UAE blames Israel for Jerusalem Arab riots

Although it condemned “all forms of violence and hatred,” Abu Dhabi put the onus on Israel to stop the violence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The UAE reprimanded Israel for the last two weeks of Arab rioting in Jerusalem Sunday, saying that it was Israel’s obligation to reduce the violence.

A statement put out by its foreign ministry and published by the official WAM news agency called on “the Israeli authorities to assume responsibility toward de-escalation and putting an end to all aggressions and practices that perpetuate tension and hostility.”

It specifically pointed an accusatory finger at a Jewish counter-protest that took place Thursday night near the Old City walls.

“The United Arab Emirates has expressed concern over the acts of violence committed by right-wing extremist groups in the occupied East Jerusalem, which have resulted in injuries among civilians,” said the statement.

Hundreds of members of the Lehava organization had gathered near Damascus Gate against the recent Arab attacks on Jewish passersby and police in which stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks were used. The Arabs who arrived in reaction to the “provocation,” as one eye-witness called it, were separated from the Jewish group by a heavy police presence.

While many in the Jewish group shouted slogans like “Death to Arabs,” and some stones and bottles were thrown by both sides, the blue line held and the clashes that broke out involved only the Arabs and police.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 100 Palestinians were injured, with one person reportedly shot in the head by a rubber-tipped bullet. Police said 20 officers were hurt as they used stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the violent crowds at several flashpoints. More than 50 people were arrested.

The UAE statement made no mention of the fact that the continual riots began on the first night of Ramadan on April 12 without any violence on the part of Israeli authorities or civilians to trigger them. For years, the Moslem holy month has been a time of increased Arab-on-Jew violence in Israel in general and in Jerusalem in particular.

The Foreign Ministry did “emphasize” the UAE’s “categorical rejection and condemnation of all forms of violence and hatred that contravene with all humanitarian values ​​and principles.”

It also called for “maintaining maximum self-restraint to avoid the region slipping into new levels of instability in a way that threatens peace.”

Abu Dhabi’s criticism of Israel is one of very few that the UAE has issued since it signed the Abraham Accords last August. It also refused to allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come for a state visit, which it reportedly feared would be used to burnish his credentials during the recent elections.