Barkat: Enough is Enough, Violence Must End Now

Jerusalem Mayor calls for the restoration of quiet in Jerusalem, says Israel must act decisively, deploy more police to Arab areas.

Yaakov Levi,

Police at Issawiyah (file)
Police at Issawiyah (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Violence continued in Jerusalem Thursday, a day after an Arab terrorist killed an infant when he plowed into a crowd of Jews waiting for a train. Arabs threw rocks at Israeli drivers and police in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and attacked children at a kindergarten in the Maale Hazeitim neighborhood on the Mt. Of Olives - the second such attack in as many months. No one was injured in any of Thursday's attacks.

Enough is enough, said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat Thursday.

Barkat toured areas on the “seam zone,” the neighborhoods along Road 60 that cuts a swathe between the mostly Jewish neighborhoods of Maalot Dafna, Meah Shearim, and downtown Jerusalem to the west, and the largely Arab sections Silwan, Beit Hanina, and the streets outside the Old City to the east. Barkat, accompanied by officers of the special Yassam police security unit, toured the French Hill Issawiya neighborhoods, both near Hebrew University.

“We must restore quiet to Jerusalem,” Barkat declared. “I have been saying for months that the situation here is intolerable, and we must act decisively to stop the violence. It is clearer than ever that we must place police inside Arab neighborhoods to prevent unrest, with a large presence and well-equipped forces, acting to restore order to the city.

“At my request, the Prime Minister has ordered police to activate a new plan to beef up police forces,” Barkat added. “The plan will include hiring new officers, using technology to calm the situation, and increasing the use of technology. I will continue to stand steadfast in seeking to restore calm to Jerusalem,” he added.

At a press conference Wednesday, police said that observation balloons they have been flying over the Arab neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat have been very helpful in cutting down episodes of violence. The balloons, equipped with cameras, beam high resolution pictures of the areas to police, who can analyze them and take action to prevent small incidents from getting out of hand.

The balloons are just one aspect of new advanced technology police are using as part of a new plan to combat terrorism in Jerusalem. With terror attacks rising in the city in recent weeks, police on Wednesday introduced a new plan to restore calm and security for residents and visitors. The plan includes deploying more police at trouble spots and at sensitive times, new units - both uniformed and undercover - and the institution of new technologies for patrolling, detecting, and preventing trouble.

Wednesday's attack in Jerusalem occurred when a Hamas terrorist from the neighborhood of Silwan arrived with his car at the Givat Hatachmoshet (Ammunition Hill) Light Rail stop and ran over the people who were there, killing an infant. Eight other people were injured in the attack. A Jerusalem police officer shot the terrorist and seriously wounded him after he attempted to flee from the scene on foot. The terrorist died in hospital later on Wednesday. The baby who was murdered in the attack, three-month-old Chaya Zisel Baron, was laid to rest in Jerusalem on Wednesday night.

In what some are calling a “silent intifada,” Jerusalemites and visitors to the city have been subjected to endless rock attacks, riots, and violence. Fatah terrorists have been engaged in gun battles in and around Jerusalem, and were recently filmed firing automatic weapons into the air in the capital. Hamas has also been getting in on the action; another recent video shows terrorists with Hamas headbands shooting at an IDF Border Patrol post with modified sub-machine guns in Jerusalem's Shuafat neighborhood.

Aside from the shooting incidents, Jews have been targeted in several ambush lynch attempts, aside from the incessant rock throwing attacks. The Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, has been a focal point of the Arab violence, with Arab riots repeatedly forcing the closure of entry to Jewish visitors.




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