Shuafat riots continue, MKs tour Sheikh Jarrah

Protests challenge the state’s "sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem," MK Ben-Ari says. [video]

February 9, 2010 21:29
2 minute read.
Israeli security forces clash with locals in Shuaf

shuafat riots goats 311. (photo credit: AP)


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The Shuafat refugee camp was the scene of renewed rioting on Tuesday, a day after clashes between young Palestinian residents and security forces in the sprawling east Jerusalem neighborhood left four police officers and a border policeman lightly injured.

No injuries were reported by police on Tuesday afternoon. However, nine Palestinians were arrested for throwing rocks at security forces during the renewed clashes, bringing the total number of arrests in Shuafat over the past two days to 34.

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The disturbances began on Monday afternoon when security forces entered the area to escort a group of municipality workers, including tax inspectors who were carrying out routine checks on businesses in the area.

Municipal workers routinely ask for police accompaniment when working in Palestinian neighborhoods.

On Monday, they were met by groups of young Palestinian residents who began hurling rocks at them. The violence lasted into the night, and began again on Tuesday afternoon when local schools let out.

Of the officers wounded on Monday, one border policeman was taken to Hadassah Hospital with minor wounds, and the four other policemen were treated on the scene.

Security forces used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse the rioters, and on Tuesday, municipality workers had deployed inside of Shuafat to begin repairing some of the damage caused during the disturbances.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a group of MKs from the Knesset’s Interior Committee toured the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where weekly protests over the eviction of Arab families from homes in the neighborhood have continued to grow in size.

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) told reporters during the tour that such protests were “a challenge to the state’s sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem,” and that the police presence in the neighborhood should be beefed up.

“The time has come for quiet to be restored to the streets of this neighborhood,” Ben-Ari said. “We have to take the necessary steps to ensure that residents do not suffer, and that anti-Semitic elements from Europe that pay for these activities are stopped totally.”

Ben-Ari’s Knesset aide, Itamar Ben-Gvir, told The Jerusalem Post that he was planning on asking for the establishment of a permanent police presence in the area, as many of the incidents that occur between Arabs and Jews in Sheikh Jarrah take place while police are away from the area, and often conclude before they are able to respond.

Former MK Benny Elon, who also took part in the tour, told the Post that he expected Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to weigh in on the matter, and increase the police presence in the neighborhood.

“We’re concerned with keeping the tomb [of Shimon Hatzaddik, which is located in the neighborhood and frequented by thousands of visitors every month] safe and keeping the residents safe as well,” Elon said.

While the MKs’ visit did not spur on any violence, as past, similar tours have, Arab residents did greet the tour group to some heated words.

“You are thieves!” a group of women shouted at the MKs. “You are stealing houses that belong to the Palestinian people!”

While members of the Knesset entourage began responding in turn to the women, members of the police force accompanying the tour ensured that the situation did not escalate.

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