Cars set on fire during racial riots in Lod in 2021

Israel braces for new round of violence in mixed cities and in Gaza

The police map out potential hotspots for riots as Muslim Ramadan, Jewish Passover and Christian Easter converge; officers lament shortage of troops; warning they may also be needed during rocket fire from Gaza

Liran Levi |
Updated: 03.29.22, 20:03
Israeli security forces claimed it was just a matter of time before riots breakout between Arab and Jewish citizens as they had in May of 2021, brought on by violent clashes during the holy month of Ramadan.
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  • The riots last year, that spread from Jerusalem to mixed Jewish and Arab cities, culminated with a round of fighting against the Palestinian factions in Gaza.
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    הרכבים השרופים של משפחת אברהם
    הרכבים השרופים של משפחת אברהם
    Cars set on fire during racial riots in Lod in 2021
    Following the recent terror attacks in Be'er Sheva and Hadera, and advance of the Muslim holidays, which will coincide with the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter, Israel Police was anticipating a surge of violent clashes.
    Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai held a series of meetings with senior police brass in preparation for what they call "Operation Guardian of the Walls 2," named after the May 2021 war.
    The police said that they are expecting up to 35 days of possible violence, and incidents 3 times the magnitude of those that occurred last year, with dozens of hot spots throughout the country and possible missile fire from Gaza.
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    יירוט יירוטים כיפת ברזל מבצע שומר החומות מבצע שומר חומות
    יירוט יירוטים כיפת ברזל מבצע שומר החומות מבצע שומר חומות
    Iron dome activated against rockets launched in Gaza in May 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The commissioner estimated that there was a shortage of 4,500 police and military troops needed to keep the peace and an urgent need to call up 4,000 reservists.
    The commander of an elite police unit admitted that in the past, the force needed some 72 hours to prepare before they could be deployed as was needed, to stop riots in mixed cities.
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    יעקב שבתאי מדבר על פרשת NSO
    יעקב שבתאי מדבר על פרשת NSO
    Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai
    (Photo: Sharon Tzur)
    Riots were expected to break out with no prior warning, and to include the use of firearms against security forces and civilians. Many roads may be blocked and civilian cars could become targets for the rioters and terrorists.
    The police was also bracing for clashes in the West Bank, which may ignite unrest among Palestinians held in security prisons.
    The police may also have to attend to areas that may come under massive missile and rocket attacks and fires, which may be ignited by incendiary devices sent from Gaza.
    The force was preparing for a scenario in which, many of its own troops would be called up for military duty compounding their deployment difficulties.
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    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021
    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021
    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police- May, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Police districts mapped out potential scenarios and presented them to commissioner Shabtai. The central district was expecting violence in the mixed cities of Lod and Ramle with Jews and Arabs residents in confrontation and the involvement of right-wing instigators. Arab rioters were expected to vandalize Jewish owned property, set fire to synagogues and use firearms.
    The Jerusalem district said in addition to ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarah and around the Al Aqsa Mosque, West Bank clashes may spill over into the city disrupting traffic at border checkpoints. Jerusalem may be a hub for the religious extremists on both sides of the conflict.
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    Border Police block members of the Jewish extremist Lehava group from marching to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Thursday
    Border Police block members of the Jewish extremist Lehava group from marching to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Thursday
    Border Police block members of the Jewish extremist Lehava group from marching to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem
    (Photo: AP)
    The Southern district commander said he anticipated roads would be blocked by rioters throughout the Negev with Bedouin residents participating in demonstrations and targeting symbols the the state.
    The Tel Aviv district was eying Jaffa, the southern sector of Tel Aviv, where both Jewish and Arab extremists were expected to opt for violence.
    In the West Bank, police was concerned that Palestinian rioting would include the use of firearms, in spite of a curfew that will likely be imposed on the entire area during the holidays.
    First published: 19:55, 03.29.22
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