9 Arabs arrested trying to force into Silwan building

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 9, 2011 04:15

Honey House next to Beit Yehonatan targeted in Friday night assault; police are expecting to arrest more suspects in the coming days.

2 minute read.



A Jewish-owned home in the neighborhood of Silwan

311_Jewish home in Silwan. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Three Border Police were lightly wounded in an altercation in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Friday night, authorities said. Dozens of young Arab residents started throwing stones at the Honey House, a one-story residential building next to the controversial Beit Yehonatan building, around midnight.

The group then tried to enter the house with their faces covered before being forcefully dispersed by Border Police. Rocks were also thrown at Beit Yehonatan during the event. Nine youths were arrested. Suspects also stole several tear gas canisters from police.

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The police are expecting to arrest more suspects in connection with the incident in the next few days, said Jerusalem District Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby. Silwan has since quietened down, and calm was maintained in the neighborhood throughout Saturday, Ben-Ruby told The Jerusalem Post.

The incident took place in the area of Baten al- Hawa, one of the most densely populated and poorest parts of Silwan. Also known as Kfar Shiloah, it was the home of a Yemenite Jewish community between 1882 and 1938. In a controversial effort to reclaim the area as a Jewish neighborhood, seven Jewish families live in Beit Yehonatan, while one Jewish family lives in the Honey House next door.

Tensions began to rise on December 26, when Ateret Cohanim, a group which supports the Jewish families in both structures, tried to bring about the evacuation of the five Arab families now living in the old Yemenite Synagogue, a building located about 100 meters down the street.

After Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he would evacuate the Jewish families from Beit Yehonatan if the Arab families were also forced to leave, both sides backed down from their threats and all the residents stayed in their houses. Both of the houses in question have court orders against them and can be evacuated at any point. Both sides reported that around 2,000 people were mobilized in anticipation of the evacuations.

Meanwhile, a Silwan resident who already has an imminent restraining order against him was arrested Thursday after a local resident claimed he had attacked him. Adnan Gheith, who has been active in Al-Bustan Community Council, was sent to house arrest for six days ahead of the activation of his four-month restraining order from Jerusalem.

The restraining order, unique because it was served by the Home Front Command, requires Gheith to remain outside the city. Usually restraining orders are served by the Jerusalem police, which has a more transparent process for appealing the order, and force a person to leave his own neighborhood rather than the entire city.

Gheith had initially appealed to the courts to rescind the order, but he withdrew his petition the day the court was set to discuss his case. The restraining order starts on January 12, the same day his house arrest expires.


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