Residents of Maale HaZeitim expressed outrage that Jerusalem police and national security forces failed to provide protection after four days of consecutive rock attacks threatened residents at the same time and same place each day.
For years, a single traffic circle connecting the Mount of Olives Jewish community of Maale HaZeitim with the rest of Jerusalem has been a center for terror operations, with local Arabs issuing rock and projectile firecracker attacks on pedestrians and drivers to and from the neighborhood. Maale HaZeitim is located on the historic mountain across from Jerusalem’s Old City, just a few meters into the Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.
Local Arabs have received the Jewish presence with scorn and animosity, despite the property being owned by Jews – purchased from previous Jewish owners for the purpose of building the six-building neighborhood.
For the last four days, Maale HaZeitim’s residents have been accosted by rock attacks which have issued from the same place – behind a conveniently situated garbage receptacle – and at the same time, smashing windows, terrifying children, and lending to a sense among neighbors that there is a lack of security – and municipal concern – for the families making their homes next to the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world.
According to a resident who witnessed the attacks, Arab children selling corn on the cob at the traffic circle watch as cars drive by. When they identify passengers as Jewish, they signal to waiting rock throwers, who hurl broken cinder blocks and rocks at the windows in an attempt to hit and injure the driver and passengers.
While many of the attacks have damaged private cars, Egged buses have also been targeted in recent terror attempts. In a recent attack occurring in the early afternoon, a bus full of Jewish children on their way home from school was hit, smashing a window, narrowly missing a young passenger, and scattering glass all over the screaming group.
Despite insistent phone calls to police, no police cars or other police or security presence have been sent to prevent further attacks – all of which have occurred between 7 and 8pm. Police who were made aware that the children were aiding the terrorists refused to detain the youth.
Residents expressed disbelief that the Jerusalem municipality and the state would show such a low level of concern for their safety. Some men of the community said they would take to the streets around the time of the anticipated attacks to personally prevent any harm coming to their Jewish friends, families, and children.
Just a couple of weeks ago, residents of the neighborhood were invited to attend a meeting with a high level Jerusalem security official, who assured them that more steps would be taken to provide stability and normalcy for citizens in the area.