JERUSALEM — Thousands of Palestinians furious over the killing of a local teenager swarmed the streets of East Jerusalem on Friday to demand a new intifada. The fierce clashes with police that followed the teen's funeral stirred fears that a mass uprising could already be under way.
The protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted "enough of the suffering, enough of the pain."
After soldiers on Monday discovered the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who had been missing for more than two weeks, the badly burned remains of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir were found two days later. Though no definitive link has been established between the cases, there was no doubt in the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat on Friday that Khdeir's killing was carried out by Jewish extremists, and that it was intended as revenge.
The murders have brought Israeli-Palestinian relations to their most combustible level in nearly a decade, and Friday's running street battles between rock-throwing demonstrators and stun-grenade-firing police revived dark memories of intifadas, or uprisings, from decades past. An exchange of rocket fire and missile strikes in the Gaza Strip on Friday only added to the sense of building tensions.
One Palestinian youth masked with a kaffiyeh, or Arab headdress, said that he and his friends could only see another intifada in their future, one similar to the uprisings that convulsed this region in the late 1980s and early 2000s. He declined to give his name for fear of being identified by the Israeli authorities.
With peace talks dead and no end in sight to the occupation, the Israeli government "has gradually been building up the factors for the eruption of a new intifada," said Qais Abu Layla of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Others were more hopeful. The killing of Khadier "took place during a delicate situation, but I do believe it will not escalate much more," said Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council.