Friday, November 21, 2014

Jerusalem Intifada Is Underway

The Jerusalem Intifada Is Underway, And It's Going To Get Worse

At the entrance, a little beyond the Border Police checkpoint, it’s hard to tell which is more overpowering – the tear gas that hits you at the first turn in the road or the smell of burnt trash that follows you across the camp. In almost every corner there are piles of garbage, some of them burnt, some not.

The UNRWA workers look busy trying to clear at least some of the garbage from the streets, without any notable success. A few dozen meters away, above the main street, a huge sign hangs, impossible to miss. The visage of Ibrahim al-Akary, the terrorist who fatally ran over two Israelis on November 5, flutters over the passersby. The text beside him praises the “brave martyr who carried out the ramming attack,” signed, the Hamas military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam.

Movement by car is almost impossible. The roads are damaged and crowded. Local youths are trying to direct the cars, and yell at drivers if they hold up the traffic. Next to the Ramoni mini-market, next to the school, traffic is at a standstill. The smell of garbage is especially strong here. Even in the refugee camps of the West Bank, it is hard to match the hardship that hits you in the eye, and nose, here in Shuafat.

This refugee camp is different from the other neighborhoods and villages in East Jerusalem. Especially poor and underdeveloped, it is surrounded by gray walls and, outside them, two Jewish neighborhoods, French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev. A visit makes it clear, at least here, that the “al-Quds intifada,” the Jerusalem intifada, has already begun, and isn’t waiting for commentators to give the official word. For the youths in the camps, the clashes in recent weeks are a matter of daily routine. Despair is seen here in all its glory, and so is the hatred for Israel and Jews. No one here sheds a tear for the five Israelis butchered the day before at the synagogue in Har Nof.

The First Intifada in December 1987 was triggered by a car accident in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza between an Israeli truck driver and a car carrying Palestinian workers. Four Palestinians were killed. Immediately after the accident, a false rumor spread that the killing was intentional and that the Israeli driver wanted to avenge the death of a relative killed in a terror attack.
Palestinian media (which then operated under Israeli supervision, not under Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority) kindled the flames and turned the rumor into fact. A huge wave of protests began, and along with it the six-year “intifada of stones.”
On Monday morning, the body of a Palestinian bus driver, Yussef al-Ramouni, was found hanging in his bus in the Har Hotzvim parking lot in northern Jerusalem. Jerusalem District Police insisted it was a suicide and that there was no suspicion of foul play.
According to Israeli doctors, the autopsy finished with the unequivocal conclusion that Ramouni committed suicide.

The rumor that another Palestinian (after the murder of teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir by Jewish extremists, following the killings of three Jewish teens by a Hamas-linked cell in the summer) had been murdered at the hands of Jews spread like wildfire. It is hard to remember such a consensus among Palestinians, religious and secular, young and old, rich and refugees, like the one that now holds that Jewish settlers had strangled Ramouni. The neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were on fire once again.

But in the al-Quds intifada, unlike the popular uprising in 1987, Palestinians aren’t satisfied with just riots. On Tuesday morning, cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal left their home in Jabel Mukaber in southeast Jerusalem and headed to the Har Nof neighborhood on the opposite edge of the city. They apparently knew the targeted synagogue, and went inside and murdered four innocent worshipers and a Druze traffic cop who tried to stop them.
When I tried to ask East Jerusalem youths how they explain the murderers’ savagery, they said again and again that it was a natural reaction to the murder (that never happened) of the bus driver.

On Thursday, there were heavy clashes here between local youths and the police, and they will doubtless start against Friday afternoon.

“This attack is a source of pride for every one of the villagers. We praised it, and we are certain that even harsher ones will come. All the villages in East Jerusalem are proud of us now, and we will someday be proud of their sons when they carry out attacks like this. Every youth who becomes a martyr brings honor for us.”

“The end will be by force. What was taken by force will be freed by force. The Zionists have to give up al-Aqsa and stop the arrests, the violation of women in al-Aqsa. Otherwise, if these things continue, there will be more attacks, and inshallah, they will be bigger.”

While Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that he did not have any specific information on the case, he stressed that “leaders of the Occupation (Israel) who are responsible for the killing of children and women and for defiling the sacred sites are legitimate targets for the resistance.”

On Thursday the Shin Bet security service said Israeli forces foiled a Palestinian plan to kill Liberman during the summer war with Gaza.

A group of Hamas members from near Bethlehem in the West Bank planned to purchase a rocket-propelled grenade, which would be shot at Liberman, who lives in an Israeli settlement in the area, the Shin Bet said.

The head of the Hamas cell was identified as Ibrahim Salim Mahmoud Zir, 37, a former convict who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related activities. Zir is a resident of the village of Harmala, which sits several kilometers from the settlement of Nokdim, where Liberman lives.

The group gathered intelligence on Liberman’s convoy to carry out the attack, according to the Shin Bet, and turned to Hamas officials in the area for help in acquiring the RPG.
Indictments were recently served against those involved in the plan, according to the statement.
Israeli officials said they also uncovered during the interrogations Hamas plans to fire weapons and carry out hit-and-run attacks against settlers and Israeli troops in the area.

Israeli police seized a massive shipment of firecrackers, swords, tasers and other weapons at Ashdod port Thursday - a potentially deadly arsenal which was set to be delivered to Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Two containers intercepted by authorities at the southern port were packed with 18,000 fireworks, 5,200 commando knives, 5,500 tasers, 4,300 tasers concealed in flashlights, 1,000 swords and several thousand other "cold" weapons.
The lethal cargo was hidden under a layer of Christmas decorations, and had been shipped in all the way from China.
The weapons were in all likelihood destined to be used against police and Jewish residents of Jerusalem by Arab extremists, who have been rioting and carrying out a series of deadly attacks since the summer. Fireworks in particular have become a weapon of choice among Arab rioters, prompting a controversial decision to temporarily ban the importation of certain types of fireworks.
Several suspects, including a number of residents of northern Israel, have been arrested in connection with the shipment.
Police say it is the largest such seizure of weaponry in recent memory.

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