J’lem Old City shop vandalized during holiday
A shop located next to Damascus Gate in the Muslim Quarter of the capital’s Old City was vandalized and its worker was attacked late Wednesday night by worshipers who were coming back from the Western Wall.
It was reported that hundreds of people stormed the shop – the only one that had been open that night – and attacked the worker, Ibrahim Hashelmon, who was lightly wounded and was rushed to the hospital.
Talking to Channel 10 News, Hashelmon said that the police, who have a permanent post right next to the shop, did not approach the tumult, but came to the scene only after the damage was done.
“They threw an ice-cream refrigerator at me... They hit me in the head... They broke the whole place, and spilled soft drinks all over the floor. They took a fire extinguisher and hit me on the head with it,” he said.
“I became dizzy and then puked. Only at the very end some policemen came and said that they will call an ambulance. It took them a while before they started pushing people away,” he said.
Police called the incident a “quarrel between young people.”
“During the night it was reported that a fight broke out between young people at El Wad Hagai Street, in which stones were thrown,” a police statement read. “damage was done to a store, a motorcycle and a car parked nearby. The police intervened and separated the two sides. An investigation was launched.”
Police told The Jerusalem Post that no arrests had been made.
Hatem Abu al-Daba’at, the owner of the shop, told the Post that the place was destroyed by the rioters.
“All of my equipment and all the refrigerators were ruined, and the place needs a full restoration,” he lamented.
Abu al-Daba’at said that it was the first time his shop had suffered this kind of harsh violence.
“We know that usually when prayer-goers come back from the Kotel during holidays they shout and curse, but normally the police stop them before they do anything,” he said.
“Yesterday they came and started throwing objects at Ibrahim the worker and the three customers sitting there. They started hitting them, broke everything and shouted, ‘Death to all Arabs,’” he said. “I don’t know why, but for some reason the police did not interfere and did not do anything.”
The left-wing organization Ir Amim criticized the police for not taking action.
“This is not the first time that the police are not doing their job to protect the Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem,” the NGO said in a statement. “If that is not enough, they added another wrongdoing by hurrying to put out a statement that hides the truth from the public about the assaulting of Palestinians.”
THIS MUSLIM QUARTER shop was destroyed by worshipers returning from the Western Wall on Wednesday night.