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One killed in shooting, another killed when run over Photo: Index open
One killed in shooting, another killed when run over Photo: Index open
 
Yakir Segev. 'Burying head in sand' Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yakir Segev. 'Burying head in sand' Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

Deadly Jerusalem feud: 'Police turning blind eye'

Following death of two people in Silwan gunfight, Jerusalem council member points finger: 'If it were Rehavia, police would have been there within three minutes.' Police: We came right away, dispatched large forces, arrested three

Ronen Medzini
Published: 07.05.09, 10:12 / Israel News

Could the deadly outcome of the inter-family feud over the weekend been prevented? One person was killed and two were wounded on Saturday in a violent clash in Silwan, in east Jerusalem. Three suspects were arrested and brought in for interrogation on Saturday night for alleged involvement in the shooting.

 

However, claims are being made by residents of the capital city that the police are afraid of intervening in quarrels in the eastern part of the city.

 

"The problem did not start yesterday; it is the result of a persistent flaw," said Yakir Segev, Jerusalem municipal council member holding the east Jerusalem portfolio, said to Ynet.

 

"The police don't exist in east Jerusalem when it comes to anything related to law enforcement. When it comes to a criminal event, the chances of seeing a patrol car there is close to zero. The police enter the neighborhood only if it has to do with terrorists. In other cases, they just don't exist and prefer to bury their heads in the sand," Segev claimed.

 

According to Segev, this stems from discriminatory practices between the east of the city and the west of the city.

 

"If there were a mass brawl in Rehavia (a city in the west of the city – R.M.), within three minutes the police would have arrived on the spot with whatever backup was necessary. In Silwan, the police turn a blind eye, supposedly to avoid an argument. So, when they actually need to go in, they can't. Then it becomes a real operation, like going into Ramallah. Yesterday's events demonstrate just that," said Segev.

 

Jerusalem Police claimed that they responded properly. "Immediately after receiving notice of a disturbance, large units of police and Border Guard entered the village in order to calm things down. Throughout the entire night, three Border Guard jeeps patrolled the village. When shooting renewed after midnight, police forces together with the special forces entered, arrested three suspects, and transferred them to the minorities department for investigation.

 

The police have also sworn to keep working until additional suspects are arrested.

 

MDA: We're not allowed to enter without police nod

The brawl Saturday initiated when children from the Rajbi and Ouda families started arguing. During the skirmish, armed family members from the two clans opened fire, killing one person. Another person was killed when hit by a car. The two casualties, both members of the Rajbi family, were evacuated to a hospital in east Jerusalem.

 

Reconciliation committees tried to bring order to the scene.

 

Large police forces were ultimately dispatched to the scene, where they were escorted by a police chopper, in order to disperse the feuding clans. According to Silwan residents, Palestinian Authority officials, despite bans on operating in the area, also sent civilian-clothed security officials in to calm things down.

 

Silwan residents complained that first aid teams were not speedy in their arrival. Magen David Adom responded, saying that they did everything in their power to treat those injured in the clash.

 

MDA Jerusalem Spokesman Danny Rotenberg said, "Yesterday at 8:30 pm we received a call about a man suffering from chest pains in Silwan. Simultaneous to dispatching forces, we contacted the police in accordance to our clear and established protocol that MDA does not enter Arab villages without Israel Police authorization and escort."

 

"In this instance, the police informed us that we could not enter the village because of a shooting incident, apparently due to a clan rivalry," added Rotenberg.

 

"MDA teams contacted the Red Crescent for first aid, while waiting for more than two hours in the Givati parking lot at the entrance to the village, ready and available to treat any wounded person found by the Red Crescent or civilians.

 

At no point was there a situation in which there were reports of wounded and we were not prepared to respond at the operation center at the entrance to the village."

 

Efrat Weiss contributed to this report

 

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