A prominent Palestinian activist in Jerusalem has announced that he will sue one of the city’s deputy mayors over threatening comments he made during a recent protest over the pending eviction of several families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
“This man, Arieh King, who is one of the activists against the Palestinians, who wants to expel the Palestinians…is always threatening,” Mohammed Abu Hummus said during a radio interview on Sunday morning.
King, the founder of the Israel Land Fund, an organization that works to settle Jews in East Jerusalem, got into a screaming match with Abu Hummus during clashes between neighborhood residents and supporters of far-right Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir on Thursday evening. Ben-Gvir had set up a temporary office there earlier in the day, sparking a violent confrontation requiring police intervention.
In a video posted to Twitter, King could be seen standing next to Ben-Gvir and Jewish supremacist Bentzi Gopstein, screaming Abu Hummus’ name.
“How is your ass? The bullet is still there, that’s why he’s limping,” King screamed, referring to a gunshot wound the Palestinian activist had previously suffered.
“Did they take it out already? It’s a pity it didn’t go in here,” he continued, pointing to his own head.
“Shoot me in the head,” Abu Hummus yelled back. “I will be a martyr.”
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Asked if he regretted his comments, King told radio 103FM, “maybe it would have been better if I had not said it publicly, but I don’t apologize to anyone who wants to kill and hurt me.”
Abu Hummus is not alone in seeking legal action against King. Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh on Thursday accused him of inciting violence, tweeting that he would file a criminal complaint and calling on Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to open an investigation.
King has explicitly called for the “Judaization” of Jerusalem and has been accused of racism on multiple occasions. Last July, he was caught on tape dragging an anti-Netanyahu protester on the sidewalk at a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Abu Hummus is a leading community activist in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah. Police have been intensely active there since May 2019, in a campaign criticized by residents as a form of collective punishment. The police operations have led to the arrest of hundreds of residents, dozens of injuries and severe disruption of day-to-day life for local Palestinians. Relations between residents and the police have rapidly disintegrated due to this sequence of violent conflicts.
In 2019, Abu Hummus, and his nephew Ahmed Masri were assaulted by riot police. Abu Hummus, who is disabled and uses crutches, was hospitalized at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem after the police hit him and threw him to the ground.
He was later arrested and charged with assaulting police officers, although a judge ordered him freed and recommended that the case be turned over to the Justice Ministry's police misconduct unit after viewing a video of the incident.