Rock attack in Old City’s Jewish Quarter lightly injures young woman

MK Rivlin: Extremists are doing their best to prove during peace negotiations that Arabs and Jews cannot live together

View of Jerusalem 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
View of Jerusalem 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
During a brazen attack Tuesday afternoon in the normally peaceful Jewish Quarter of the Old City, several Arabs threw rocks at two young women, injuring one of them before fleeing, police said.
According to National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, at approximately 1 p.m. the suspects began throwing rocks at the women without provocation, resulting in a light hand injury to one of the victims.
Upon being approached by a number of police officers, the group fled into the Old City’s labyrinth of alleys and walkways, evading capture. Rosenfeld noted that such attacks in the Jewish Quarter are unusual.
“These types of incidents don’t happen very often,” he said a couple hours after the assault. “The incident is being treated very seriously and police will thoroughly review surveillance footage likely recorded and make arrests shortly.”
Rosenfeld is referring to the state-of-the-art Police Intelligence and Observation Center, located in the Old City, which is hooked up to an intricate network of hundreds of surveillance cameras streaming live footage 24-hours a day to some 40 large high-definition screens.
“Hopefully, we can use the camera system to find out who the suspects were by seeing what they look like, how they were dressed, and exactly where they were and then use it as proof in court, so it’s very important,” said Rosenfeld.
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said Tuesday he believes the attack was an effort to further exacerbate already tenuous peace negotiations in an attempt to prove to the world that co-existence between Arabs and Jews is impossible.
“Jerusalem is a microcosm of the ability of Jews and Arabs to live together,” said Rivlin.
“And when extremists on both sides see even the possibility of finding understanding to bring an end to the conflict they’ll do something to prevent it.”
Rivlin continued, “Without the idea that we can live together peacefully we will not bring an end to this conflict, and they are doing their best to prove that Arabs and Jews cannot live together.”
While Meretz councilman and east Jerusalem Portfolio head Meir Margalit said that it is impossible to determine if the attack was politically motivated until the assailants are arrested, he said he wholly agreed with Rivlin’s assessment.
“There’s no question that extremists from both sides are trying to undermine negotiations,” he said, adding that the protracted nine-month long process is giving terrorists a large window of time and an international stage to derail any success.
“One of the problems with this peace process is that it’s too long and gives extremists opportunities to attempt to ruin it,” he said. “It would be far better if it did not last for nearly one year.”
Tuesday’s attack followed a pronounced spike in terrorist activity over the past few weeks.
On Friday evening, a female 16-year-old Palestinian attempted to stab a border police officer stationed at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate before being disarmed and wrestled to the ground, resulting in one officer sustaining a cut to his leg.
On December 23, Rami Ravid, a 41-year-old police officer, was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian terrorist next to the West Bank Highway 60 junction, just outside of Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Ravid was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center with a 15-centimeter blade still lodged in his back. Although the knife was successfully removed during surgery, he lost a kidney. Police continue to search for his assailant.
Ravid’s assault came approximately 24 hours after Border Police thwarted a separate knife-wielding terrorist attack at the Ma’aleh Adumim checkpoint, and a bomb was detonated on an empty bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam earlier that afternoon.
No one was seriously wounded in either incident.
On Thursday, Israel Police, with the aid of the IDF and Shin Bet, arrested 14 Palestinians believed to be behind the bus bombing.
Rosenfeld has repeatedly urged the public to remain acutely aware of their surroundings at all times and to alert police immediately of any unusual activity.
“Security assessments continue to be made and police are stepping up patrols to prevent future attacks,” he said.