Hamas threatens more violence unless Israel allows Arab voting in Jerusalem

Hamas rejects Egyptian mediation and wants violence to continue until Israel relents on Jerusalem voting in Palestinian elections, report says.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Leaders of the Hamas terror group in Gaza have rejected Egyptian mediation trying to calm violence, saying it is opposed to any lull in the violence “as long as Israel dies not stop its policy in Jerusalem,” the Al Quds newspaper reported Monday.

Overnight, terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip fired another three rockets at Israel, bringing the total fired since Friday night to 45. Hamas said the rocket fire over the weekend was in support of Arabs in Jerusalem who were rioting.

Several of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system while most of the rockets exploded in open areas.

Two rockets that did get through exploded inside Israeli communities causing some damage, but no injuries, as Israelis rushed to bomb shelters. Three Israelis were lightly injured while hurrying to safety.

Egypt and the UN envoy to the region called for calm both in Gaza and Jerusalem.

“The provocative acts across Jerusalem must cease. The indiscriminate launching of rockets towards Israeli population centers violates international law and must stop immediately,” said UN envoy Tor Wennesland in a statement on the weekend.

“I condemn all such acts of violence and I reiterate my call upon all sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid further escalation,” adding that the UN “is working with all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation.”

In a statement issued on the Hamas website Sunday, its political leader Ismail Haniyeh threatened that there would be “no calm if the Zionist entity continues this aggressive policy in Jerusalem … We will only accept that this uprising continues.”

Jerusalem violence had started with Arab youth filming themselves attacking Jews and uploading the videos to social media, but then spread after Jerusalem police forbade people from sitting on the steps outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City, known as a hotspot for violent clashes.

Israel Police withdrew the restriction on sitting on the steps, but clashes continued nonetheless.

In a statement, Hamas also called on the resistance to “keep its finger on the trigger” and prepare rockets to be on standby.

Hamas is also demanding that Israel withdraw its ban on Arabs in Jerusalem voting in the upcoming Palestinian elections. Abbas may use Israel’s refusal to allow Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse to delay elections, something Hamas doesn’t want as it expects electoral victory.

Israel Army Radio reports that the Palestinian Authority is expected in the coming days to call for a postponement of the elections scheduled next month and has already told international diplomats of its plan.