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Israeli security forces facing off with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Photo: Musa Al-Shaer/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli security forces facing off with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Photo: Musa Al-Shaer/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel Prepares Troops After Most Brutal Day Since Mosque Crackdown

'We've been warning for months that they're doing in Al-Aqsa will spark an intifada, and no one listened,' warned Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, 'and now everyone's asking what happened.'

Lauren McCauley

The Israeli government is considering deploying troops in East Jerusalem after what reports say was the worst day of violence since the state's renewed crackdown on the occupied Palestinian community began at the start of the month.

Quoting a senior Jerusalem official, Haaretz reports that Israel's security cabinet convened Tuesday evening and is expected to "discuss the option of boosting police forces with soldiers from the Homefront Command and Military Police. In addition, ministers are expected to approve roadblocks on the roads leading to the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem" where "suspect vehicles will be examined."

The lockdown comes after a bloody day, during which protests in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and cities across Israel were met with brutal force from the Israeli army.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised "aggressive steps" in response to two separate attacks in Jerusalem that resulted in the deaths of two Israeli citizens and injured three more.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry estimates 30 Palestinians have been killed—including five children in almost as many days—in the occupied territory by Israeli forces since tensions renewed on October 1. On Tuesday, a reported 33 Palestinians were injured, 9 with live fire in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, and Hebron.

In Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian protesters, a large majority of which were youth, rallied at guarded border areas in the north and central parts of the strip and in some cases encountered live fire from gate towers. They were protesting ongoing Israeli violations in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

According to Palestine's Ma'an News Agency, "Witnesses said that Israeli forces opened fire at the demonstration from military towers, injuring five, including one critically...At least 42 Palestinians were injured by tear gas and rubber coated bullets, including journalists covering the protests." 

One man from the Duheisha refugee camp was reportedly shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.

The rallies coincided with a general strike on Tuesday by Palestinians working in schools, public institutions, and businesses across the West Bank, Gaza, and cities within Israel. The work stoppage was called by the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, a body made up of elected officials from the Palestinian community, in response to the IDF crackdown as well as the local officials' encouragement of Jewish citizens of Israel to arm themselves against Arab individuals. 

With signs denouncing "Israel's al-Aqsa policy"—referring to Israel's crackdown at the al-Aqsa Mosque, which has become the touchstone of the renewed conflict—an estimated 20,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel took part in a mass protest in the northern city of Sakhnin to express support and solidarity for their Palestinian brethren.

Reports that onlookers shouted slurs at a Palestinian youth, who was shot by IDF forces and bled to death in the streets, on Monday further stirred community outrage.

Knesset member and Arab-Israeli Ahmed Tibi told the crowd that "we've been warning for months that they're doing in Al-Aqsa will spark an intifada, and no one listened, and now everyone's asking what happened."


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