Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered officials to demolish the homes of Palestinians in east Jerusalem who carried out attacks on Israelis, an unnamed official told AFP Friday. The report came as Palestinians rioted Israel's chief rabbi urged Israelis to stop attempting to enter the flashpoint Temple Mount as the victim of a this week's terror attack was laid to rest.
"Last night, at a consultation with security officials a number of possible measures to restore calm in Jerusalem were discussed," the official said on condition of anonymity. "Among those discussed was the sealing or demolition of terrorists' homes, this was approved," the official said, adding that implementation of the plan required formal justice ministry approval.
Tensions mounted in the capital as recent violence continued to reverberate through the Israeli and Palestinian communities.
A symbolic funeral was held in East Jerusalem on Friday for the terrorist behind an attack on Wednesday in which he rammed a crowd with his car, killing two, including a Druze Border Patrol officer. The terrorist, Ibrahim al-Akari, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at the scene.
Thousands attended the mock-funeral march. Marchers held up pictures of the terrorist and shouted, “al-Akari the hero martyr”, “keep killing soldiers”, and “we all have a dream to die as martyrs”.
When they finally reached a military checkpoint, they burned tires and pelted police forces with stones and fireworks, as forces fired stun grenades in an attempt to quell the riot.
“If the Israeli government thinks that we will sit by silently, it’s mistaken,” said a resident of Shuafat. “This is the time to respond and fight against everything going on at al-Aqsa Mosque. As far as we’re concerned, the intifada has begun. Today we are going to combat and take into account that we may return dead.”
Palestinian protestors were infuriated by the Israeli government’s decision to close al-Aqsa Mosque to visitors after an attempted assassination of right-wing activist near the site last week.
Israel soon opened the mosque – part of the complex known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the third-holiest site in the faith – again, but in a limited capacity. To Jews, the area is known as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in their religion. Its status has been a constant sticking point in peace negotiations, and it has frequently been the focal point for outbursts of religious violence.
Another participant in Friday’s mock-funeral said that earlier in the morning she has urged two of her children to protest and throw stones. “I would be happy if they returned as martyrs,” she stated.
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef urged Israelis to stop attempting to enter the flashpoint Temple Mount. He made the comments at the funeral for 17-year-old yeshiva student Shalom Baadani who died Friday morning from wounds sustained during Wednesday's vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem.
"We need to stop this, only then will the people of Israel's blood not be spilt" the rabbi said, insinuating that those Jews repeatedly attempting to enter the holy shrine were complicit in the boy's death.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Abu Mazen for inciting attacks such as Wednesday’s but is working with Jordan – which oversees the parts of the compound – to restore calm.
However, as the diplomatic rift with Jordan continued, protests occurred throughout the kingdom on Friday in support of the Palestinian people. The protests were initiated by the Islamist movements and the leftist parties in the country.
In one of the protests in Amman, thousands participated and called for the continued resistance against Israeli aggression. In a protest not far from the Israeli Embassy, protestors demanded that the recall of the Jordanian ambassador from Israel be followed with the closure of the Israeli Embassy in Amman.
Also on Wednesday, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel, citing Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem, exposing a rift between the two countries, which signed a peace treaty in 1994.
AFP, Hassan Shaalan, Roi Kais, Reuters and AP contributed to this report