Members of the Knesset's Interior Committee, headed by MK Miri Regev (Likud), toured eastern Jerusalem's “seam line” between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods and the Mount of Olives Thursday, days after a startling attack by dozens of Arab Muslims on a gas station which highlighted the general deterioration in Jewish security in the area.
The tour was scheduled following hundreds of complaints by Jewish visitors to the huge cemetery located on the Mount of Olives, regarding rock-throwing attacks by Arabs, and vandalism of the graves of loved ones.
MKs Moshe Feiglin (Likud), Motti Yogev (Jewish Home), David Azulai (Shas) and Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) also took part in the tour, as did the police's Jerusalem District Commander, Major General Yossi Parienti.
At the Mount of Olives, the committee members met local Jewish residents who are furious at the police for the lack of security. “There is not a single time we drive on the road without being hit by a barrage of rocks,” said Ofir, a resident. “We tried not to be here during the summer.”
Also participating were representatives of the International Committee for the Protection of the Mount of Olives in Israel, Jeff Daube and Harvey Schwartz. According to Schwartz and Daube, police do precious little to defend Jews who wish to visit the Mount of Olives, and Jewish activists have had enough of police inaction over attacks by Arabs on Jews attempting to visit graves or pray at the site.
MK Regev, who is known for her no-nonsense approach to security matters, demanded to know: “Where is the police presence and the deterrence? Why do Jews have to be attacked with rocks because of Protective Edge? Citizens of the state must be able to travel safely, everywhere. The police must accelerate the pace of arrests.”
“In places where there is police deterrence, rocks will not be thrown,” said MK Eichler, and asked where the police's deterrence has gone.”
MK Feiglin asked Parienti: “Do you understand that we are facing the Jerusalem Intifada?”
Jerusalem Councillor Aryeh King pointed to a cliff from which the houses of the Arab village of Issawiya overlook the old Maaleh Adumim road, and from which rock throwers regularly target Israelis. All of the houses on that cliff – including a five story building – were built illegally, he said, and courts have issued orders to demolish them, but police do not carry out the orders. The local Arabs, he explained, know that they can build illegally without being touched by police – and gather from this that they can also throw rocks without facing serious consequences. Therefore, no deterrence can be achieved.
On Monday, Arab rioters threw rocks and molotov cocktails at a French Hill gas station, destroying the store located there and narrowly failing to set the gasoline tanks on fire. They damaged the fuel pumps and security cameras, stealing oil from the station and spilling it on the road leading to Issawiya before fleeing the scene.
Parienti admitted that Issawiya is a “very extremist” village that is highly sympathetic to the PFLP terror organization. He dodged the accusations of laxity, said that police maintain a 24-hour-a-day presence along the road and pointed to a lack of manpower as part of the problem. In July and August, he said, there was increased violence because of the murder of an Arab youth, Mohammed Abu Khder, and also because of the Ramadan month and Operation Protective Edge. “We had 30 'friction locations' every noght, and now there is a meaningful decline” in the violence, he said. “I am optimistic that soon, we will restore quiet. There are no magic solutions. We strive for contact and we have dozens of wounded policemen and hundreds of arrestees.”
Arabs from the neighborhood of Issawiya, on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, carry out daily attacks on students studying at the adjacent Hebrew University campus and on Jews in general, a student has told Arutz Sheva.
Arutz Sheva has been reporting for years that the Arabs of Issawiya routinely harass female students at the university as they make their way from the dormitories to the campus, and that the authorities and university have been ineffective in their attempts to stop the phenomenon. Other news channels are loath to report the phenomenon out of obedience to “political correctness.”
Attempts to get the numerous feminist MKs in the Knesset to discuss the female students' plight failed miserably, when the only female MK to show up for the discussion chastised the students for failing to solve the problem through dialogue.
Residents of French Hill are also increasingly terrorized by Issawiya.
The committee approved the establishment of a subcommittee for collecting illegal weapons in the Arab sector. The דונcommittee's deliberations will be held behind closed doors.