Palestinians attack new E Jerusalem settler homes

Palestinians attack new E Jerusalem settler homes
A masked Palestinian hides behind a plank of wood during clashes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi Joz September 7, 2014

JERUSALEM - Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails at an apartment building in a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighbourhood just hours after it was taken over by Jewish settlers, police said Tuesday.

No one was injured in the incident in the Silwan neighbourhood late on Monday, which saw a gang of Palestinians firing flares and throwing petrol bombs 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 Jewish settlers 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 neighbourhood that flanks the southern walls of Jerusalem's Old City and has been the scene of frequent clashes involving a small group of hardcore settlers, 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 organisation 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 Shiloach.

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

Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognised 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.

Earlier this week, President Reuven Rivlin spoke out against such deals conducted between Arab sellers and extreme right-wing 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 on Sunday.

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