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Palestinians attack Jewish residents in East Jerusalem

Assailants throw Molotov cocktails at Silwan apartments, causing no injuries or damage; police yet to make arrests

A bird's eye view of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
A bird's eye view of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails at an apartment building in a flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood just hours after it was taken over by Jewish Israelis, police said Tuesday.

No one was injured in the incident in the Silwan neighborhood late on Monday, which saw a gang of Palestinians firing flares and throwing firebombs at the building, a police statement said.

No serious damage was caused and no arrests were made.

The building was one of two structures housing 10 apartments that were taken over by a group of Jews before dawn on Monday, sparking fierce local opposition. Such takeovers have also been strongly condemned by the international community.

Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood that flanks the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and has been the scene of frequent clashes involving a small group of right-wing Jewish Israelis, the Israeli police and young, stone-throwing locals.

Clashes erupted three weeks ago when settlers moved into more than 25 apartments in the area that they had purchased.

Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli organization aiming to increase the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, said the acquisitions would double the number of Jews living in that part of Silwan, known in Hebrew as Kfar Shiloah.

The group claims that particular area was inhabited by Jews from Yemen in the late 19th century.

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognized by the international community. Some 200,000 Israelis live there alongside some 300,000 Palestinians.

Israel regards the entire city as its “undivided capital” and does not see construction or the purchase of houses in the eastern sector as settlement activity.

While the Israeli government is behind major construction efforts in the area, it says it has no say over private real-estate deals in East Jerusalem.

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin spoke out against such deals conducted between Arab sellers and right-wing Jewish groups.

“Jerusalem cannot be a city in which building is done in secret or where moving into apartments is done in the dead of night,” he said.

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