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Cabinet Approves $90M for East Jerusalem Security

Plan involves an increase in the number of policemen on the beat and more security cameras, as well as education.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/29/2014, 7:36 PM

The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a $90 million socio-economic development plan for Jerusalem which focuses on increased security and police presence in the area, the municipality said.

"One of the main goals of the plan that was approved is to bring about a significant decline in violence by means of integrated activity to reduce gaps in infrastructure, employment, education and social welfare and by boosting enforcement and personal security," said a statement from city hall.

The plan involves an increase in the number of policemen on the beat as well as a greater number of security cameras.

"According to Israel police assessments, the plan will lead to a significant decline in the short- and medium-term of over 50 percent in displays of violence," it said.

Police figures quoted by the municipality indicate that in March and April, there were 390 incidents of stone-throwing at the security forces and vehicles in eastern Jerusalem, as well as dozens of cars stolen and break-ins.

"These are offenses with nationalist characteristics that are not perpetrated in a similar scope in other parts of the country," it said.

"The basic assumption for the civic aspects of the plan is the existence of a deep link between the scope and level of violence by residents of eastern Jerusalem and the standard of living in neighbourhoods in the eastern part of the city,” reported AFP.

The plan includes improvements in infrastructure, the education system and improved social assistance, it said without saying how such objectives would be achieved.

Figures provided by the municipality said there were about 306,000 Palestinian Arabs living in east Jerusalem, whose civil status is that of residents, not citizens. They account for 38 percent of the city's overall population.

By choice, almost all Palestinians living in east Jerusalem hold permanent residency status, meaning they have Israeli IDs but not passports.

They are entitled to all the insurance benefits of Israeli citizens and can vote in municipal – but not national – elections.

They enjoy complete freedom of movement within the country.

Reports last month said that the plan calls for five hundred security cameras to be installed in eastern Jerusalem. The cameras will be placed in neighborhoods to the east of Bar-Lev Road, from French Hill in the north to Har Homa in the south, according to Voice of Israel public radio.

The project will take three years to complete.

Police said Thursday that the cameras are intended to increase “the feeling of security” of Jerusalem residents and visitors.

Terror attacks against Jewish Israelis have been on the rise in Jerusalem, which saw 150 such incidents in February and 140 in January. On an average month, Palestinian Arabs attack a Jewish Israeli 2.5 times per day; the number of attacks per month has not dipped below 80 since November 2012. 

The attack rate is highest near Jewish holy sites, a survey shows, including the City of David near Silwan, Jerusalem's Old City, and the Mount of Olives. 80% of attacks involve the throwing of rocks and firebombs; some cause serious injury or death. 

An incident of cemetery vandalism at the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery in Jerusalem was documented on video on November 29, 2011.  The Arab perpetrator, who was consequently found guilty due to the video evidence, was sentenced to three months in prison for his crime. He admitted that he received NIS 1,000 to commit his acts of cemetery desecration.

A mother and daughter from Jerusalem filed a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority (PA) recently, demanding 6 million shekels in compensation for physical and emotional damages they suffered in a terror attack in late 2012.

TV Channel 2's website, Mako, reported that the attack took place on the last day of the IDF's eight-day counterterror action in Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense, which was mounted in the second half of November, 2012. The mother and daughter were driving on Jerusalem's Tunnel Road, and were ambushed as they passed through the Arab village of Husan.

A rock crashed through the windshield, hitting the mother's face and leaving her critically wounded.

According to the lawsuit, the daughter, who was not directly hit by the rocks, “was left alone for 26 minutes, that seemed like an eternity, as she blocked the mother's bleeding and prayed that she was still alive. The terrorists returned to their village, cheering joyously.”

During this time, the daughter was “crying out desperately, praying that her mother is still alive and blocking her mother's head to prevent loss of blood, until IDF soldiers arrived on the scene.