Rioting and attacking Israeli drivers in Jerusalem have dominated the city the past week. On Sunday evening, May 9, Israel began celebrating Yom Yerushalim, Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967.

In the days leading up to the celebration, rioting occurred both on the Temple Mount and in East Jerusalem. “Clashes erupted on Friday as Muslims pack the Al-Aqsa compound to pray on the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Violence had been building in the holy city and the West Bank for the past week.” The violence left over 220 injured, mostly Palestinians.

On Saturday, further violence erupted in East Jerusalem, as Israeli police fired rubber bullets seeking to dispel rioters and restore peace. This action left over 120 Palestinians and 17 police officers injured. Much of the unrest comes from the claims by right wing nationalist groups who for decades have sought legal means to evict several Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, an East Jerusalem neighborhood, in a real estate dispute. A recent lower court decision finding in their favor, infuriating Palestinians, led to the increased tension and violence.

President Abbas has cancelled elections, slated to be the first held in fifteen years, and called for further violence. Hamas fired 7 rockets into Israel toward Beth Shemesh and Jerusalem after the Temple Mount clashes, as dozens more were unleashed in the south, along with incendiary balloons, “burning large swaths of Israel.” Abbas calls for more violence and bloodshed, while Prime Minister Netanyahu declares Israel’s commitment to both law and order, along with a commitment for all faiths to have safe access to their holy sites.

Hopefully, Israel’s and Netanyahu’s commitment for order will prevail over Abbas’s call for violence in the coming hours and days. We should pray to that end.

(Source: The Times of Israel)