In the wake of violent clashes between Jewish and Palestinians revolving around Temple Mount (Noble Sanctuary / Al-Aqsa, as it is known to Muslims), and as tensions seem to be rising by the minute, Arab party Ra’am, led by Mansour Abbas, has decided to freeze its coalition and parliament membership.
This is an unprecedented move, following hectic consultations as well as a meeting of the Party’s Shura (traditional advisory council) – and can be seen as the middle ground between doing nothing (not an option, given that the site is contention is the holiest to Islam), and leaving the government – which will cause it to collapse and most likely lead to elections.
According to official communication, this move was coordinated with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Foreign Minister and alternative PM Yair Lapid. The Knesset is currently not in session, so for the moment this is mostly a symbolic move to express protest and discontent.
This year Passover and Ramadan are intersecting, something which was already foreseen as a major cause for alarming tension and violence, with extremists from both sides have been fanning the flames.
PM Bennett held yesterday (Sunday) a security assessment regarding the events in Jerusalem, at which security officials presented the intelligence and operational situation at the various points.
"The main goal is to ensure security for the citizens of Israel throughout the country. The security forces are continuing to receive a free hand from the political echelon for any measure to ensure security for the citizens of Israel,” said Bennett.
“We are working to calm things down on the one hand and are taking vigorous action against violent individuals on the other. The security forces are ready for any scenario."
Another front Bennett acknowledged is against false reports and fake news disseminated by inciters across social media, including edited clips of violence against Muslim worshippers in order to ignite the area and harm the routine of Ramadan.
The latest bout of unrest started this past Friday – Passover eve, and the second Friday or Ramadan. In the early hours of the morning, police forces dispersed a violent riot on the Temple Mount. Hundreds of rioters participated in the clashes, during which stones were thrown and fireworks launched at police forces and towards the rear of the Western Wall.
This morning (Monday) the traditional Birkat Cohanim (Priestly Blessing) at the Western Wall will take place. Large police forces are deployed throughout the Old City of Jerusalem to maintain order.