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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Aryeh King’

Mount of Olives Community Suffers Big Jerusalem Day Attack

Monday, May 21st, 2012

A Jerusalem Day attack on Jews near the community of Maale HaZeitim in the Arab Ras al Amoud  neighborhood has increased tension between Jews and Muslims in the region, amid intensified demands from Jewish residents that Jerusalem police forces crack down on threats to security.

At approximately 10pm on Wednesday night, as the music of the celebrated flag-dancing “Rikudegalim” festivities in Jerusalem’s Old City reverberated on the Mount of Olives, a family returning from Jerusalem Day celebrations was brutally attacked in their car by 5-7 Arab men throwing large pieces of stone and firing firecrackers at the vehicle from the traffic circle preceding the entrance to Maale HaZeitim.  Most of the men wore kefiyyehs and other face coverings.

The traffic circle at the top of Ras al-Amoud, lined with an Arab restaurant, billiard hall, hair salon, produce store, mini-market, and taxi company dispatch center, has become a haven for terrorist activity against Jewish families, with Arab attackers hiding out behind a large green dumpster located at the far end of the circle.  Despite statements by store owners that they are not involved in the attacks, periodic assaults have reached a new level recently, with little children and other pedestrians being targeted by the terrorists.

The traffic circle is the only way to reach the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood from western Jerusalem, and despite the vulnerability of families there and their repeated reports to police of problems in their neighborhood, the Jerusalem municipality has not stationed a regular police presence on the site.  And despite occasional visits by border police and city police to Maale HaZeitim, the traffic circle 30-40 yards away from the neighborhood has remained dangerous, as security forces cannot see the circle from the neighborhood, nor reach it in time to stop an ongoing attack.

According to reports by the attacked family, the car ahead of them, driven by an Arab, slowed down during the duration of the attack, in order to prevent them from getting away. While the family suffered no physical injuries, their car suffered serious damage.

Border police were called in, arriving approximately 15-20 minutes later.  When they arrived, residents reported that they remained at the entrance of the community, until a few insistent residents urged them to go out to secure the circle on behalf of the many children and teenagers who would be returning by foot from Jerusalem Day celebrations in the Old City, just a 20 minute walk away.

Despite no emergency warning system in the community, news of the attack quickly spread between neighbors.  Approximately 20 minutes after the attack took place, some 15 to 20 men from the community walked to the circle and remained there for an undetermined amount of time.  No violence was reported.

Residents expressed outrage that guards stationed at the entrance to the neighborhood were aware of the masked men, but did nothing to either warn residents of the danger of travelling at the circle, or to remove the threat from the area.

“Instead of installing two or three cameras that will protect the people that are visiting the graves on the Mount of Olives, the government wired the mount of olives with hundreds of cameras protecting the dead, but where are the cameras protecting the living people?  It’s insane that after tens of cars and pedestrians in the last few months have ben stoned from the same place and from the same street, the police are not stopping it,”  Aryeh King, veteran resident of Maale HaZeitim and CEO of the Israel Land Fund told the Jewish Press.   “There’s no question that if the police and the authorities responsible for the security of the Mount of Olives really wanted, they could have stopped it a long time ago.”

“What happened last night, that on the day of the liberation and the unification of Jerusalem, it took more than 20 minutes for police to get to the place where Jews were being stoned, when at the same time there were thousands of police securing this special day in other parts of the city, is something that is unacceptable,” King said.  “Whoever cares about the Mount of Olives and for the people that are visiting the Mount of Olives, their voices need to be heard.”

Shani Hikind, the executive vice president of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, and the honoree of Monday night’s 3rd annual Ateret Cohanim Yom Yerushalayim Dinner, told the Jewish Press that the Jews of New York and across the world “cannot abide” attacks against Jews in Jerusalem.  “On behalf of Jews throughout the world, we deplore any acts of violence directed toward any citizen in Jerusalem. Nothing will be accomplished by efforts to intimidate and physically harm people in the capital of Israel,” Hikind said.  “Jerusalem will always be the united capital of our beloved Israel, and we are happy to celebrate Yom Yerushalyaim in New York City this evening.”  Her organization would respond to the attacks by “strengthening Jewish communities and neighborhoods throughout the capital – building more houses, bringing in more families.”

EU Condemns Israel For Returning Property to Owners, Evicting Squatters

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The European Union on Saturday condemned the eviction of Arab squatters from a house in Beit Hanina on Wednesday, despite an eight-year court case proving that the land they occupied belonged to Jews.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement on Saturday in which they “condemn the eviction of the Natche family from their home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina”.

They also stated that they were “deeply concerned by the plans to build a new settlement in the midst of this traditional Palestinian neighborhood.”

The statement follows condemnations of the eviction issued by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Maxwell Gaylard.  “Evictions of Palestinians from their homes and properties in occupied territory contravene international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should cease,” Gaylard said in a public statement.

The EU’s stance on the ownership of the property comes in contrast to the finding of the courts that the land and two buildings in which the Natche family lived were purchased 35 years ago by a Jew and were also owned by Jewish residents prior to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

The repossession of the property was coordinated by Israeli police and overseen by the Israel Land Fund, which will work to develop the property into apartments for Jewish residents.

Squatter Khaled Natche refused to leave the property voluntarily, despite a promise by the Israel Land Fund to waive NIS 250,000 in damages the court ordered paid to the organization if they would evacuate on their own.  Natche’s brother, who lived next door to him in the second of the two illegally occupied buildings, heeded the court order and left the premises a few weeks ago.

Despite his refusal, Khaled Natche and his family were removed from the dwelling on Wednesday, with their belongings removed into a moving truck for transportation.  No violence took place.

The Beit Hanina properties sit on 1.5 acres of land just a quarter of a mile from the Jerusalem light rail.

Now that the property has returned to its owners, the Israel Land Fund will be charged with developing a 50-apartment complex called Nof Shmuel, named for its view on the tomb of the Prophet Samuel.  The project has already been approved by the Jerusalem municipality and the Interior Ministry, and is awaiting construction permits, according to Israel Land Fund president Aryeh King.

Land Reclamation Activists Score Jerusalem Victory

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Land reclamation activists scored a victory this morning when Arabs living illegally on Jewish land in eastern Jerusalem were evacuated by court order. Two houses in Beit Chanina, a mostly Arab neighborhood west of Pizgat Zeev, were built illegally on Jewish land. However, while one family left the premises peacefully, the second family refused to evacuate.

Police vehicles along with a moving truck, lawyers, were on the scene to insure that the process was done smoothly. Bystanders, and photographers were kept at a distance by police, and one Jewish heckler meekly voiced his displeasure.

Speaking with Jewish Press, Eitan Gabai, the lawyer for the new land ownwer said: “The eviction is going smoothly. The land belongs to a Jewish owner, he purchased it in the 80′s. He bought the land and it is registed in the land registry. We did a court process to evict, the judge gave a judgement, after that they appealed to the disrict court, and even the disrict court denied the appeal. We went to the Office of Execution [Hotza'a Lepoal], and now we are doing this eviction.”

Israel Land Fund, the organization directing the purchase of the land and the evacuation of the old tenants told reporters that the the two buildings represent the beginnings of a new Jewish community in Beit Chanina which will be called Nof Shmuel, after the Tomb of Samuel the Prophet which is visible from the new properties to the west. The community will feature tens of apartments for less then a million NIS and will be meant, initially, for idealistic families.

Aryeh King, director of the Israel Land Fund, said that while the court ruled in favor of the evacuation, his organization offered the squatter family a compensation package but that the family refused to accept.

The property of the illegal builders was transferred to a truck under police supervision.

Jews Attacked in Jerusalem Firebomb Barrage

Monday, April 16th, 2012

On Sunday evening, Jewish homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Maale HaZeitim were attacked with a barrage of Molotov cocktails, causing damage to property.

Miraculously, no injuries were reported, though some neighborhood children who were nearby the attack reported being traumatized by the event.  The attacker managed to throw approximately 10 homemade bombs at apartment buildings belonging to the Jewish neighborhood, before being scared off by a guard who fired his weapon in the air.

Maale HaZeitim is situated on the historic Mount of Olives, just south of the ancient Jewish cemetery containing 150,000 graves, including that of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the Ohr HaChaim, the prophetess Hulda, Hebrew language luminary Eliezer Ben Yehuda, and Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold.  It is also nestled in the Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, and has been the site of previous attacks.

Between the buildings of Maale HaZeitim there is a courtyard which is detached from the street. Here children and residents are secure. But the back of the neighborhood is vulnerable to attack.

The six apartment buildings of Maale HaZeitim contain 100 apartments, many of which feature views on the Old City of Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.  Residents frequently walk to and from the Old City, which is just 15 minutes away by foot, and a few minutes ride on the Egged bus which makes stops at the community throughout the day.

“I was sitting in our living room watching a television show and I saw something I thought was fireworks, but they were so close to our apartment,” Miriam, a 10 year resident of Maale HaZeitim, told the Jewish Press.  “I called the police…. There was a fire below our garden.”  Though Miriam and her family have experienced numerous attacks since moving to the new neighborhood a decade ago – including the throwing of large rocks at her car by neighborhood Arabs as she drove with her children – “I don’t know if you can ever get used to it,” she said.

While attempted violence against Jews in Maale HaZeitim has increased since Operation Cast Lead in late 2008, according to Miriam, she says police vigilance in the area has also risen.  “We’ve had other attacks were I’ve called the police and they didn’t even send a car. Last night, they sent lots of Jerusalem police and border police,” she said.  “But as long as there’s an Arab population next to us and they feel like they’re the bosses… as long as there is growing extremism, we’ll continue to face these things.”

A plaque in the neighborhood reads: "The Maale HaZeitim neighborhood was liberated by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz with the help of Matityahu Dan of Ateret Kohanim and was built by the Kedumim 3000 company - Mr. Nisan Chakshuri, Yitchak Adiv, and Nachman Zoldan, Eve of Rosh HaShanna 5771

Aryeh King, eastern Jerusalem activist and Director of the Israel Land Fund, decried the attack as the fault of local Israeli authorities.  “The decline in security throughout Jerusalem has not spared Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Shmuel HaNavi and yesterday, a targeted terror attack took place on the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood,” King told the Jewish Press.  “This is the result of the lack of decisiveness and will to come in contact with the terrorists.  This policy is directed by the police chief of Jerusalem.  This policy causes the decline of Israeli sovereignty in the various Jerusalem neighborhoods, and the increase in the last months of attacks against Jews.”

MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad told the Jewish Press: “In the last few months we are seeing a total degradation of the security situation in the Mount of Olives region. There was a case recently of an almost-lynch, where 15 youths ambushed a car by throwing paint on the windows and pelting the car with rocks. In Beit HaChoshen, one resident has had his car burned 4 times. Every day tombs are desecrated at the cemetary. Even in French Hill students are afraid to leave their dorms at night. Last night, an Arab came to the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood with 10 Molotive cocktails in a bag, then he lit a fire so that he could easily ignite his weapons. He then threw 7 cocktails.  The security saw him and shot in the air, but when the police came, and the only thing that bothered the cops is why the security fired! Nisso Shacham, the Jerusalem police chief is afraid of bad media. He wants to be national Police chief one day so he keeps a low profile, although he knows how to deal with the problem.”

Prior to the recent Passover holiday, a new police station was inaugurated on the Mount of Olives.  Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Our Home party) emphasized that the establishment of the station on the Mount of Olives is strategically important, and that it will serve to increase the security of residents and those visiting the area.

Despite the complicated nature of life in eastern Jerusalem, Miriam and her family have never questioned staying on in their neighborhood.  “Nobody ever talks about leaving.  I think the kids feel like they are living in a unique place with a purpose,” Miriam said.  “I see us as a microcosm of Israel – there are people all around us who don’t want us to be here.  We are not talking about leaving.”

 

Yishai Fleisher contributed to this article

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jews-attacked-in-jerusalem-firebomb-barrage/2012/04/16/

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