Arab Libel in Battle for J'lem

Arab residents of Jerusalem neighborhood falsely accuse Jewish men of beating Arab women; Jews say libel is an attempt to force them to leave.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 6:02 PM

Far-left rally in Shimon Hatzaddik
Far-left rally in Shimon Hatzaddik
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Arab residents of the Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem are filing false claims against Jewish men for allegedly beating Arab women in what local Jews say is an attempt to drive them from the area.

The latest such incident occurred on Tuesday evening. A Jew from Shimon Hatzaddik walked past a group of Muslim men who were sitting outside breaking their Ramadan fast. Suddenly, the men began to physically attack him.

The man quickly called police for help. When they arrived, Arabs living in nearby houses appeared and claimed that the Jew had started the fight by attacking an Arab woman.

Luckily for the Jewish victim, security cameras in the area proved that he was telling the truth, and that no Arab woman had been attacked.

Police moved to arrest the Arab man who had led the attack on the Jew, but the former found a creative way to escape arrest. He knelt to pray and put his head to the earth, rising a long while later with his face covered in blood. Police were forced to call an ambulance instead of taking him to the station.

Same Thing in June
A similar incident was reported in June, when Shimon Hatzaddik resident Moshe Meron was targeted by an Arab woman from the neighborhood who threw a rock at him. Meron told the woman that if she did not stop, he would call police.

Within an hour, Meron found himself arrested on charges of attacking the same Arab woman. He was taken to the police station despite the fact that it was the Sabbath, on which religiously observant Jews do not travel in cars, and was held overnight – despite the existence of video evidence proving the Arab woman's claims to be false.

“The Arabs file false claims against us in order to get us out of there,” Meron said.

Jews living in Shimon Hatzaddik shared their suspicions that Jerusalem police are under pressure to go lightly on Arab attackers. “When Jews complain, the police don't respond, but when Arabs complain, a force comes immediately to conduct arrests,” Meron said.

Sources said police may be under pressure from Israeli organizations on the extreme left of the political spectrum. Members of such groups often join Arabs in Shimon Hatzaddik in protesting the Jewish presence in the area.

Shimon Hatzaddik was historically a Jewish neighborhood, but was conquered by Jordan in 1948 and remained under Jordanian control until the Six Day War in 1967. During that time it was used by Jordan to provide housing for Arab families. Several Jews whose families were driven from their homes in the neighborhood have since successfully petitioned Israeli courts to be allowed to reclaim their property.

Hevron Jews Also Targeted
The "false accusations" tactic is being used in Hevron as well, where Jewish community spokesman David Wilder reports the existence of a “tremendous propaganda machine” aimed at making Jews look bad.

Most recently, Arab media outlets accused Israeli Jews living in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hevron of beating a young Arab girl early this week. However, no complaint was filed with police, and soldiers who reviewed film from video cameras in the neighborhood did not report any attacks in the area.

False reports against Jews are on the rise thanks to the possibility of renewed Israel-PA negotiations, Wilder explained. By demonizing Jewish residents of the city, PA Arabs hope to earn more concessions in peace talks – in this case, the removal of Jews from the city.