MKs visit Jewish homes on Mount of Olives (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 03/28/12)
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Tension from two-month-old rumors about mass Jewish demonstrations to
overtake the Temple Mount has continued to ripple across Jerusalem.
This has led to an increase in violence and stone throwing attacks,
Arab and Jewish residents of east Jerusalem said on Tuesday.
When a flyer was circulated two months ago publicizing a mass march
by right-wing Jews to overtake the Temple Mount, it immediately
touched off large riots in Jerusalem and Jordan.
Following an attempt by Likud activist Moshe Feiglin to go up to the
Temple Mount on February 12 – after an activist organization called
on thousands of supporters to “purify the site from the enemies of
Israel who stole the land” – hundreds of Muslims demonstrated for
Feiglin denied any connection to the flyers, but rumors circulating
in the Arab press were enough to foment several incidents of stone
throwing in Jerusalem and large protests outside the Israeli Embassy
Security forces entered the Temple Mount twice in the two weeks
following the flyer’s publication, arresting more than 30 Muslim
demonstrators. Eleven police officers were injured in one of the
riots, when youth barricaded themselves inside the Aksa Mosque.
One of the places dealing with the aftershocks of the rumors is Beit
Hoshin, a heavily- guarded Jewish enclave perched at the top of the
Mount of Olives. An enormous Israeli flag flutters prominently over
the apartment complex.
Seven Jewish families have lived there since 2006, supported by the
Ir David Foundation.
Residents said in the past month and a half, they have dealt with a
new wave of violence from neighborhood youth, including stone
throwing and vandalism of their cars on an almost nightly basis.
Private security guards at the complex said that the current cycle of
violence was the worst in over a year.
On Tuesday, National Union MKs Arye Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari paid an
unannounced visit to Beit Hoshin express their support for the
“We want to know why the police presence here is zero,” said Eldad as
he stood on the roof of the building, which affords a panorama of the
Old City and the Temple Mount.
Eldad said that while the vandalism had not yet endangered human
life, the situation was deteriorating. “Everyone will wake up if
heaven forbid there’s a tragedy here,” he said.
“The guard car here looks like the beat up [army] trucks at Sha’ar
Hagai from the War of Independence,” said Eldad, referring to the
burned husks of supply trucks that were destroyed in attempts to
bring supplies to Jerusalem in 1948 and now serve as memorials along
“These are parts of Jerusalem, but police and Israeli citizens don’t
come here,” said Ben-Ari.
“I don’t see the Israel police working so that Jerusalem will be
“You can’t just defend yourself, you need to attack the threats as
well,” he added.
Shmuel Na’eh, who lives on Beit Hoshin’s ground floor, was online
looking to buy a secondhand car when Eldad and Ben- Ari knocked on
his door. While driving through the neighborhood of A-Tur over a
month ago, youth had thrown broken pieces of sidewalk at his car and
smashed the windshield. A few weeks later, someone lobbed a Molotov
cocktail into his parked car, burning it completely.
Na’eh said cars belonging to every resident had been attacked several
times in the past month.
According to witnesses, locals walk up to the cars, pick up a rock,
smash the windshield and continue on their way. The National Union
MKs warned that not controlling the vandalism at this level could
lead to more serious violence.
Shmuel’s wife, Esther Na’eh, said relations with the neighbors had
been quiet until recently. She added that aside from a few undercover
police in the evening, the residents rarely saw police patrolling
Mahmoud Abu El Hawa, who owns a convenience store and lives next to
Beit Hoshin, said that the vandalism had gotten worse across east
Jerusalem in the past two months, after the Temple Mount rumors. He
boarded up the windows of his convenience store with plastic sheeting
because vandals broke them on several occasions, thinking they
belonged to the Jewish apartments. “We don’t want them here but we
have to live with them,” he said of the Jewish residents.
El Hawa’s brother Muhammad, who sold the building to a Palestinian
businessman in the early 2000s, was murdered after the building
changed hands to the Ir David Foundation.
The revenge killing is common for Arabs who are suspected of selling
property in east Jerusalem to Jews.
But El Hawa said that the vandalism of cars was partly
nationalistically motivated, and partly connected to a general
neighborhood dispute over a few precious parking spots in the crowded
Two months ago, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch
announced the creation of a new police station on the Mount of
Olives, which would focus on preventing grave desecration and stone
throwing against Jewish worshippers trying to access graves in the
3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery. The Na’ehs said they hoped the new
police station would limit vandalism in their neighborhood as well.
El Hawa said police already patrolled the area frequently and many of
the neighborhood children had been arrested several times for
vandalism, though they claim they were not involved While the station
was initially planned to open mid-February, police said on Tuesday
there is no firm date and it could be a number of months before the
station is opened.
Jerusalem police deputy spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi said no increase
in violence has been reported. “There is the same amount of stone
throwing, but there’s arrests and operations there on a permanent
Bajshi also denied claims by Beit Hoshin residents that police ignore
“Even without complaints filed with the police, we have regular
operations there,” she said.
Eldad and Ben-Ari told the Na’ehs they would try to hold a special
discussion about the security situation on the Mount of Olives in the
coming weeks. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/28/12)
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