Jerusalem (CNN) – While the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza trade lethal bombings and missile attacks, rioting and violent clashes between Arab and Jewish civilians have swept through many Israeli towns.
According to Israeli media outlets, a lynching attempt by an Arab mob in Acre left a Jewish man seriously injured. Gruesome footage from Bat Yam shows a Jewish right-wing crowd attempting to lynch an Arab car. According to Israeli media outlets, he was shot and rushed to the hospital.
In a live interview with CNN’s Hala Gorani on late Wednesday evening local time, Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Suleiman in Acre said, “We are very, very concerned about this decline.”
“I’m trapped in my bed, and it’s happening right in front of my door, with no way out. The homes are being filled with tear gas, and the situation is unstable. Today, there have been attacks on Arab people in a number of cities “she said
“I’m really concerned about the future of this city (Acre). The same thing is going on in Haifa. The same thing is going on in Lod. Various civilians have been subjected to various threats.”
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians boiled over this week, escalating quickly into one of the worst rounds of fighting between the two sides in recent years, fueled by controversy over proposed evictions of Palestinian families in Jerusalem and restrictions at a common East Jerusalem meeting point as Ramadan started.
“We’re on the verge of a full-fledged invasion. De-escalation is the responsibility of all leaders on all sides “Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said on Wednesday.
Since the latest flare-up started Monday afternoon, Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched over 1,000 rockets into Israel, prompting Israel to respond with crippling airstrikes in Gaza.
Fury over the situation has fueled violent demonstrations in the central Israeli city of Lod, where Israeli police confirmed people throwing rocks at passing vehicles and blocking roads until the early hours of the morning on Wednesday.
“On a night of protests that wounded policemen and civilians who found themselves surrounded,” he added, Arab-Israeli rioters “burned synagogues, Talmud Torah, scores of cars, flaming garbage bins, smashing Israeli flags and worse, lowering the Israeli flag and hoisting the Palestinian flag.”
Meanwhile, Wael Essawi, an Arab-Israeli resident of Lod, told CNN that Israeli police and Jewish residents raided a mosque during prayers on Tuesday night, firing tear gas and setting cars on fire.
Following a Palestinian rally against Israeli policies in Jerusalem on Monday, thousands were met with tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets, according to another local, Khaled Zabarqah, before Israelis began throwing stones and beating the mob.
“The sound of stones being hurled at my 15-year-old daughter’s bedroom window woke her up, and her frightened cries woke me up,” Zabarqah said.
“We had no choice but to shield and defend ourselves with whatever weapons we had; it was either we defend ourselves or we were killed,” he said.
According to police, a 25-year-old Arab-Israeli man was shot and killed in the city on Tuesday by a 34-year-old Jewish man who opened fire on demonstrators after they pelted him with rocks.
Two men have been arrested in connection with another shooting in Lod. Following a night of protests in the central Israeli capital, a CNN team driving through the city early Wednesday saw some of the roads strewn with rocks and burned-out vehicles by the side of the road.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the violence in Israeli cities as “unacceptable,” saying he had directed the police to use emergency forces, reinforce with Border Police units, and enforce curfews as required.
“To the Israeli people, I say, “I don’t care if your blood boils.” You are not permitted to take the rules into your own hands “Netanyahu went on to say. “You cannot lynch an ordinary Arab citizen, much as we cannot watch Arab people do the same to Jewish citizens.”