Tensions Remain High in Palestinian Authority and Israel Amid Ongoing Protests

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Israel, PA - Increased Tensions (Update 2)

Worldcue Alert

Alert details: 

UPDATE 2: Dozens killed in Gaza violence May 14. Protests ongoing in Palestinian Authority and Israel. Expect unrest on Nakba Day May 15. 

Locations affected by this alert: Israel, Palestinian Authority

Thie Alert began May 14, 2018, 18:17 UTC and is scheduled to expire May 16, 2018, 23:59 UTC.

  • Incident: Violent protests
  • Location: Israel and Palestinian Authority (map) 
  • Date: May 14 - 15
  • Impact: Rioting and disruptive protests; increased threat of armed and vehicular assault; cross-border rocket and mortar fire

Summary

At least 40 Palestinians have been killed amid violent clashes along the Gaza security fence May 14. Israeli security officials stated that approximately 40,000 Palestinians are protesting in 13 locations in Gaza. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that multiple airstrikes were carried out on Hamas targets in northern Gaza;

Protests have also been reported in the West Bank, with clashes between marchers and Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya crossing - north of Jerusalem - and in Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Authorities arrested 14 activists outside the new US Embassy in Jerusalem, but there was no associated violence.

Further unrest may occur on Nakba Day May 15, as activists plan to gather at flashpoint sites, including along the Separation Wall and in restive neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Expect increased security and localized traffic disruptions near all affected areas. Israeli security forces have employed riot control measures and occasionally fired warning shots or live ammunition during similar events in the recent past, particularly at the Qalandia checkpoint and in East Jerusalem. Security forces expect protesters to continue attempts to breach the Gaza security fence and may respond with live ammunition in response.

Background and Analysis

The unrest follows the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem May 14. Additional unrest is possible in Jerusalem's Old City and throughout Arab neighborhoods in Israel.

The large number of fatalities may prompt Hamas or other Gaza-based militants to launch rockets into Israel; however, most projectiles will likely land near the Gaza Strip, from where they are typically fired. The Israeli multi-tiered missile defense system is capable of intercepting long-range ordnance but is less effective against short-range mortars and rockets. The embassy move increases the possibility of lone-wolf-style attacks, including stabbings, vehicular assaults, and shootings, throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories. 

Advice

Keep a low profile in Israel and Palestinian territories in the days ahead. Avoid expressing opinions on the status of Jerusalem. Avoid all protests due to the potential for clashes. Exercise caution around major public squares, sites associated with Palestinian nationalism, and areas with large numbers of Palestinian refugees. If a siren sounds, report to the nearest shelter for 10 minutes or until given further instructions by authorities.

 

Israel, PA - Increased Tensions (Update 1)

Worldcue Alert

Alert details: UPDATE 1: Tensions high in Israel and Palestinian Authority ahead of official US embassy opening in Jerusalem May 14. Violence possible. 

Locations affected by this alert: Israel, Palestinian Authority

This Alert began May 12, 2018 23:50 UTC and is scheduled to expire May 16, 2018 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Increased tensions
  • Location: Israel and Palestinian Authority (map)
  • Date: May 14
  • Impact: Increased threat of armed and vehicular assault; cross-border rocket and mortar fire; disruptive protests

Summary

Palestinian groups have called for protests on May 14 in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem's Old City, in response to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem; protests are also possible throughout Arab neighborhoods in Israel. The embassy will be temporarily relocated to the current US Consulate General building in the Arnona neighborhood while a permanent location is built.

The move increases the possibility of lone-wolf-style attacks, including stabbings, vehicular assaults, and shootings, throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories. There is also an elevated threat of rocket attacks against Israel; however, most projectiles will likely land near the Gaza Strip, from where they are typically fired. The Israeli multi-tiered missile defense system is capable of intercepting long-range ordnance but is less effective against short-range mortars and rockets.

Violent protests are also highly likely in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, particularly around Friday afternoon prayers. Activists may gather at flashpoint sites, including along the Separation Wall and in restive neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Expect increased security and localized traffic disruptions near all affected sites. Israeli security forces have employed riot control measures and occasionally fired warning shots or live ammunition during similar events in the recent past, particularly at the Qalandia checkpoint and in East Jerusalem. 

Background and Analysis

On Dec. 6, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump stated his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declared his administration's intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel has maintained de facto sovereignty over all of Jerusalem since mid-1967, but both Palestinians and Israelis continue to assert that they will accept no other city as their capital, and control of the city is extremely important to both groups. All recent US presidents have promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during their campaigns, and Trump was no exception. However, once assuming office, previous presidents have declined to act on the issue due to concerns about a potentially violent backlash, negative effects on relations with Muslim countries, and because recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital undermine US credibility as a mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. The US government has historically sidestepped the issue and maintained its embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate in Jerusalem.
 

Advice

Keep a low profile through at least May 14, and avoid expressing opinions on the status of Jerusalem. If a siren sounds, report to the nearest shelter for 10 minutes or until given further instructions by authorities.

Resource
Israeli Homefront Command: www.oref.org.il

Tensions Heightened between Israel and Palestinian Authority

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