Jerusalem – In an address to the nation following several nights of violent protests, President Ariel David has called upon societal elites in especially the Jewish and Arab communities to calm down their people and return peace and quiet.
While so far protests and clashes with the authorities have not resulted in fatalities, it has created many wounded and caused a large amount of damage to property. According to the Ministry of Public Security 8,200 people have been arrested so far of which 2,500 are below the age of 18. Of those arrested 1,900 people stand accused of crimes carrying a minimum of 3 months imprisonment while the others will face less prison time or a fine. For the duration of the protests only those below the age of 18 will be granted release pending trial and only when a parent or caretaker can guarantee their compliance with the court.
With news of the Athenian mobilization against Iraq, which is likely to pull in Israel into a war against that state as well, experts fear that the worst is yet to come. Many Arabs are already angry at Israel’s involvement in the No-Fly Zone and blockade, and participating in open war against Iraq is likely to further enrage them.
Perhaps anticipating this threat, President David has declared a state of emergency and announced a ban on all protests, a curfew in all major cities between 22:00 and 04:00, and a ban on gatherings larger than ten people in all major cities. All police agencies have cancelled leaves and authorized overtime to have as many officers as possible enforce the existing and new measures. The IDF will also be deploying soldiers to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Hebron, Gaza City, and Ramallah to protect government buildings and support local police. Barricades have been placed at borders between Jewish and Arab quarters in many cities to keep both groups from getting to each other.