Death of E. Jerusalem Teen Puts Spotlight on Beit Yonatan

Palestinian residents claim during clash between police and Arab youths, window opened in Beit Yonatan, several shots were fired, one hitting Milad Ayyash in stomach, killing him; police say shooter still unknown.

The circumstances of the death of Milad Ayyash, 16, on Saturday morning in East Jerusalem raise many questions. Ayyash was apparently killed by shots fired from the Beit Yonatan apartment complex, inhabited by Jewish settlers, in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

Yesterday Palestinian residents reiterated their version of events, claiming that during a clash between police and Arab youths, a window opened in Beit Yonatan, and several shots were fired, one of them hitting Ayyash in the stomach, and killing him.

Milad Ayyash
Reproduction: Fant

But Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said yesterday: "We don't know who fired the shots. The hospital claims to have bullet shells, but it refused to relay them." Police officers said that the refusal of the victim's family to allow an autopsy has hampered the investigation.

The death of Ayyash raises questions about the role of private security guards employed by the state to protect Jews living in the heart of large Arab neighborhoods. In addition, over the past three years, several court decisions called for the evacuation of the 10 Jewish families from Beit Yonatan, and the sealing off of the facility. Due to pressure exerted from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and police red-tape, the building's has yet to be evacuated.