Has the Intifada reignited in East Jerusalem? That’s the question in the mouths of many in the streets of the Holy City, a day after the first trial hearing against 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra, accused of trying to kill two Israelis. Now, after three weeks of clashes, the streets have again become a battleground between Palestinian youths and Israeli police.
Besides an attempted attack near Damascus Gate, there was a stabbing in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood and another attempted stabbing in the suburb of Abu Dis. In Pisgat Ze’ev, two boys, aged 13 and 12, tried to imitate Manasra by stabbing an Israeli security guard, who was lightly wounded. The guard opened fire, killing one of the boys and wounding the other.
And yesterday in the West Bank, two Palestinians — Gharbiyeh Sadeq, 16, and Muhammad Nimr, 37 — were killed after stabbing attempts.
Since Oct. 1, at least 80 Palestinians have been killed.
Manasra was destined to become an emotive case. Now there are two videos that portray him, despite himself, as the protagonist. In the first, from Oct. 12, the boy is laying on the ground bleeding from his head. He had just carried out his attack and had been struck by a car. An angry crowd yells, “Die! Son of a whore!” and urges police to kill him.
In the second, which was obtained by the Palestinian news agency Maan and went viral yesterday, Manasra is being interrogated by a screaming officer. Manasra admits to being the person in a surveillance video boy but repeats through tears that he can’t remember anything and asks for help from a doctor. He begs the detective to believe him and says he “woke up the next day not knowing what had happened.” But the interrogator berates him, screaming “liar!”
Palestinians see the interrogation as “psychological torture” against a 13-year-old boy. Last month, Manasra found himself at the center of controversy after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas falsely accused Israelis of killing him in cold blood. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu now uses the misstep to accuse Abbas and the Palestinians of spreading lies and inciting violence.
Yesterday in court, Manasra was officially charged with the attempted murder of two Israelis, but it is still unclear if the ruling will come before his 14th birthday in January, the age at which he is considered criminally liable and subject to imprisonment. Manasra pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his lawyer, Lea Tzemel, told judges the boy did not intend to kill but only to scare the Israelis in response to threats to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.