Jerusalem a powder keg? Arab violence, Palestinian elections feeding tensions

One video shows an Arab boy spitting on a passing haredi Jew. Another shows an Arab on a Jerusalem wall throwing a rock over the side.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Has Jerusalem become a powder keg waiting to explode?

Since Ramadan’s start on April 13, there have been daily riots by Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem with clashes focused around the Old City’s Herod and Damascus gates. Hundreds of Palestinians have participated in the violence.

The clashes were underreported until they were tied to a new phenomenon – a string of social media posts on TikTok showing Arabs abusing Jews, particularly haredim, in Jerusalem. ‘TikTok Terror‘ became the catchphrase employed on many headlines.

The most prominent of the clips shared hundreds of thousands of times on the platform showed a since-identified 21-year-old Arab man from Beit Hanina slapping two yeshiva students in an unprovoked attack on the Jerusalem light rail.

Other disturbing videos have also emerged. One shows an Arab boy spitting on a passing haredi Jew. Another shows an Arab on a Jerusalem wall throwing a rock over the side, apparently in an attempt to hit passing Jews below.

Israeli police say they’re taking the phenomenon with utmost seriousness, fearing that the videos will lead to copycat crimes.

Haaretz‘s Amos Harel reports on Tuesday that in retaliation for the attacks, “young Jews hunted Arabs in downtown Jerusalem. Some were beaten.”

Adding to the uncertainty is the coming Palestinian Legislative Council elections scheduled for May 22 and the question of whether or not Arabs in eastern parts of Jerusalem will be allowed to participate. Elections for the Palestinian president will be held on July 31.

Israel has said it would not allow Palestinian voting to take place in Jerusalem, aware that doing so would give tacit acknowledgment of Palestinian control over parts of its capital.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says it won’t hold elections at all if they’re not allowed in Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reports Tuesday. The Central Committee of Fatah said, “Jerusalem and its people are a red line and we won’t accept injury to them or manipulation.”

The PA is seeking international support for bringing pressure to bear on Israel in the matter of Jerusalem elections. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki is visiting Belgium, where he’s meeting with his counterpart and is in contact with representatives from the U.S., EU and UN.