Violent clashes have resumed between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews in several Israeli cities such as the The Israeli army continued the air raids on Wednesday in the besieged Gaza Strip and Hamas launched rockets at Israel for the third day.
The crisis, which began with Israeli efforts to relocate Palestinian families to East Jerusalem, has sparked intra-community tensions in Israel, with some Palestinian citizens protesting in recent days.
At Bat Yam, about 13 kilometers (eight miles) south of Tel Aviv, right-wing Israeli Israelis looted shops and beat up a man they believed to be Palestinian, Israeli media reported.
Images of the attack, which was broadcast live on television, showed a man being forcibly removed from the car and beaten by a crowd of dozens. Harry Fawcett, of Al Jazeera, reported that “it looked like an attempt at public lynching.”
Elsewhere, a video posted on social media showed a crowd of flag-waving Israelis attacking a car in the northern city of Tiberias. Israeli Channel 13 also quoted a police officer as saying that Palestinian citizens of Israel were suspected of attacking and seriously injuring a Jew in Acre, also in the north of the country.
Meanwhile, after setting fire to a synagogue in Lod, a city about 15 km (9.3 miles) from Tel Aviv, Israeli authorities deployed border police and announced a curfew.
“We must not be dragged into provocations and cause harm to people or property,” Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said in a rare public appeal. “The Torah of Israel does not grant any license to take the law into its own hands and act violently.”
Small Israeli groups have been harming Arab companies all day.
The images come from the city of Bat Yam pic.twitter.com/mwgwpyFxXJ
– Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) May 12, 2021
Palestinian citizens of Israel claim that the violence of the last two days was not directed at Jews, but at religious nationalists closely related to the movement of Jewish settlements that have moved to mixed areas in recent years, pushing the Palestinian residents abroad.
“Across the country we have seen these similar images of Jews and Arabs facing each other on the street,” Al Jazeera’s Fawcett said of the recent clashes.
“This is a parallel development and extremely worrying for the [Israeli] government, although it continues to carry out this extensive and accelerating military operation in and around Gaza, “he said.
Tensions have risen in recent weeks in anticipation of a court ruling planned forced evictions of several Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The sentence has been postponed.
The situation increased when Israeli forces stormed the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque for three days in a row during the last week of the holy month of Ramadan. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at the Palestinian faithful.
The violence intensified on Monday after Hamas issued an ultimatum demanding Israel withdraw its security forces from the compound. Shortly after the deadline, the Palestinian group, which rules Gaza, fired several rockets at Jerusalem and later launched Israeli airstrikes against the territory.
Since then, at least 67 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to the health ministry. Israeli doctors have said at least six people have been killed by a rocket from Gaza.
After police broke up a protest Monday night in Lod, a young Palestinian resident was shot dead by a Jewish-Israeli resident. The violence later erupted a day later at the man’s funeral and spread to other communities inside Israel, including Ramle.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Lod and Acre this week, where he pledged to “stop anarchy” and restore order “with an iron fist if necessary.”
On Tuesday evening, Netanyahu authorized the deployment of hundreds of police in Lod and other areas, including paramilitary border police who usually operate in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian citizens of Israel represent approximately 20% of the country’s population.
Although they have citizenship and the right to vote, they face widespread discrimination and limited civil, political and socio-economic rights. Many Palestinian communities in Israel are also underfunded and marginalized.
Ghassan Munayyer, an activist based in Lod, said the transparency of coexistence hides deeper disparities, including housing and infrastructure. He compared the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods to “refugee camps.”
“Jews love to say that there is coexistence. They go out to eat at an Arab restaurant and call it coexistence, ”he said. “But they don’t see Arabs as equal human beings who have rights that they must respect.”