Thursday, August 26, 2010

Armed Israeli Settlers and Lack of Police Response Provoked Clashes in East Jerusalem

Resumed clashes in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan: "Resumed clashes in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan
Friday, 27 August, 2010 [Palestine time]

Clashes between the armed guards of the settlers and Palestinian youths of Silwan resumed tonight in the Ein Silwan street in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood. There were no reports of injuries.

Armed settler guards attack mosque in Wadi Hilweh; shots fired at Palestinian residents « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan:

"Violence has swept through Wadi Hilweh again as Israeli settler security guards attempted to storm the neighborhood mosque, in what marks the third time such an attack has been launched on the local religious site. Settler guards fired live ammunition at Palestinian residents in the ensuing clashes that erupted.

Police claim that stones were thrown at the occupied home of Khader al-Qaq in Wadi Hilweh last night. Three hours later a group of armed Elad settler guards attempted to storm the Wadi Hilweh mosque, using a fire extinguisher to try and break through the door. As the mosque’s emergency call sounded out from the minarets, the guards attempted to flee the scene. Palestinians of Wadi Hilweh flocked to the site of the attack to defend their mosque, where skirmishes soon broke out between residents and settler guards. Shots were fired by armed settler guards at Palestinian residents during the clashes.

Wadi Hilweh resident Mohammad Qaraeen stated that when he tried to alert the police to the attack, the police officer on duty hung up on him. When he tried to call a second time, the police did not arrive until several hours afterwards.

The area was invaded soon after by a large force of Israeli military and Border Police, stationed in the nearby suburb of Baten el-Hawa. The invading forces immediately began firing rounds of tear gas projectiles at crowds of Palestinian residents, causing widespread suffocation as a result of gas inhalation. A fire was started by a group of angry youths at the entrance to Aid el-Hamra, an area under control of the Elad tourism-settlement project “City of David”, in response to the secondary invasion of their community. Residents and journalists were then prevented from accessing the area by Israeli forces, who began firing rubber bullets, tear gas projectiles and sound bombs at the crowd.

Eyewitnesses report that Israeli soldiers attempted to arrest a Palestinian child during the clashes. The entire area of Wadi Hilweh was then cordoned off by the Israeli military, blocking all entrances to the neighborhood.

Maan News Agency: Silwan residents say settlers provoked clash:

"JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood said settlers attempted to enter the Al-Ein Mosque early Thursday morning, sparking skirmishes that lasted until after sunrise.

Israeli forces arrived as locals said they were attempting to drive the settlers out of the mosque area. Two settler cars were torched, and several windshields smashed in the violence.

The incoming border police force was described as 'massive,' and said to have been firing tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets toward Palestinians.

Firefighters called to put out the car blazes were reportedly confronted by angered residents in the area, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported. According to the newspaper, four cars and two motorcycles were set alight.

A 22-year-old settler was said to have been injured, and the paper quoted a settler leader from the area, denying claims that an attempt to gain access to the mosque had caused the clash.

Israeli police said they were looking into the incident.

In the West Bank, three recent incidents of settlers vandalizing mosques have put residents on edge. In December, a Yasuf village mosque was torched and twelve settlers from the Yizhar settlement detained for their role in the incident. Also in the Nablus region, settlers torched a second mosque in May, Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya villagers said settlers drove up to the mosque, gathered flammables, and set them alight.

In June, officials from the Islamic Waqf said a recent wave of settlers moving into Jaffa, a Palestinain city now south of Tel Aviv, attempted to set ablaze the Jaffa Mosque as it was undergoing repairs.

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"Clashes in East Jerusalem 1:29 Report

Aug 26

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