Thursday, June 14, 2018

14-Jun-18: In Jerusalem's Shuafat, an explosion reveals a secret bomb workshop

The source caption reads: "The Shuafat Refugee Camp from the
Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, in northeast Jerusalem.
(Miriam Alster/Flash90 )
" [Image Source]
As we write this, there has been very little media attention - and practically none outside Israel - but to us it seems a serious development. 

As reported this morning (Thursday) by the Jerusalem Post ["Police: Explosion in East Jerusalem Caused by Bomb-Making Attempt", June 14, 2018], an explosion last night in the Shuafat neighbourhood of north Jerusalem (it's not really east) was the result of a failed attempt to build an explosive device.

Israel Police investigators, arriving on the scene around 11:00 pm, found additional explosive material in the fourth-floor apartment where the explosion happened. Eight suspects are now under arrest and being interrogated. No names have been released so far, and none of their affiliations (affiliations are a big deal in reporting on terrorism). One individual suffered critical injuries in the explosion and was hospitalized. Another man is much less injured.

That part of Shuafat is usually termed "refugee camp" in media reports. In reality, it's a suburban neighborhood of Jerusalem which is served by the indispensable Jerusalem Light Rail's one and only line (in fact, the light rail system's eastern terminus is at Shuafat).

And while it's certainly not the most gorgeous part of town, it's not exactly a concentration camp as we showed in a post some years ago ["07-Nov-14: Hovels? Shanties? A Palestinian Arab refugee camp"]. It's separated from the rest of the city by the meandering West Bank security barrier and that has a negative impact on easy of access - not to their own communities but to ours - and on law and order. You can get a sense of the questions that arise, and the absence of answers, here: "Stuck between Israel and the PA, Shuafat refugee camp seethes"[ Avi Issacharoff in Times of Israel, June 7, 2015]. Can UNRWA help them? Can the PA? Hamas? It hardly matters because the mess that is Shuafat today seems to serve the needs of all of them.

In that 2014 post of ours, we wrote:
Paradise? No, not at all. But hardly a shanty town either, and very little like what people imagine when the term 'refugee camp' is deployed to describe the place.
As today's Jerusalem Post article points out, a substantial spike in terrorist activity was reported in Shuafat after the separation barrier was established, and that became even more pronounced once the “knife intifada” got going in 2015. Click here to see what we have reported about troubles emanating from Shuafat.

The Jerusalem Light Rail has come under frequent attack inside and
from Shuafat. This scene is from riots right on the tracks in Shuafat in
July 2014 [Getty Images]
The tensions in that part of Jerusalem are no secret. The police leaving the scene last night got involved in what are being called clashes with local residents - who were rioting - but a Jerusalem Police spokesman said no injuries were reported.

We're not aware of any Palestinian Arab sources who seem to see the connection among (a) the riots that meet Israeli service providers; (b) the steady stream of Arab-on-Israeli terrorist activities carried out by Shuafat residents; (c) the passion of those residents to be entirely disconnected from Israeli control; and (d) the low level of Israeli services being provided to the neighborhood.

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