Israel’s prime minister has condemned the beating by an angry mob of a wounded Eritrean migrant who was mistakenly believed to be involved in an attack at a bus station. The man later died.
Mila Abtum was initially shot by a security guard in a gun battle with a man thought to have been a Palestinian who shot and killed an Israeli soldier and wounded several other bystanders.
In an address to his right-wing Likud Party Benjamin Netanyahu warned against vigilantism and the volatile mix of social media and religious extremism.
“A crowd which forms at an attack site should evacuate the area and let the emergency services do their job. We’ve laws in this country.No one should take the law into his own hands. That’s the first rule. Secondly, what we see here is a combination of extremist Islam and the Internet. It’s Osama bin Laden meets Mark Zuckerberg.”
But tension is high after almost three weeks of violence which has left 41 Palestinians and eight Israelis dead.
Besides implementing new security measures including deploying troops on the streets and sealing off Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, several Israeli cities including Tel Aviv are now banning Arab labourers from working in schools.
One Israeli worker said, “ People are hysterical . No one is thinking with logic, everything is scary and fearful.”
The current unrest began over a row concerning a Holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims. It has triggered a wave of Palestinian attacks which shows no signs of abating.
The Holy site is at the al-Aqsa mosque compound which is also the location of two destroyed biblical temples.