Friday, September 22, 2017

Jerusalem attack that left four soldiers dead draws widespread condemnation


By The Palestine Monitor - January 09, 2017
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On Sunday, four Israeli soldiers in their early twenties were killed when a Palestinian driver drove a truck into a group of uniformed soldiers who were taking part in an educational tour. At least 13 others from the same group were injured, three severely.
 
The Palestinian attacker was identified as 28-year-old Fadi al-Qunbar from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber, located not far from the site of the attack. Al-Qunbar was killed on the spot after being able to reverse the truck and crush the injured.
 
Speaking at the site of the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We know the identity of the attacker.  All signs point to the attacker being a supporter of the Islamic State." Attackers in Nice and Berlin last year have used similar methods.
 
The claim was widely reported by media all over the world, however no evidence has been provided so far to support it, and no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Hamas praised it.
 
In contradiction to Netanyahu's claims, in a statement to CNN following the attack, Israeli police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld said there is “no possibility of [ISIS] cells in the country”.
 
On Monday evening, the Israeli flag was projected onto the Brandeburg Gate in Berlin in tribute to the victims, as formerly seen in the wake of other attacks in European soil and in Turkey, when the gate was lit up with the national colours of the countries affected.
 
While Israeli leaders normally blame such attacks on Palestinian incitement, Palestinians tend to see them as a "natural reaction" to the crimes of the occupation.
 
A number of previous deadly attacks in Jerusalem were carried out by residents of Jabal al-Mukaber, including an attack at a synagogue in November 2014 that left five worshipers and a policeman dead, and an attack on a city bus in October 2015 in which three passengers were killed. The neighborhood saw several punitive house demolitions and severe restrictions on movement as a result.
 
Jabal al-Mukaber is part of the Jerusalem municipality under Israeli control since it was unilaterally annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, a move that was never recognised by the international community. East Jerusalemites are permanent residents but not citizens of Israel, and in order to hold onto this status they pay tax to the Jerusalem municipality. However, like other Palestinian neighborhoods it suffers from neglect - it has no streetlight, sidewalks, and trash collection is sporadic at best.
 
There's a lack of classrooms and housing for young people as only 16 percent of its total area has been designated for residential use in Israeli zoning plans, according to activist organisation Grassroots Jerusalem. Some of its land has been swallowed up by nearby settlements, while the separation wall has severed many Jabal al Mukaber residents from family members living in nearby Sheikh Sa'ad, as well as from the West Bank.
 
The American consulate, where Trump could move the American embassy if true to his campaign promise – therefore making the US the first country to recognise the annexation - is not far from the scene of the attack.
 
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel's security cabinet decided on Sunday to use administrative detention orders (without charge or trial) against individuals suspected of sympathising with the Islamic State group.
 
Additional measures include a blockade on the neighborhood, the decision to expedit the demolition of the attacker's home, and to not return the body to his family for burial. A number of his family members were arrested, while additional arrests were carried out across the West Bank.
 
 
 

 

 

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