In response to anticipated anti-Israel demonstrations this Friday, heightened security measures are being put in place in major cities across New York and California. This comes after a former Hamas chief declared the day as a “day of Jihad.”
New York City braces for a significant gathering in Times Square. Expressing his apprehension, Mayor Eric Adams stated, “We are deeply disturbed by the message of hate urging violence in our communities.” Echoing this sentiment, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said, “There is currently no intelligence showing any active threats in New York, that is, the entire state of New York. But in a moment fraught like this, we will continue to exercise elevated vigilance and impose measures to deteriorate any potential violence.” In preparation, the NYPD has activated its critical response and counterterrorism units, with a directive for all officers to be in uniform. Additionally, as reported by Fox 5, Hochul mentioned that the state police have been fully activated and the National Guard has been directed to oversee key locations.
Earlier in the week, New York City saw a massive show of support for Israel. However, pro-Palestinian sentiments were also evident with rallies at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and Columbia University. Disturbingly, a Jewish student at Columbia University informed The Daily Wire that he was assaulted by a pro-Palestinian activist who was removing flyers about Israelis held captive by Hamas.
On the West Coast, the LAPD is enhancing its security measures following concerning social media posts in southern California. The police departments of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, in conjunction with the LAPD, have acknowledged these posts and have bolstered security around synagogues throughout Los Angeles County. LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow commented, “We don’t have credible threats to this area right now, but that doesn’t mean somebody that’s working by themselves may see that and decide to take some action. We’re really asking everybody to be alert.”
Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has made a call to action, urging people across the Muslim world to protest against Israel this Friday. In a statement to Reuters, Meshaal declared, “We declare next Friday, ‘The Friday of the Al-Aqsa Flood,’ as a day of general mobilization in our Arab and Islamic world and among the free people of the world. It is a day to rally support, offer aid, and participate actively. It is a day to expose the crimes of the occupation, isolate it, and foil all its aggressive schemes. It is a day to demonstrate our love for Palestine, Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa. It is a day for sacrifice, heroism, and dedication, and to earn the honour of defending the first Qibla of Muslims, the third holiest mosque, and the ascension of the trusted Messenger.”
The situation in Israel has been heart-wrenching, with Hamas militants responsible for the deaths of over 1,300 individuals since their invasion last Saturday. The extent of Hamas’ cruelty, targeting vulnerable Israeli civilians, including the rape and murder of young women and the killing of children and infants, has been increasingly evident over the week.