East Side Stories: No residency for terror widow

Family members are not helping her get the expulsion order canceled, but groups affiliated with Fatah and Hamas in the city have shown a different attitude.

Graffiti at Beit Hanina (photo credit: REUTERS)
Graffiti at Beit Hanina
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 ■ In Jebl Mukaber, the east Jerusalem neighborhood that was home to the two terrorists who attacked the synagogue in Har Nof last month, the wife of one of them has been summoned to Jerusalem Police headquarters to receive an order to leave the country. Nadia Abu-Jamal is a Palestinian from the Hebron region who lived in east Jerusalem for 13 years following her marriage to Ghassan Abu-Jamal.
Now that her husband is dead, she no longer has the authorization to remain here.
Sources in the neighborhood say her husband’s family members are not helping her get the expulsion order canceled, but groups affiliated with Fatah and Hamas in the city have shown a different attitude. An announcement on the Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan website calls Nadia Abu Jamal the “wife of the martyr” and reports that the interior minister made the decision to cancel her “application of residency.” There is no mention of any plan to appeal to the High Court of Justice, but the information center, which works in coordination with legal organization Al-Dameer, may decide to do so in the coming days.
■ In a related development, last Friday the High Court ruled to freeze the decision to demolish the houses of Ghassan and Udai Abu- Jamal, until it could rule on a petition that lawyers from Arab rights organization Hamoked had submitted against the move.
At press time, it was still uncertain whether the court would accept or reject the petition; the decision was set to come out on Wednesday.
On this matter as well, the Arab organizations in east Jerusalem designated the two terrorists as “martyrs” in their reports.
■ Five Arab residents have been banned from Al-Aksa Mosque and the surrounding area for three months following last Friday’s prayers.
Aside from these five, about 50 others have been banned in the last few weeks, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, which adds that among the individuals police have ordered to stay away from the Temple Mount are two teenagers – ages 16 and 17 – a 67-yearold Israeli Arab from Haifa, and three women.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center was founded by Jawad Siam, a resident of that neighborhood, which is part of the greater Silwan area. Siam, a social worker by profession, used to work for the Lev Ha’ir neighborhood council. He was behind a project a few years ago to enable young Arab residents working at the Mahaneh Yehuda market to receive an education and even take the matriculation exams. Today, he is no longer in contact with the council or any other organization in the western part of the city, instead devoting most of his time to the information center, which is sponsored by foreign foundations.
■ The Teddy Kollek Junior High School in Pisgat Ze’ev has been suffering from repeated stone-throwing attacks for the past few weeks. Last Friday, the attacks became so serious that the policemen on patrol there during school hours ordered the students and staff to remain inside the building, and later closed off all the roads leading to the school. Parents were unable to pick up their children for about two hours after the school day was over, while a growing number of young Arabs, mostly with their faces veiled, continued to throw large stones. Border Police arrived at the scene and confronted them, but it still took a few hours to restore a semblance of calm.
The school parents’ association says that the situation has been going on for weeks now, and no solution is on the horizon.
■ The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee conducted an urgent debate Sunday on the security of Jerusalem’s Arab bus drivers.
Following a decision by hundreds of the drivers to stop showing up to work – most for fear of violence from Jewish rioters, and many others to protest the suicide of their colleague Yussuf Hassan al-Ramouni, who they claim was murdered – the committee debated the need to provide them with a minimum of security to enable them to return to work.
As of this week, there are still more than 50 drivers on strike, besides the approximately 100 who have officially resigned. The Knesset debate was responding to the Koah La’ovdim – Democratic Workers’ Union, which argues that the Arab drivers require some protection because they are caught between two groups: young Arabs throwing stones and Molotov cocktails outside, and Jewish rioters who travel on the buses. The organization requested that policemen or security guards be present on bus lines that operate in the confrontation areas.
■ Sheikh Omar Salem, born in Egypt and currently living in the US, has visited Israel several times and has established some connections here, mostly among groups working for coexistence. Salem, who recently submitted his thesis at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University’s Islam ic Studies Department, has sent an open letter to his Jewish friends following the recent spate of terrorism.
In his letter, he salutes the “miraculous achievements of Israel, both nationally and spiritually,” adding that “Am Yisrael’s rebuilding after the Holocaust is truly an inspiration to countless people world-wide.”
However, he says that he “dares to ask the Israelis to be patient with their non-Jewish neighbors, not to listen to radical rabbis, and to refrain from ascending the Temple Mount, for now.” Salem concludes by declaring that he is sure God will send Muslim scholars to invite the Jews to come and pray on the temple Mount – “but,” he says, “be patient and give God a chance to work his miracles.”
■ Scholars of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies will be presenting an evaluative study of the Beit Hanina, Sur Baher and Umm Tuba neighborhoods next Thursday. The research is part of a series of studies examining east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods, with the aim of formulating a social and infrastructural profile based on, among other things, population and society, institutions, economy and services. The presentation will take place at 20 Radak Street at 6 p.m.