Yerushalayim is far calmer this week, but police haven’t forgotten the mass rioting by Arabs over the security measures at Har HaBayis – and overnight Sunday, police arrested dozens of Arab residents of the city on charges of rioting. Police said in a statement that they made 33 arrests “in a wide-ranging operation against figures who were central to the rioting and unrest. Our role is to ensure that all residents can conduct their lives and go about their affairs normally without interference, and we will fulfill this mission without compromise.”
While the mass riots that characterized the previous two weeks have dissipated, there have been nightly riots in Yerushalayim’s Arab neighborhoods. A report in Haaretz quoted community leaders as saying that, given the success in their riots against the body scanners and metal detectors on Har HaBayis, which Israel removed at the end of last week under pressure from the U.S., Jordan and the threat of mass riots among Arabs in Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, they were considering extending the strategy to other issues – among them removing police from Har HaBayis altogether, ending Israel’s policy of demolishing illegally built homes, and others.
Police said that they would not accept such attempts “to change the reality in Yerushalayim and influence the decision-making process. With intense field work, video evidence, intelligence gathering, advanced technological measures and the determination of police, we have been able to locate and detain some of the main inciters of rioting and violence. We have reached the ‘hard center’ of the group that has been inciting the riots and violence. The suspects have been arrested and will be questioned.”
On Monday, prosecutors filed charges against five Arab residents of Yerushalayim who are accused of posting messages inciting violence and hatred on social media. The suspects are between the ages of 19 and 21, and posted numerous messages in between 2014 and 2017 calling for more Arabs to attack Israel and to create “more martyrs.”