Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who was recently spotted holding a Glock in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, today suggested Israeli citizens prepare themselves for vigilantism and called for all Israelis with valid gun licenses to carry weapons following soaring tensions.
“The mayor encourages licensed gun owners to carry their weapons to increase security. He himself serves as a personal example of this,” the city of Jerusalem said in a statement.
This afternoon, Palestinians attacked Israelis in three separate incidents. One of the Palestinian assailants, an unidentified man who stabbed four people in Tel Aviv, was killed by Israeli police.
“Given the current escalation [of violence] in the security situation, those with a licensed firearm who know what to do with it must go out with [their weapon] – it’s an imperative,” mayor Barkat said to Army Radio. “In a way, it’s like military reserve duty.”
In addition, Israel police spokesperson Luba Samri announced six new metal detectors across East Jerusalem, in the Old City by the Damascus and Lions Gates. Samri indicated not all pedestrians will be required to walk through the machines, only “a selective review of suspicious persons.”
In the past week four Israelis have been killed in attacks and seven Palestinians—five who carried out attacks—have been killed by Israeli security forces as part of harsher measures enacted after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who called for an “all out war” on Palestinians last Sunday. In the last week Israeli forces also wounded more than 630 Palestinians in demonstrations across the West Bank and Jerusalem according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Palestinian officials say Israel is responsible for the current wave of violence.
“Instead of de-escalating the situation, Israel has chosen to escalate the situation and provoke and incite the Palestinian people by injuring, killing, arresting more Palestinian civilians as well as demolishing homes belonging to Palestinian families in blatant acts of collective punishment,” said Palestinian Ambassador to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon in a letter yesterday.