Installing of temporary wall between Armon Hanatziv and Jebl Mukaber in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: SHLOMO MOR)
Four days after two Palestinian terrorists from Jebl Mukaber murdered two Jewish men from neighboring Armon Hanatziv after storming an Egged bus where the neighborhoods intersect, police said Sunday a temporary concrete wall separating the communities is being erected.
The move comes less than 72 hours after the main entrances to the flashpoint Arab village – where several terrorists who have carried out recent attacks throughout the capital once resided – were ordered sealed following an emergency security cabinet meeting.
According to police, the five-meter high wall, which consists of six concrete slabs resembling Jerusalem stone, is intended to stymie the onslaught of firebombings and rock attacks carried out by Arab youths against residents of the abutting Jewish neighborhood.
A substantial portion of the wall was already built by Sunday night, police said, adding that the barrier likely will be completed by the end of the week.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the wall would remain in place “for as long as necessary,” adding that if attacks against Jewish residents do not cease, it may be lengthened.
In a statement issued by the Jerusalem Municipality shortly after reports of the wall surfaced, city hall emphasized that the concrete barrier is a temporary security provision.
“The Jerusalem Municipality makes clear that this is not a perimeter wall, but a barrier to be placed temporarily by the police where there is a history of rock and Molotov cocktail throwing at Jewish homes and vehicles,” the statement said.
“This is being done in order to prevent more injuries and property damage.”
In the last few days, several roadblocks accompanied by heavily armed checkpoints also have been erected in violent Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, including Isawiya, Silwan and Shuafat.
In a statement issued Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the wall “has no political meaning.”
“It’s one more aspect of our security measures,” he said.
However, in response to the concrete wall, MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) issued a statement accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of dividing Jerusalem.
“It is unfortunate that the prime minister does not tell the truth to the public,” he said. “His conception regarding Jerusalem has failed completely.
We [the government] really don’t have any interest in Jebl Mukaber.”
Meanwhile, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel condemned the wall and multiple checkpoints in Palestinian neighborhoods as humanrights violations.
“Restricting the movement of 300,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem would be overwhelming and damaging to individual rights,” ACRI said.
“There is no doubt that dealing with the difficult security situation in recent days requires security forces to use different measures that might limit the freedoms of the individual, but collective punishment against an entire population is not legitimate under any circumstances.”
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