Hamas terror group says foreign minister’s presence in Israel’s capital was inherently provocative, vows to “protect Jerusalem” by “all available means.”
By World Israel News Staff
The Hamas terror group threatened escalation and at least 10 Arabs were arrested for rioting, after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, accompanied by a phalanx of security officers.
Social media and Hebrew-language news footage from the scene hours after Lapid’s visit depicted Arabs violently clashing with police, engaging in fistfights and using iron rods to beat officers.
Muhammad Hamadeh, Hamas spokesman for Jerusalem affairs, framed the senior government official’s presence in the neighborhood as “a dangerous escalation and a provocation to the feelings of our people and our nation in this glorified month,” referring to the ongoing Islamic holiday of Ramadan.
Notably, while Lapid simply walked around the area for a few minutes, Hamadeh said that the “Zionist enemy” lawmaker had “stormed” Damascus Gate.
He charged that the visit “and the subsequent shooting of our people in occupied Jerusalem by the occupation army, is blatant evidence of the occupation’s insistence on implementing its malicious plans against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The “shooting” Hamadeh was likely referring to was the use of rubber bullets on violent protesters who threw glass bottles, stones, and other projectiles at Israeli police officers.
“We and our people have taken the pledge to protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa with strength and by all available means,” he stated, strongly insinuating that a violent escalation is an option on the table.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning Lapid for visiting, saying it was inherently provocative.
“This is incitement against the Palestinians and an ugly expression of Israeli apartheid in which the occupier protects the Jews and ignores the Muslim and Christian holidays,” the Ministry said.
“His tour, accompanied by many police forces, is conclusive proof that he is an occupier of occupied land.”
Israel Police Jerusalem district commander Arieh Amit also slammed Lapid, telling Radio 103FM that it was a glorified publicity stunt that could worsen tensions in the region.
“All the visits of politicians to sites like these [happen so that] they can be seen on TV and heard on the radio,” Amit said. “It never helps. Many times, it just stirs things up.”