'Arab rock-throwing a daily problem'

Arab rock-throwing a da

By ABE SELIG
November 20, 2009 00:14
2 minute read.

 
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While the unrest that plagued the capital in October seems to have all but died out, residents of Ma'aleh Zeitim, a large bloc of apartments next to the Mount of Olives Cemetery in east Jerusalem, say that in their neighborhood, Jewish-owned vehicles are being stoned almost daily. During the unrest that broke out in east Jerusalem over Succot, Ras al-Amud was the scene of chaotic rioting, in which a number of policemen were wounded by rocks and other debris thrown by dozens of young neighborhood residents, their faces covered with T-shirts and keffiyehs. While the area was eventually brought under control, Ma'aleh Zeitim residents pointed to the Succot rioting as the beginning of an upswing in rock-throwing incidents, which, they added, were not commonplace beforehand and have not ebbed since. "Just yesterday my neighbor's car was hit with a rock while she was driving by the neighborhood square," said Shabach, a Ma'aleh Zeitim resident who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "My car was hit recently as well, when I was driving by the Mount of Olives [Cemetery]," he added. "It's really happening a lot. We're hearing about rock-throwing more and more often." Shabach added that while he felt police weren't being idle, there was only so much they could do. "A lot of the people throwing rocks are little kids," he said. "And it's hard to stop them." Other residents echoed Shabach's statements, telling the Post that they had personally experienced the rock-throwing in recent weeks and believed it was a growing problem. "It happens multiple times a day," said another Ma'aleh Zeitim resident, who asked to remain unnamed. "They're targeting private cars, Egged buses and private transport vans that are usually taking kids to and from school. "It's not just kids," he added. "There are adults taking part in the rock-throwing as well. "The atmosphere in the neighborhood has changed," he continued. "People used to be friendlier, and something has changed." The resident said that while the rock-throwing was taking place on a regular basis, he also claimed that police were dissuading residents from filing complaints about the violence. "You go down to the station and they tell you to come back [later]," he said. "It should be that when you go to the police to file a complaint, they file a complaint." Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby however, categorically rejected those claims on Tuesday, telling the Post that he "didn't believe a word of it." "Show me one case where the police have refused to file a report," Ben-Ruby said. "It's absolutely not true." Ben-Ruby added that a wide array of security personnel were constantly taking part in arrest operations in east Jerusalem. "Last week we arrested two young men who were throwing rocks in A-Tur," he said. "On Sunday, we arrested nine people in Silwan for their participation in rock-throwing over recent weeks, and yesterday we arrested three other people in Beit Safafa for the same offense. Does that seem like the police are not doing anything?" While Ben-Ruby said that the security forces were actively pursuing the rock-throwers with full force, he would not verify whether police considered the incidents an "increase in attacks." "I'd have to look into that more deeply," Ben-Ruby said. "But I haven't seen any massive increase [in rock-throwing] in east Jerusalem."

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