Saturday, August 08, 2020

Protesters: Ras Al Aímoud not Maale Zetim

Juicebox Gallery

By Editor - May 26, 2011
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [IDF] [settlement construction] [Settlers] [Ras Al Aímoud]

“He just said we should all be dead,” said an Israeli activist, grinning wide and nodding towards a kippah-capped settler. The latter had stopped pushing his occupied baby stroller before a swarm of police, protesters and settlers outside the Maale Zetim settlement in East Jerusalem.

The two argued in Hebrew as activists pounded drums and chanted into megaphones, police and soldiers stood at the ready, and settlers stared down at the tumult from atop their concrete enclave.

“I shout apartheid, you shout fight back,” said an Israeli woman on the bullhorn. “Apartheid.”

“Fight back!” bellowed the crowd.

About forty Jewish and Arab Israeli and other activists stood before the Maale Zetim settlement last night to protest the continual expansion of the Judaization of East Jerusalem. The mayor of Jerusalem, the Speaker of Knesset and the Minister of Education was attending an inaguration ceremony for Maale Zetim’s neighbors at Maale David.

“It is impossible to stand here and see anything like peace – we are on the brink of a disaster,” said Daniel, an Israeli saddened and confused by his President’s hawkish recent speeches in Washington, D.C. He put himself between the incoming officials’ cars. “There is no opportunity for peace. What we can do now is to resist non-violently.”

“Abu Mazen and Fayyad have no options,” Daniel said, referring to the Palestinian President and Prime Minister. Daniel had both of his hands stuffed into his pockets – “So I will not be accused of attacking a police man – again.”

If it is built, the two settlements will be connected by a bridge and thereby become the biggest Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem

According to Ir-Amim, Maale Zetim was built on land originally registered by the Jordanian government to Palestinians. But settlers occupied the land and, despite slight curbs set up by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2008 they were given the “green light” to expand rapidly. Now, Maale Zetim has been approved for an expansion, which Ir-Amim warns could break all precedent and drastically cut into the existing Arab neighborhood of Rais Al-A’moud.

“If it is built, the two settlements will be connected by a bridge and thereby become the biggest Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem,” according to Ir-Amim.

“La ali7tilal – ni7ai ali7tilal,” chanted the crowd in Arabic, echoing a sentiment popular throughout the May 15th protests: no to the occupation, end the occupation.

The protesters’ signs read a melange of English, Arabic and Hebrew: “Rais Al-A’moud is Palestine”, “Jewish Arab solidarity against fascism”, “Jerusalem won’t be like Hebron”, and “Support schools not settlements.”

The protest ended at dusk, but will return tomorrow at 4pm, said Jawad Siyam, the director of the Silwan Community Center.

“Israel is opening a settlement in Rais Al A’moud – they give the settlement Maael Zetim new homes, yet they ordered the demolition of eight [Palestinian] homes here yesterday,” Siyam said. “The municipality refused to permit development of Palsetinian homes.”

“We see the aggressive actions of the Israeli municipality,” he said. “What peace? We don’t believe this word anymore.”

An advertisement for apartments in the new settlement boasted of floor-to-cieling window views of The Dome of The Rock – the second holiest place in Islam.

Two young settlers came down to mingle with the activists, smiling and greeting cameras sweetly.

Boasting a great-grandfather and a grandfather born in Jerusalem – and many familial graves in the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery – a New Jersey native complained about the “troublemakers” outside his home.

“I personally don’t bother them, and I hope they don’t both me, but unfortunately, it’s not both ways,” Mayer said. “None of the people here are local – they seem to be trouble makers who came here to make trouble. I’d be happy to speak to them but this is very, very disturbing.”

Mayer denied the theft of Palestinian lands or any Zionist violence meted out on Palestinian civilians.

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