Amid the increasing tension between Israel and Palestine following extreme rightist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power at the end of last year, a series of shootings were carried out by Palestinians on Friday and Saturday in east Jerusalem, killing at least seven people and injuring five. Then, the cabinet led by Netanyahu decided on Saturday to expand Jewish settlements in Palestine and to lower Israeli’s qualifications to acquire guns, which raises concerns over the potential worsening of the collisions.
According to the Associated Press, a gunman opened fire outside a synagogue in Neve Yaakov in east Jerusalem as residents were leaving after observing the Jewish sabbath on Friday, killing seven people and injuring three. Two of the injured are in a fatal condition.
The police pointed to a 21-year-old Palestinian named Khaire Alkam living in east Jerusalem as a suspect. He was killed by the police during an escape. The authorities arrested 42 family members and persons related to Alkam.
A 13-year-old Palestinian shot a gun and injured two people in east Jerusalem on Saturday. One of the victims aged 40 is in critical condition.
The two recent shootings were to take revenge on Israel’s recent attack on Palestine. As the Israeli military searched the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Thursday, 10 people were killed. Alkam was a relative of a 17-year-old Palestinian killed by the Israeli military during the search, according to Reuters. Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, said on Friday that it was a natural revenge for Israel’s search operation of Jenin camp, implying that the group was behind Alkam’s shooting.
As both sides continue to take revenge, there are concerns that the Israeli policy to expand Jewish settlements will exacerbate the situation. Israel, which forcefully possessed the West Bank by winning the third Arab-Israeli War in 1967, moved a number of Israelis to the area, which led to conflicts with local Palestinians. The U.N. and the international community declared that the settlements within the occupied territory are illegal, but Israel has not made any change.
It is garnering attention whether U.S. Secretary General Antony Blinken will propose reconciliation between the two countries during his visit to Jerusalem in Israel and Ramallah in Palestine on Monday and Tuesday. As the Joe Biden administration has been expressing a negative stance on expanding Jewish settlements, this issue will be one of the key agendas during the Secretary General’s visit.
Sung-Hwi Kang email@example.com