The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is reported to have fired two missiles into Gaza over the weekend amid continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. This was after the IDF had intercepted a rocket allegedly fired by Hamas into Jerusalem on Oct. 11, 2015. According to reports, the violent clashes have left six Israelis and 24 Palestinians dead. More than 300 people, mostly Palestinians who were between 13 and 29 years of age, have been injured during the running battles with Israeli authorities. As the violent clashes entered their 16th day on Wednesday, security has been tightened in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered security reinforcements after sporadic attacks in Jerusalem, said in a statement, “I commend the security forces, police, border police and the IDF for their dedicated and tireless actions for the security of our country.” He went on to describe the current state of affairs as being stirred by the Hamas as a way to instill terror in “peaceful Israelis.” Netanyahu said his nation should remain vigilant and determined against “instigators from any direction.” This was an apparent reference to the proposed emergency meeting to be held on Oct.13 by the Arab League. Ahmed Ben Heli, the league’s Deputy Secretary-General, told reporters that the meeting will discuss the offensive strategy against Palestinians with regards to access to the holy al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to Haaretz, the volatile situation between the Israelis and Palestinians began in early September after the Netanyahu-led government imposed restrictions on the site which is known by Jews as Temple Mount. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and it includes the al-Aqsa Mosque which is regarded as the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians are of the view that denying them access to the holy shrine is tantamount to “declaration of war.” Also the launch of missiles into their terrain by Israel will stir the violence out of control.
Palestinians maintain that the third intifada against Tel Aviv will continue unabated if their neighbors maintain their presence in the East and West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently told the world during the U.N. General Assembly, that his state is not bound by any treaty with Israel which has failed to assume its obligations as an occupying power. Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader jailed for his role during the 2002 intifada, has praised the Palestinian youth for their bravery against the occupation which has denied Palestine of its sovereignty and freedom.
Bishara A. Bahbah, an adjunct professor at Al-Quds, Jerusalem University, also wrote in a recent post arguing that Tel Aviv’s continued occupation in both East Jerusalem and West Bank has been “oppressive” and is aimed at dissipating the “viability of a Palestinian state.” He maintains that Israeli’s launch of missiles into Palestine will not stop the violence but exacerbate the volatile situation.
Amid the continuing violence, Netanyahu has called upon the world leaders to denounce Palestinian authorities for inciting violence. He referred to the Sept. 16, 2015, remarks by Abbas on Palestinian television who said, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority went on to say that such blood will be regarded as a holy sacrifice and “…with the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven.”
Meanwhile, world leaders are expected to meet in an attempt to facilitate a peace deal with both warring parties on Oct. 16, 2015. The meeting is aimed at ending hostilities and resolve a peaceful settlement. However, Palestine maintains that Israel should not launch any missiles into Gaza as this will escalate the violence.
By Shepherd Mutsvara
Jerusalem Post: Israel to World Leaders: Urge Palestinian Authority to Stop Incitement
BBC News: Israeli-Palestinian Violence Continues
CNN: Israeli-Palestinian Violence: Woman Burned After Igniting Gas Canister
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