Tuesday, March 12, 2019

12-Mar-19: Arab-on-Israeli attacks edge upwards again

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It's shaping to be a violent and tense day here in Israel.

Experience suggests this isn't because of some unusual weather pattern. Broadly speaking, violence is something that the Palestinian Arab leadership switches off and on at will. It's clearly on right now.

Some of the more persuasive analysts put this down to the coming together of at least four main factors: Israel's April elections; the expectation of a comprehensive Trump Administration peace agreement proposal; rising tension in the endless jockeying for power and supremacy between the Fatah-controlled Abbas regime and Hamas; and the Palestinian Authority's 's move ["PA Reduces Wages to Employees Israel's payment deduction"] to substantially cut salaries across a wide swathe of the population under its control, unilaterally making an already on-the-ropes economy even more fragile.

Among the acts of violence:

Monday 11:30 pm: Still-unidentified shooters attacked an Israeli vehicle in the northern Samaria district last night (Monday) on a road near the Israeli community of Rehelim (population about 800), south of Nablus/Shechem and located between Kfar Tapuach and Eli. No one was injured, thankfully. But the vehicle was damaged, suggesting the fire could have exacted a heavier toll. Israel National News reports an attempted infiltration this past Friday night just as the Sabbath was being ushered in. The community's "security guards... identified two suspicious figures approaching the town. Rehelim's military security coordinator arrived first, fired a light bomb, and noticed the two suspects running away."

Tuesday 12:45 pm: Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man as he tried to stab them in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, the IDF said according to Times of Israel. No one else was injured in the thwarted attack:
IDF soldiers spotted the terrorist armed with a knife as he ran toward them. The soldiers pushed the terrorist back as he tried to run into a nearby civilian building. The soldiers shot the terrorist, thwarting the attack, and he was killed,” the military said... The suspect, armed with a knife, entered the contentious Beit HaShalom building in Hebron, near the Kiryat Arba settlement. A resident of the building, one of the few Jewish-owned structures inside the overwhelmingly Palestinian city, saw and called Israeli security forces to the scene, according to reports from the scene. A video filmed at the scene showed the attacker lying on the ground in the entrance hall of the building with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest. The knife was seen on the ground several feet away from him."
Images of the attacker appear in the Hebrew-language social media, here for instance. The would-be knifer is identified by Palestinian Arab officials as Yasser Fuzi Shuweiki. The Ma'an News Agency site (English language edition) calls him Yasser al-Shweiki and rather enigmatically quotes his father saying the son "was distributing notices from the Sharia Court across Hebron City", presumably trying to deflect any suggestion that he was a knifer looking for Israeli stabbing victims. (An Israeli social media commentator says he was the local mailman.) In the Arabic version of Ma'an's account, but not the English, its editors call the would-be knifer, not surprisingly, a martyr:
Palestinian Civil Affairs demanded that the Israeli authorities hand over the body of Yasser Mohammed Fawzi Shweiki, who was killed by Israeli soldiers [and] who worked as a clerk in the Hebron District Court, where he was working before being shot by Israeli soldiers who claimed he had a knife and attempted to stab Against soldiers.
Tuesday Noon: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City was sealed off by Israel Police today in the wake of Arab violence that included a firebomb being hurled at officers, followed by arrests and clashes. Times of Israel says:
"Police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with worshipers in the area as they searched for the assailants. In one video, police were seen wrestling a woman to the ground. Ten suspects were arrested and an investigation into the incident was ongoing, police said... Police said they found flammable materials, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails during a search of the Temple Mount after it was closed... The Damascus Gate entrance of the Old City of Jerusalem was also closed and police were dispatched throughout the Old City and East Jerusalem “to prevent and respond to any attempt to disturb public order in response to the serious incident,” police said in a statement."
The president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas complained of “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned of “serious repercussions.”

Tuesday 4:45 pm: Security forces of the IDF took a Palestinian Arab woman into custody who aroused their suspicions near Beit Hashalom (House of Peace), the site of another, earlier Arab-on-Israel stabbing in Hebron (above). They found, after a careful search of her clothing and person, that she had a knife concealed somewhere not yet reported. Times of Israel says she was promptly arrested and is in the hands of the security forces for questioning.

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