Scuffle Between Noisy Jewish Revelers and Palestinian Homeowners Ends in Palestinians' Arrest

Two brothers from Jerusalem Old City phone police to file a noise complaint, but were ignored. Only when they confronted the revelers did the police arrive - and put them under arrest.

Police in Jerusalem's old city.
Lior Mizrahi

Two Palestinian men, brothers from the Old City of Jerusalem, were arrested Saturday after scuffling with Jewish youths causing a disturbance near their home.

The brothers called police repeatedly to complain of the noise, but when the police did not arrive, a scuffle broke out.

On Saturday night, about five Jewish youths began to sing, pray and dance near the home of Mohammed and Nasser their full names are being withheld to protect them. The Palestinian brothers, who are 22 and 24, asked the revelers to stop making noise, but they refused, the police said.

The brothers phoned the police a number of times, but employees at the call center told them noise was allowed until 11 P.M.

They then approached police officers at the entrance to the Temple Mount near their home, but to little avail. Only after an argument broke out between the brothers and the youths did the police arrive after one of the youths phoned them.

The police arrested the two brothers but did not detain any of the youths. The brothers spent the night in jail and the next morning Judge Mika Banki of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court freed them on bail of 1,000 shekels ($273).

The police wanted the brothers kept in detention another five days to complete the investigation, even though during the hearing it emerged that the only alleged assault happened when one of the brothers knocked the phone out of the hand of one of the youths.

“It is doubtful whether the incident can be called assault for purposes of detention,” Banki wrote, adding that she could not rule they were dangerous because they had called the police a number of times.

The brothers were represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

“If the Palestinian brothers had gone and shouted in the Rehavia neighborhood in the evening, I assume at least 20 police officers would have jumped on them,” the brothers’ lawyer said after the hearing, referring to a wealthy Jerusalem neighborhood.

“Jews went wild near the Palestinians’ home, [the brothers] called the police to stop the nuisance, and they were arrested on a ridiculous claim of racially based assault.”

For their part, the police said they try to enforce the law and preserve public order without regard to origin, religion, gender or nationality. They said they noticed that one group of young people was attacking another, they separated the two sides and made arrests accordingly. The investigation is continuing.

Raphael Morris, the chairman of the Return to the Mount movement, said the incident occurred while members of the movement were conducting their almost daily round of visiting the gates to the Temple Mount.

He said they arrived at a gate to the Mount and began praying, before Arabs gathered around them and threatened them. “There is nothing wrong with Jews praying at the gates to the Temple Mount, and the police did the right thing in arresting two of the attackers,” Morris said.