Source says further simmering of state of affairs in the contested East Jerusalem neighborhood ‘must be prevented’, slams lawmakers using situation to score political clout

The ongoing unrest in East Jerusalem’s contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood could rekindle hostilities with Gaza Strip militant factions, a senior Israeli source warned on Tuesday.

Security forces have been clashing with both Palestinian and right-wing activists in recent days in a new wave of violence in the flashpoint after far-right legislator MK Itamar Ben Gvir opened a makeshift parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah in response to Palestinians firebombing a Jewish home in the neighborhood over the weekend.

התפרעויות בשייח ג'ראח
Riots in East Jerusalem’s contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood (Photo: Amit Shabi)


“There has been a deterioration in the security situation in the area. Knesset members are coming there to stir up tensions. Escalation must be prevented and Jerusalem is a sensitive place,” the source said in a media briefing.

The source further criticized Ben-Gvir, as well as members of the predominately Arab Joint List — MKs Ahmad Tibi, Ofer Cassif and Osama Saadi — who arrived in the neighborhood Sunday and picked a quarrel with right-wing activists there.

“I know very well what brings people there. [They seek] to cause provocations and burn the house down. We have established a state that has a monopoly over using force, there is no need for vigilantism for that,” he said.

ח״כ סעדי כסיף וטיבי נצורים בתוך הבית של משפחת סאלם המיועד לפינוי בשייח ג'ראח
Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi, Ofer Cassif and Osama Saadi in Sheikh Jarrah (Photo: Haim Goldich)


“We must stand up for the security of the residents of the neighborhood… But avoid provocations that would lead us to bad places.”

The warning came days after Hamas spokesman Muhammad Hamada, warned that “settlers’ attacks on Sheikh Jarrah, led by Itamar Ben Gvir, are a game of fire that could ignite all of Palestine.”

“The ramification of such attacks are explosive and could backfire,” he said as he called on Palestinians in Jerusalem and on the West Bank to “mobilize for the residents of Sheikh Jarrah.”

עימותים בשייח ג'ראח
Police clash with Palestinian protesters in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


Israel Police also warned of the ongoing situation, saying that “bad actors have been spreading misinformation and disinformation about various events in the area over social networks, along with violent and inflammatory online discourse and improper attempts to ignite the area.”

As reported by Ynetnews