Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat has told Israeli citizens to carry firearms with them at all times saying that it was their “duty” in an official statement.
In recent days, he has been strongly criticised after he carried an assault rifle in a residential area of east Jerusalem. Following this, he has defended his decision for carrying a firearm by showing his license that permits him to carrying one.
“Having a weapon increases the resident's confidence.” he said.
— Gabriel Helou (@GabrielHelou) October 6, 2015
"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. In a way, it's like military reserve duty." Barkat added, who served as a military officer in the IDF for six years.
"It's incitement for other Israelis to do the same," a Palestinian official Adnan Husseini describing Barkat’s appearance with firearms in Jerusalem streets as "a declaration of war" on Palestinian residents.
The second intifada was triggered by former Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mounth in 2000.
Jerusalem has witnessed growing violence in the past three weeks. The anarchy that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of earlier, with the purpose of triggering a “third intifada” has escalated on October 3. Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian man after he kill two Israeli illegal settlers in a knife attack in Jewish Itamar settlement located near West Bank.
Before the incident, dozens of Israeli soldiers had broken into the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, leading to violent clashes between Palestinian worshippers and protesters on one side, and fully armed Israeli police forces on the other.
As recent as Thursday, on the seventh day of clashes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a 20-year old Palestinian Wissam Faraj was killed and more than 80 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces.
Palestinian Red Crescent says, at least 500 Palestinians have been injured since the clashes began in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on October 3. At least two Palestinian youngsters were killed by Israeli gunfire.
“Forty-one Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition, 134 by rubber bullets and 307 by excessive tear gas, while 18 others were beaten.” as the Red Crescent stated.