Israeli security service officials have joined the warnings issued by Palestinian civil society and political leaders against potential escalation of violence by far-right proponents who are supported by Israeli police officers.
The escalation by far-right activists portends a major security explosion in Jerusalem, especially with the advent of Islam’s holy month of fasting, Ramadan.
Rallies by extremist right-wing activists, led by Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir, in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods and other neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, are being accompanied by fierce repression and abuse by the Israeli police towards the Palestinians.
These transgressions are bound to generate intense tension among Palestinians, raising the stakes for the security situation exploding in Jerusalem at any moment.
There is also fear that tensions and violence may spill over to other Arab towns in Israel, where residents are especially triggered by the situation in Jerusalem, home to both Muslim and Christian holy sites. The situation may also explode in Gaza and the West Bank.
Haaretz newspaper quoted a number of Israeli police officers as saying that the orders issued in the name of “strictly dealing with the enforcement of the rule of law” are not proportionate to the events and involve significant exaggerations in the use of force and violence.
Officers pointed out that continuing with the incumbent policy during Ramadan, when crowds of thousands of Palestinians perform prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque, might be a precursor for clashes erupting nationwide.
Palestinian factions and personalities had warned several times in the past two weeks that the bloody attacks on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and its residents, which are escalating and taking on the character of a racist Judaization, are a form of “playing with fire.”
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel has put the issue of Jerusalem at the forefront of the topics it will raise on Land Day this year, which falls on March 30.