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Human rights group demands that Israeli police remove barriers from Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights has submitted a legal notice to the competent Israeli authorities to lift all checkpoints imposed by the Israeli police at the entrances of all Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. In a statement issued on Sunday, the centre confirmed that it has sent a formal letter to the Israeli attorney general, the police chief, the minister of public security and the Jerusalem municipality through lawyer Mohammad Abbasi.

“The actions carried out by the Israeli authorities in the city of Jerusalem are collective punishment,” said Abbasi. “This contradicts local and international laws, and the Israeli Basic Law, which emphasises the importance of respect for human rights and personal freedom.”

The human rights lawyer added that more than 32 military checkpoints isolate eight Arab neighbourhoods in the city and impede the movement of more than 150,000 citizens who live there, including workers and school students. More seriously, he pointed out, they impede access to hospitals in Palestinian neighbourhoods, where there is a checkpoint in front of St. Joseph Hospital in the Shaikh Jarrah area, and another near the Red Crescent Hospital in Sawwanah, as well as near Al-Makassed and Al-Muttala’ Hospitals.

Abbasi pointed out that these barriers hamper the work of emergency ambulances. “Dozens of deaths have occurred in these neighbourhoods as a result of medical personnel being denied access in a timely manner.”

He stressed that there is a problem facing school students in Jerusalem neighbourhoods where Sawwanah barrier hinders the movement of 8,000 young people who attend eleven schools in Tur. These barriers, explained the lawyer, will increase the risk to their lives from the heavily-armed soldiers.

According to Abbasi, the notice from the human rights centre is a prelude to going to court to hold the Israeli authorities accountable for their actions.

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