MKs Touring Silwan Get Caught in Arab-Jewish Clashes

Car carrying members of State Control Committee hit by rocks, as tensions in East Jerusalem neighborhood continue.

Tensions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan continued on Tuesday as a group of Palestinian youth hurling rocks at local Jewish residents hit a car carrying members of Knesset.

The members of the State Control committee were touring a Jewish-occupied building in the heart of the Arab neighborhood, to assess the residents' claim that they were being unfairly targeted by police monitoring illegal construction.

silwan - AP - Sept 22 2010

The MKs were accompanied by heavy Border Police and Israel Police security. The ston-throwing incident occurred as they were leaving the neighborhood, and found themselves in the middle of the clashes between Jews and Arabs.

There were no casualties and the car sustained no damage.
The area is home to some 60,000 Palestinians and 500 Jews. The pattern of Jewish settlement is unlike anywhere else, with some 70 Jewish families in 15 different locations, islands among tens of thousands of Palestinians. The resulting friction requires the presence of dozens of security guards and surveillance cameras.

Since Palestinian resident Samer Sirhan was shot to death before Sukkot, hardly a day has gone by without cars belonging to Jews being stoned. Settlers also report that their cars have been torched and they have been harassed on the street.

Recently, settlers wrote to Police Commissioner David Cohen demanding that he dismiss Jerusalem police chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Franco because of what they termed his failure to protect them. The letter said more than 60 cars had been damaged by stones, iron bars and other objects over the past three months.

The latest downturn in the situation followed an incident on Friday in which Silwan settler leader David Be'eri hit two Arab children with his car after they allegedly threw stones at it.