JERUSALEM (Nov. 24)
Sources at the Jerusalem municipality expressed hope Monday that calm will be restored to the city after nine days of anti-Arab violence that followed the fatal stabbing of a yeshiva student in the Old City’s Moslem quarter November 15.
Their optimism may have been inspired by the funeral of Palestinian leader Anwar Nusseibeh which took place in the Old City Monday without disturbances. He was buried on the Temple Mount. The funeral procession followed almost the same route as Sunday’s memorial march by Jews for the slain yeshiva student, Eliahu Amdi. Nusseibeh, a leading Palestinian moderate, died Saturday at the age of 73.
Heavy police cordons kept Jewish extremists away, even when Arab youths joined the funeral procession chanting pro-PLO slogans. Sunday’s memorial march for Amdi was fraught with violence and police said later it was a mistake to have issued a permit.
The marchers Sunday shouted “death to the Arabs” as they moved through the narrow streets of the Old City to Khaladiye Street near the Shuvu Banim yeshiva where Amdi was slain. Windows and doors of Arab-owned shops were kicked in and Arab-owned cars were smashed. Two Arab passers-by were beaten and required first aid treatment after they were rescued by police.
According to police sources, much of the violence was whipped up by members of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party and by now it may have exhausted itself. The roughnecks were verbally chastised Monday by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu who urged the public not to be “drawn into acts that violate the spirit of the Torah.” He suggested that whoever wanted to honor Amdi’s memory should study the Torah and those who shouted “death to the Arabs” should repent.
The executive committee of the Likud Knesset faction issued a condemnation Monday of all elements, Jews and Arabs alike, who have “caused unrest in the city.”
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the anti-Arab violence caused “grave damage” to Israel’s image abroad.
President Chaim Herzog, in a statement to Israel Radio, denounced the outrages by both Jews and Arabs and said that the violence should be put down “with an iron fist.” He said that the violent actions by Jews “can only bring tremendous danger to the standing and image of Jerusalem, and plays directly into the hands of our enemies.” He also denounced the murder of Amdi and sent his condolences to the victim’s family, promising that everything possible would be done to stamp out such racist and terrorist practices.
The Jerusalem City Council, meeting in special session Monday, joined with Mayor Teddy Kollek in warning that anti-Arab violence played into the hands of terrorists who want nothing more than to create strife between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem.
Interior Minister Yitzhak Peretz, of the Orthodox Shas Party, condemned Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the Gush Emunim leader from Hebron, and others who blamed the government for Amdi’s death. Three Arab youths from the West Bank town of Jenin suspected of the crime are in custody. They have been linked to George Habash’s Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
A MODEST FUNERAL FOR NUSSEIBEH
Nusseibeh’s funeral was relatively modest. Although the former Jordanian Defense Minister had maintained personal ties with Israeli leaders, no Israeli personalities attended the funeral. Apparently they wanted to avoid provoking Jewish extremists. Kollek stayed away because he did not attend the memorial march for Amdi.
Among those at the funeral, apart from members of the Nusseibeh family, were Rashad A-Shawa, former Mayor of Gaza, Hikmat el-Masri, deputy chairman of the Jordanian Senate, and the British and U.S. Consul Generals in East Jerusalem.