Reports: Security Officials Fear Escalation Toward Larger Conflict ‘Within Days’

YERUSHALAYIM -
An Israeli policeman holds a weapon during clashes with Palestinians on Motzoei Shabbos, in the Old City of Yerushalayim. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Israel’s security establishment is reportedly preparing for several critical days in Yerushalayim that could determine whether the country sees a return to calm or a major conflagration, according to media reports on Motzoei Shabbos.

Channel 12 reported there are acute alerts of potential terror attacks in Yehudah, Shomron and in Yerushalayim in the coming days, after a week that has seen a deadly shooting attack, a failed shooting attack on IDF soldiers and repeated clashes in Yerushalayim that have left dozens of policemen wounded.

The report cited unnamed security officials as saying that with Motzoei Shabbos marking the most important night of Ramadan and Sunday-Monday seeing celebrations of Jerusalem Day, the city could potentially see an escalation in violence that would lead to a larger conflict.

According to Channel 12, current discourse in the Palestinian street is of a “war for Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The report said that in the Gaza Strip, Hamas is currently avoiding firing rockets, but that could quickly change. In the meantime, the terror group is encouraging its operatives in Yehudah and Shomron to carry out attacks there and inflame tensions.

Israel has boosted its security presence in all potential arenas of conflict, and is also deploying Iron Dome batteries near potential targets of Gaza rockets, while also making efforts behind the scenes to calm Palestinian spirits.

Channel 12 reported that while Fatah and Hamas are both encouraging mass protests in response to events in the capital, Fatah is interested in keeping the events contained, and does not want serious escalation. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s organization is thus attempting to focus the outrage on the Palestinian street on Yerushalayim alone, to keep the demonstrations limited in scope, as Hamas attempts to widen the front to Yehudah, Shomron and the Gaza Strip.