Israeli authorities have agreed to reduce the heavy police presence in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, after a months-long operation characterised by collective punishment and violence.
According to a report in Haaretz, the agreement between the Israeli police, Jerusalem municipality, and local residents, will see a reduced presence of Israeli forces in the community and the release of two detainees, while Issawiya residents have cancelled the school strike scheduled for today.
The deal came in response to an announcement by Issawiya’s parents’ committee last week that their children would not be sent to school on the first day of the school year as a protest against the police’s collective punishment of local residents.
Following a meeting with the Israel Police commander for the Jerusalem district, however, police agreed to “partially reduce” its forces in Issawiya as well as committing to keep forces “away from school zones during school hours”, reported Haaretz.
According to residents, “in the past couple days, they can already feel a reduced police presence in the area.”
Police also released two detained members of the parents’ committee, who were arrested last week on suspicion of pressuring the heads of local schools not to start the school year.
Since early June, Israeli forces have targeted Issawiya with roadblocks, patrols, ambushes, house raids, and arrest campaigns. More than 340 residents have been arrested, but only five indictments issued, “for stone-throwing”.