Palpable tension enveloped the eastern part of Jerusalem yesterday, following reported violence on the city by Palestinian youths.
The violence is the worst recorded in the last ten years. Israeli security forces promptly moved in by surrounding the area and restricted movement of persons and goods to forestall escalation of the violence.
In recent weeks, Israel has witnessed series of violent attacks from their Palestinian neighbours, resulting in the death of about eight persons with another 80 wounded.
Israeli army spokesperson, Lt. Tamaria Epelbaum told Saturday Nigerian Pilot that Palestinian youths, especially those in the Gaza Strip, have in the last two years ignited violence in Jerusalem border communities by launching rockets over the Gaza wall, stressing that several lives were lost.
She pointedly accused HAMAS of being responsible for the ensued violence. “HAMAS should be held responsible for any violence or attack in Israel. In the last one year, HAMAS has launched over 4500 rockets into Israel, through the border wall and these have claimed several lives. HAMAS is a terrorist organisation, even the United Nations has labeled it same.
“Despite the provocation and killings, Israel still opened her borders to allow the transportation of food items, medical and other humanitarian aids to Palestine. Unfortunately, HAMAS has cashed in on this window to bring in dangerous weapons and to attack innocent civilians. Many times, we have intercepted such deadly weapons.”
She said, “Israel, despite its disposition to peaceful resolution of the crisis between her and Palestine, would not fold her arms and watch her people being killed by terrorists” the Army spokes person said.
Accordingly, Israeli Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu ordered security to cordon off the area. As a result, security forces began a ‘stop and search’ operation in the troubled eastern part of Jerusalem, ordering passengers out of vehicles and frisking them. Security has also been tightened at airports and other entry and exit points into Israel to forestall spread of violence.
At the same time, Saturday Nigerian Pilot witnessed the deployment of hundreds of soldiers and policemen in all the cities. Israeli Police authorities said 3,500 of its personnel have been deployed across the communities in Jerusalem.
Deputy Director- General, permanent secretary, of the State of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Israeli government does not believe the attacks in recent times, about 25 in the last one year, were approved by the Palestinian authority, accusing some Palestinian youths of fuelling the violence both in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for selfish reasons.
“Our investigations show that most of the attacks on Israel were the handiwork of selfish youths incited by what they read and saw on the social media networks and what they were told in mosques and social gatherings. The Internet regrettably, rather than serve the purpose of communication and education, is now being used by terrorists to recruit youths across the globe and to disseminate hate messages, especially against Israel. This is a very unfortunate development’, he said.
On its part, Palestinian National Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas has also condemned the fresh violence describing it as unwarranted.
United States led negotiations for peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine collapsed last year 2014 September amid arguments over Israeli settlement and Palestinian demand for release of her prisoners by Israel.

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