Daily Israel Report

MK Ariel: Shiloach Action Postponed for a Few Weeks Only

NU MK says he agreed to call off eviction of Arab squatters in Jerusalem because of PM's U.S. trip but patience will only last a few weeks.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/4/2010, 9:29 PM / Last Update: 7/4/2010, 9:59 PM

Jewish activists set to evict squatters from Yemenite synagogue in Shiloach (Silwan) in Jerusalem relented when the Minister of Public Security asked them not to embarrass Netanyahu in front of Obama. However, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) explained Sunday that the postponement was only for a few weeks' time.

“I am an expert on [being told] 'this is not the right timing,'” Ariel told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew language news magazine. “I am familiar with it since the 1980s. This is not our intention. We have patience for a few weeks.”

Jewish nationalist activists were planning to evict illegal Arab squatters from the old Yemenite synagogue in Shiloach (Silwan) in Jerusalem Sunday, but they agreed to postpone the move at the request of Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich.

The activists have been accusing the police of ignoring a two year old court order to evict the Arab families that have been squatting in the building for years. They vowed to evict them themselves on July 4 (Sunday) if they were not evicted by police before then.

After extensive contacts Saturday night between Aharonovich, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) and the nationalist activists, the latter agreed not to take action Sunday. Police estimated that an attempt to evict the squatters would result in a large scale confrontation between nationalist Jews on one side, and leftist-anarchist Jews and Arabs on the other.

The minister explained that Netanyahu was about to fly to the United States where he would be meeting President Barack Obama. A large scale violent conflagration in Jerusalem would make his task even more difficult than it already is, he said.

In addition, the minister said, the fact that the confrontation would have taken place on the American Day of Independence would have made it even more upsetting to Americans.