CMEP Bulletin: Abbas and Netanyahu Attempt to Calm Escalating Violence
As violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians continued to escalate journalists debated whether or not the violence indicated the beginning of a third intifada. In response to the escalation Abbas ordered his security forces to bring calm to the West Bank while Netanyahu told Israelis that, “[Israel is] acting firmly against terrorists, against lawbreakers and against incitement. We increased our security forces and we are giving them all the means and methods necessary to fight this terrorism.” Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused the other of being responsible for inciting the increased violence.
Netanyahu closed Jerusalem’s Old City to nearly all Palestinians for 48 hours following a stabbing attack that left two Israelis dead. Israeli citizens, Old City residents, tourists, Old City business owners and students studying in the Old City were still granted admittance. Just two days after reopening the Old City Netanyahu ordered police to bar all Israeli ministers and Knesset members, both Jewish and Palestinian, from entering Al Aqsa/Temple Mount. Netanyahu’s office said, “The decision stems from the intention to cool the atmosphere around the Temple Mount.” Later that same day metal detectors were stationed throughout the Old City in order to prevent potential attackers from smuggling in knives.
In the midst of a week in which dozens of Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank Abbas told Haaretz, “I support a popular, nonviolent struggle and oppose all violence and use of weapons. I’ve made clear a number of times that I don’t want to return to the cycle of violence.”
Among the past weeks victims of violence are an Israeli couple, Eitam and Naama Henkin, and a Palestinian 13 year old, Abed Al Rahman Obeidallah. The Henkin’s were shot October 1st in their car near the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh and are survived by their four young children who were present in the car but unharmed during the attack. Abed Al Rahman Obeidallah was still carrying his school bag when he was shot by Israeli soldiers near Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem on Monday.