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Losing Power Doesn’t Justify Setting Jerusalem on Fire
Ahmed Tibi (center 3rd-L), member of the Knesset for the Joint List, and ex-Knesset member Jamal Zahalka (center 2nd-L) attend a press conference held by local elders of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, on May 6, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/ AFP via Getty Images)

Losing Power Doesn’t Justify Setting Jerusalem on Fire

Ma’ariv, Israel, May 9

For many years, there has been a planned expulsion campaign against Palestinian families residing in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. I’ve been closely monitoring these efforts. Some commentators describe it as a “real estate problem” – a ridiculous claim given the fact that what is happening on the ground is nothing short of an ethnic purge. There is also a claim that Jews have documents indicating their ownership over the land since the 19th century. Curiously, these same Jews seem to disregard similar documentation showing Palestinians’ rights to lands in Rehavia, Talbiyah, Jaffa, Haifa, Tiberias and elsewhere. According to the racist laws of the State of Israel, a Jew’s ownership certificate is taken seriously, whereas a Palestinian’s certificate of ownership is thrown away on the basis of the “Absentee Property Law” of 1950. That’s right: the same documents are viewed differently based on who submits them. There is one law for Jews and a separate law for Arabs. Yesterday I was with my friends for the fifth time in Sheikh Jarrah. The aggression of the police against the protesters and against us has been growing every day. This is what happens every night after the Iftar, the break-fast meal of Ramadan. There were many thousands in the Al-Aqsa Mosque last night. The Israel Police entered the mosque, firing stun grenades at worshipers and inside the mosque’s clinic. The direct firing of rubber bullets wounded about 200 Palestinians, some of them in the head. The person who gave the order to the police to raise the threshold of violence in Sheikh Jarrah and to behave brutally in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the eve of Al-Qadr, the holiest night in the month of Ramadan, is responsible for the escalating tensions in the area. We all know who’s behind this. It should come as no surprise that shooting and aggression in Al-Aqsa Mosque will ignite a massive fire. Yet there’s someone who seems to believe they will benefit from such an explosion. To all of the pyromaniacs in the government: Stop playing with fire!  The fact that you are about to lose political power doesn’t justify the burning of Jerusalem! –Dr. Ahmad Tibi, member of Israel’s Knesset

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