Arabs Riot Over Jerusalem King's Garden Project
Hundreds of Arab demonstrators rioted Tuesday in Jerusalem over the city government's plans to demolish 22 Arab homes that were built without permits.
At least 200 Palestinian Authority Arabs were involved in the violence, according to an AFP news photographer. Eyewitnesses said that some of the rioters were hurling rockets at police and border guard officers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the mob.
No arrests were made, according to a police spokesperson. Local Arab officials eventually convinced the demonstrators to disperse. Five protesters were reportedly injured in the melee.
The city's project to upgrade the crumbling, crowded Arab neighborhood into an archaeological park has inflamed passions among the local residents, many of who built their homes without permits.
Another 66 similarly-built illegal structures in the King's Garden area, also known as the Al-Bustan neighborhood, would be allowed to remain and under the plan would be retroactively legalized.
The neighborhood is located in a part of the city known internationally as the so-called “Holy Basin,” which houses the site of ancient Jerusalem during the time of the Biblical kings David and Solomon. The area was restored to Israel during the 1967 Six Day War in a move not recognized by the international community.