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April 16, 2012 10:15 am

Mount of Olives Attacks Brings Security Situation in East Jerusalem into Spotlight

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Maale HaZeitim neighborhood in Eastern Jerusalem. Photo: JewishPress.

The Mount of Olives in Eastern Jerusalem was the scene of an attack on Sunday night, as 7 molotov cocktails or “firebombs” were hurled at Jewish homes in the neighborhood of Maale HaZeitim.

The neighborhood, which sits just south of the grave of former Israeli Prime Minister Manachem Begin has been the target of attacks in the past, including an incident in March when U.S. Congressman had rocks thrown in their direction.

“We’ve had other attacks where I’ve called the police and they didn’t even send a car. Last night, they sent lots of Jerusalem police and border police,” a Jewish resident of Maale HaZeitim told the Jewish Press.  “But as long as there’s an Arab population next to us and they feel like they’re the bosses… as long as there is growing extremism, we’ll continue to face these things.”

The suspect fled the scene after security fired their weapons into the air, something Aryeh Eldad – a member of Israel’s Knesset (parliament) – said should not have been done.  He claimed that due to the severity and dangerous nature of the molotov cocktails, suspects should be fired at in the future.

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“In the last few months we are seeing a total degradation of the security situation in the Mount of Olives region,” Eldad said.

A new police station was just recently established in the area, with the capacity to house 24 officers at any given time and a remarkable view of Jerusalem from the east.

“Nobody ever talks about leaving.  I think the kids feel like they are living in a unique place with a purpose,” the neighborhood resident told the Jewish Press.  “I see us as a microcosm of Israel – there are people all around us who don’t want us to be here.  We are not talking about leaving.”

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