Violence has skyrocketed in the Old City of Jerusalem since the start of the summer, and particularly since the first of July.
Data released Tuesday in a report by the Construction Ministry indicate there have been 580 attacks against civilians or security personnel.
That figure only reflects attacks that occurred within the walls of the Old City – Shiloah (Silwan), the City of David, and the Mount of Olives.
Not included in the data are any attacks that occurred in Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Issawiya, Jabel Mukabar and others.
Since numerous road terror attacks have taken place in those areas for most of the summer, it is clear the total number of violent incidents in the capital is rising.
There were 477 rock attacks on Israeli vehicles during the months of June and July this year. In addition, the data reflect 28 incidents of firebombing attacks on Jewish-owned vehicles and homes, with Molotov cocktails. There were also other attacks recorded with Arabs hurling glass bottles and igniting fireworks which they then hurled at people or vehicles or homes, and other types of vandalism as well, such as destruction of Jewish grave markers.
Six Jews were attacked in the Old City of Jerusalem, including five civilians and one Border Guard Police officer in June.
Out of a total of 359 incidents that month, 213 occurred in the City of David, 21 were in the Old City itself and 125 took place on the Mount of Olives. There were four reports of tombstone desecration in the cemetery there.
Last month there were 221 incidents, with 108 reported in the City of David, 92 on the Mount of Olives and once again, 21 in the Old City.
One grave was desecrated, and there were 16 reports of firebombing attacks. Several incidents of fireworks being ignited and launched at Israeli security forces like mini-rockets were also reported.
Four times there were reports of Arabs hurling glass bottles at Jews in the Old City and 170 rock attacks reported as well.
Jerusalem District Police responded with a statement Wednesday, saying:
“We are operating based on a plan that includes the deployment of increased forces, both covert and public activity, the incorporation of special units to conduct arrests and the incorporation of many technological measures against rioting in East Jerusalem, in order to protect the residents of the city and its visitors and increase their security.
“Police operates determinedly, and holds a dialogue with local leaders, which has led to an ongoing decline in stone and firebomb throwing incidents in recent months. Most of the violent incidents are done against security forces due to the friction with rioters in East Jerusalem neighborhoods. “It’s important to stress that despite the ongoing trend of decline, dealing with rioters cannot be done only by police enforcement. The violence is a general problem, and therefore should be handled by police, as well as the judicial system, the prosecution, the municipality, welfare, education and more – persistently and long-term.”
Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King blamed the political leadership, saying politicians are “tying the hands of security forces.”
Police cannot deal with attacks properly, King said, while the judicial system releases the suspects or responds with leniency in the face of violence.
Hana Levi Julian