Violence erupted across the West Bank Monday as Palestinian Arabs mourned the death of Arafat Jaradat, who died while in Israeli custody. Palestinians claim he was tortured to death while Israel says he died of a heart attack.
“You’re looking right now on the first day of the intifada,” Mustafa Barghouti, a former PA presidential candidate, told Israeli daily Maariv, according to a translation.
Echoing the warning Monday was PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of stoking the flames of violence, but added,“We won’t let Israel create chaos in the West Bank,” he said. “We won’t let that happen.”
Arabs rioted in the village of Beit Anoun, between Si’ir and Hebron, Monday morning, where some 200 Palestinian Arabs gathered, according to Israel Radio.
Protests were also reported in Beitunia, outside Ramallah and near the Ofer military prison, where hundreds threw rocks at Israeli security forces.
Forces also clashed with rioters at other spots around the West Bank, including Tulkarem and near Tekoa.
Israeli’s Internal Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, told Israel’s Channel 2, however, that he didn’t believe a third Intifada was imminent, saying the region was “not on the verge of a third uprising (in the West Bank). We should act responsibly, especially the other side, which shoulders most of the responsibility.”
He added that Israel was taking precautions, especially in Jerusalem. “We are preparing for the possibility of riots on the Temple Mount. We are aware that stones have been brought there but forces are in place and at the ready.”
On Friday riots were reported on the Temple Mount in addition to the several demonstrations that turned violent in the West Bank.