalate,’ he cautioned.” Read more.