Left-wing activists scuffle with police in east Jerusalem

Protesters block entrance to newly dedicated Ma'ale Zeitim; demonstrators were reportedly from Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity group.

May 28, 2011 02:10
1 minute read.

Jerusalem left-wing protest_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Left-wing activists scuffled with police during a demonstration on Friday to show solidarity with Palestinians against the newly dedicated Jewish enclave Ma'ale Hazeitim in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. Army Radio reported that two people were arrested as the protesters blocked the enclave's entrance.

Several of the activists from Friday's protest were from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity group, Israeli media said.

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Erekat condemns new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem

The demonstration began in Sheikh Jarrah during a weekly rally against Jewish settlement in the east Jerusalem neighborhood which is already populated by Arabs. 

At another section of the neighborhood, residents reportedly pelted police officers with stones. There were no injuries.

On Wednesday,
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan attended the dedication ceremony of the second stage of the Ma’ale Hazeitim neighborhood on Wednesday night, which celebrated 60 new apartments in the Jewish compound.

The issue of new Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem has been a sensitive issue between the Palestinian leadership and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, with the Palestinian Authority saying that continued construction in Jerusalem threatens the peace process.

The Palest
inian Authority condemned Wednesday's dedication. Fatah's chief negotiator Sa'eb Erekat said "This settlement is not only another obstacle to returning to negotiations, but it also raises tensions, institutionalizes discrimination, and brings those with extremist beliefs in close proximity to Palestinian residential areas."

Ma’ale Hazeitim is one the largest Jewish complexes in Arab neighborhoods, with 110 units. The 50 units in the first stage of apartments were finished nine years ago.

The new apartments are selling for between NIS 1.6 million and NIS 7m. for the two-floor penthouses.

Melanie Lidman and Reuters contributed to this report.

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