Is the “Gag” on the streets of Jerusalem?
Jerusalem, a city that is home to some of the holiest sites in the Jewish world, is experiencing a surge in graffiti and other forms of street violence.
According to the Jerusalem Municipality, a total of 1,766 incidents of graffiti were reported in the capital’s Jewish neighborhoods last week, a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous week.
The municipality added that these incidents are considered to be “not violent.”
In the past week alone, hundreds of incidents were recorded, with the majority of them targeting Muslim areas, a majority of which are located in the northern parts of the city.
The graffiti comes in the wake of the recent escalation in violence that occurred during clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian youths in the eastern city of Nablus last Friday.
A similar number of incidents, of which 1,946 were recorded in the first half of the month, occurred in the second half.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) condemned the attacks, which took place in the midst of the first anniversary of the Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, and urged Israelis to stay away from Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s police said that they have received an unprecedented number of complaints and received over 300 calls regarding graffiti on Jewish properties, including some of which were sent to the police commissioner’s office.
In total, they have registered 1,600 complaints in the past two weeks.
In addition, the police also received an anonymous call about “graffiti on houses and businesses in the city,” which resulted in a series of patrols in the area.
The Jerusalem Municipalities spokesperson, Majdi Zalai, said that “graffitists in Jerusalem are responsible for the deterioration of the public order and have no right to do it.
This is a clear violation of our legal obligations and will not be tolerated.”
He added that “the graffiti is the result of a deliberate policy of the [Palestinian] Authority and is the reason behind the violence.”
Zalai said that graffiti in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is being encouraged, not banned.
The graffiti “is aimed at the people who do not have the right to live here and to work and travel here,” he added.
The city of Ramallah has also been the target of a string of graffiti, as well as the vandalism of several Jewish structures in the occupied West Bank.
The incidents are not new, but they have now escalated in the recent months, with more graffiti being discovered in Ramallah, which is located on the Jordan River.
In the first six months of the year, there were 8,838 incidents of vandalism, which were recorded by the Jerusalem Police.
This was followed by a 12,823 figure for the first quarter of 2018.
This is the third consecutive month that the number of street attacks has spiked, and the third in the last six months.
The increase is also due to the rise in the number and intensity of protests against Israeli policy and policies.
On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2334, which calls on Israel to “immediately cease all incitement to violence, including by all forms of hate speech, racist and xenophobic rhetoric and by all means of harassment and intimidation.”
The resolution also demands that Israel “cease all settlement activity, and end all settlement expansion activities, including illegal outposts, and all illegal outpost expansions.”