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UN: life in Issawiya ‘severely disrupted’ for two months by Israel ops

Israeli soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in the West Bank town of Hebron on June 16, 2014. [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]
Israeli soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in the West Bank town of Hebron on June 16, 2014. [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

Operations by Israeli occupation forces in Issawiya since June have “severely disrupted” the daily life of more than 18,000 Palestinians, according to a United Nations agency.

In its report UN OCHA said confrontations between local residents and Israeli forces have left one Palestinian killed and at least 137 injured, as of 21 August.

Just four Israeli police officers were injured over the same time period.

Israeli authorities have claimed that the police operations constitute “regular law enforcement activity”, in response to stone throwing by residents at Israeli vehicles. UN OCHA noted three such incidents which resulted in damage or injuries during the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, “human rights organizations have raised concern that given the purpose, intensity and modality of these operations, they may amount to collective punishment.”

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Israeli forces have pursued various tactics in Issawiya, including ad-hoc checkpoints “where most vehicles are stopped and searched, resulting in long queues and delays”. Many of these car searches “end in the issuance of penalties, commonly for minor infractions.”

During this period, UN OCHA reported, 218 residents have been arrested, including 53 children, although local reports have put the total figure at more than 300.

Those detained, according to the UN agency, included children as young as five years old.

Children growing up in Issawiya “face multiple problems and risks”, UN OCHA said, including “frequent encounters” with Israeli occupation forces, “which can result in arrest”.

Since the beginning of 2019, at least 92 children from Issawiya have been detained, a figure constituting 41 per cent of all child detentions recorded in occupied East Jerusalem.

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