P.A.'s 'Peaceful Demonstrations' Heating Up

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Instead of attending Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, some "worshippers" come with a different idea in mind.

This past Friday, police used stun grenades to disperse about 100 rioters. Eleven officers and 15 Arabs were injured.

Rioting on the Temple Mount goes in cycles, prompting Israel at times to limit attendance to men age 45 or older, holding Israeli identity cards.

But rock-throwing attacks by angry mobs have been more frequent lately.

Israel Police on standard patrols in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods have been increasingly pelted by rocks and petrol bombs.

Following Friday's disturbances at the Temple Mount, rioting broke out that evening in the Arab village of A-Ram, just outside Jerusalem's northeastern city limits.

Angry mobs threw rocks at IDF troops, set fires and blocked streets. One demonstrator died from a bullet wound fired by a soldier who thought his life was in danger when a firecracker was hurled at him.    

Rioting continued Saturday morning after the funeral, prompting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to warn the "international community…about the dangers of remaining silent vis-à-vis Israel's policy of using violence against non-violent protests by our people," The Jerusalem Post reported.

"It appears that some Palestinian leaders believe that throwing rocks and petrol bombs is a form of peaceful protest," the Post quoted one Israeli official's response to the statement.

That rhetoric has a familiar ring in the Middle East. It's been used to describe demonstrators burning Israeli flags and shouting "death to the Zionist entity."

There's also been an increase in attacks on Israelis driving to and from communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), anything from rocks to Molotov cocktails to live ammunition.

Palestinian Unity

Then there's the burgeoning relationship between Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, its counterpart in the West Bank.

While the two factions are allegedly working out their differences, Palestinians in Gaza continue firing rockets on southern Israel -- some smuggled in through tunnels and others manufactured in Gaza.

Israel responds by targeting the terror infrastructure in Gaza, weapons depots, explosive manufacturing facilities, smuggling tunnels, and rocket-launching sites.

On the diplomatic front, Fatah's Palestine Liberation Organization continues to stymie efforts for face-to-face peace talks, blaming Israel rather than the P.A. for the stalemated negotiations.

Speaking at a conference in Qatar over the weekend, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas called on the Arab world to stop Israel's "judaization" of Jerusalem.

Abbas said the "occupation authority" has a three-fold plan that uses "brute force to invent history," abolish religious and historical "facts," and fabricate "artificial details."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the remarks "harshly inflammatory," noting they came from "someone who claims he is bent on peace."

"For thousands of years, Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office on Sunday. "This is not how one makes peace."

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Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.