In view of Palestinian Authority reports that it invested two million shekels in Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem, parallel reports of similar Hamas involvement are coming to light.
Yakir Segev, a Jerusalem city council member allied with Mayor Nir Barkat, says that both the Islamic Movement, which is based in Israel, and Hamas – two anti-Israel organizations – are pouring funds into Arab schools in Israel’s capital. He demands an investigation into the way previous Jerusalem city governments functioned and “left a vacuum in eastern Jerusalem into which Hamas entered.”
“For many years,” Segev laments, “the city and the national government buried their heads in the sand. They thought that if they don’t provide services [in eastern Jerusalem], everything will be OK. But it turns out that there is no vacuum, and someone else is providing those services. The way the city has functioned is something that requires a commission of inquiry.”
Segev, who lost his arm in a car accident at the age of three, volunteered for the Intelligence Wing of the IDF, completed an officers’ course with excellent grades, and was an officer in the IDF Commanders’ School. He led the reservists’ protests against the way the Second Lebanon War was handled and fought, founded the New Spirit association to encourage Jerusalem university students to live in the capital, and heads the Information Administration of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.
Hamas-run day camps in the eastern parts of the city were very popular, Segev says, “and this is mainly because there was no official alternative sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality… I am well aware that Arab residents are frequently threatened not to take part in official Israeli activities, but I still believe that many will still prefer [Israeli] alternatives if they are offered.”
Segev has criticism of the police as well: “For years, the police have neglected these areas, in the hope that this would calm things down, but in actuality, this merely fanned the atmosphere and led to a loss of Israeli control. When things are quiet, all is fine, but when the situation erupts, suddenly it becomes clear that it’s not so easy to go in, and many forces are needed, etc. Sending in inspectors without protection encourages the next riots. This sense of lack of control must be uprooted.”