By Hagit Ofran, Peace Now's Settlement Watch Project Director
The close relationship between the Jerusalem police and the settlers is proved again at the ceremony for new Jerusalem District Commander. The newly appointed Jerusalem Police Commander Niso Shaham invited some old friends, among them settlers and extremists rabbis. A local Haredic website published some interesting pictures from the event in which Shaham was seen exchanging hugs, and posing for photographs with the East Jerusalem settler leadership, among them Yonatan Yossef, the head of the Sheikh Jarrah settlers gang, David Be’eri from Elad, Matti Dan from Ateret Cohanim, and others (cozy photographs can be seen here).
Who was not invited? The citizens of Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods that are suffering daily from the pressure and violence of settlers’ guards in their midst. Like his predecessor, who was pictured hand in hand with the settlers’ leader on the roof of a house that used to be Palestinian till the settlers came, the new commander seems to see the Palestinians in East Jerusalem as his target rather then those who deserve his services.
Instead of encouraging the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem to trust the police and rely on them in times of need, ceremonies such as these keep them excluded, confirming their fear that the Jerusalem police is actually the Settlers Police.