Tense calm prevails in e. Jerusalem after violent riots
Ten injured, eight arrested as violence spreads to Old City; Fatah politician:
This was a ‘calculated’ plan; police to remain on high alert over weekend; view gallery of Wednesday's riots.
By MELANIE LIDMAN, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
September 24, 2010 03:35
Jerusalem riots 4.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Police are on heightened alert in east Jerusalem and the Old City, following a day of intense rioting on Wednesday after a private security guard fatally shot a Silwan resident.
East Jerusalem was relatively calm on Thursday, and Succot events proceeded as planned throughout the city. Police reported a few scattered incidents of rock throwing by dozens of Arab youth in Silwan and near Isawiya, and one incident where a Jewish resident fired into the air following a confrontation with an Arab resident.
riots in Silwan subdued with no injuries
attack forces in Silwan
Both residents, as well as an Israeli security guard, were detained by the police.
On Thursday evening, rioters burned rubber tires and set off fire crackers near the Dung Gate. Police dispersed the rioting with tear gas and rubber bullets, and no injuries were reported.
Police said they would continue to have extra forces in east Jerusalem and the Old City to maintain the peace, as widespread riots could be possible after Friday prayers. They will also enforce age minimums on male worshipers entering the Temple Mount.
Ten people were injured on Wednesday, including a 35- year-old Israeli in moderate condition afer he was stabbed in the back near the Mount of Olives. Police reported that attendees threw stones at officers, vehicles and buses, causing injuries and damage, and that a police vehicle and several others were set alight near Jerusalem’s Old City.
Eight people were arrested for disturbing the
peace, five at the Temple Mount and three on Derech Haofer, the road
that leads from the Mount of Olives cemetery toward the Old City and
back to Silwan.
Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at police stationed in the neighborhood.
Another four Molotov cocktails were hurled at the Beit Orot Yeshiva near the a-Tur neighborhood as well.
On Wednesday afternoon, riot police entered the Temple Mount to halt rock throwing onto the Western Wall below.
buses were destroyed by stoning near the Old City, injuring one of the
drivers. The buses were missing all of their windows, and one had blood
splattered on the driver’s seat.
Silwan resident Samr Sirkhan,
32, was killed early Wednesday morning when a security guard in a
vehicle encountered trash bins blocking his route and fired his weapon
after being bombarded with stones.
“According to an initial
investigation, the guard encountered a preplanned ambush that put his
life in danger, prompting him to open fire,” Jerusalem police chief
Cmdr. Aharon Franco said on Wednesday evening.
The security company called it a “lynch” situation.
found two knives and a screwdriver on the body of the victim, who had a
previous criminal history and was said to be associated with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.
Ofer Rosenman, manager of the security company, told Channel 2 News that Palestinians surrounded the vehicle.
threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, so the guard exited his vehicle and
shot in the air and then shot at one of the people after he felt that
they wanted to kidnap him.”
The security guard is employed by
Modi’in Ezrahi (Civilian Intelligence), a company that protects Jews
living in east Jerusalem including the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
The company belongs to the Ministry of Construction and Housing and its
role is to prevent attacks on residents and structures.
security guard was arrested and taken for investigation by the police,
though he was released later that afternoon on restricted bail,
according to police.
A neighborhood resident said this was the
first time a private guard had fatally shot an Arab resident. In two
previous incidents, which happened years ago, the guards shot residents
in the legs.
“Before they shoot they need to warn us, they need to notify the people, and they didn’t,” said a neighbor of the victim.
“Usually they shoot up to the sky, they don’t shoot people in the face.”
Sirkhan was a father of five who sold goats and other animals for a living. His oldest son is 12.
going to be a huge mess in Silwan, something big will happen. They
killed a man – what should I do, be quiet? What about his family, his
little kids?” asked another neighbor of the victim, who wished to remain
anonymous in fear of police reprisal.
“This was a calculated,
violent act with political goals,” Dimitri Diliani, the head of Fatah’s
Social Development Committee, told The Jerusalem Post as he stood with
mourners outside the family’s house. “We view it as a right-wing Israeli
effort to undermine the peace process and to draw Palestinians into
violent action so that the rightwing government will be provided with a
window of opportunity to escape into national pressure regarding illegal
Hundreds of men gathered outside of
Sirkham’s house waiting for the body to be delivered. When the convoy of
cars carrying his body arrived around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, the crowd
swelled to more than a thousand to accompany the body to the Mount of
Local Fatah and PA leaders spent much of the
past two days trying to calm situation in the east Jerusalem
neighborhoods that had experienced violence after Sirkham’s death,
saying that violence would only provide Israel with a convenient excuse
to end peace negotiations.
The last time major riots erupted in
Silwan was an eightday period in June, immediately after Mayor Nir
Barkat’s Gan HaMelech/Al-Bustan plan was approved by the Jerusalem Local
Planning and Building Committee.
The plan calls for an
archeology park to be established in the Al-Bustan neighborhood, and the
municipality wants to retroactively approve 66 buildings which lack
permits, and destroy 22 buildings. The initial approval was one in a
series of many steps in the approval process, and has been met with
widespread condemnation from the international community.
The June riots injured 10 security guards and dozens of residents.