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Israel Police violate agreement to reduce operations in Issawiya

Palestinian protesters hold placards in front of Israeli border police, during a demonstration at the east Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya, 12 November 2014. [Muammar Awad-Apaimages]
Palestinian protesters hold placards in front of Israeli border police, during a demonstration in Issawiya, Jerusalem on 12 November 2014 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

Israeli police have reneged on an agreement made with local residents and leaders in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, resuming aggressive raids in recent days.

According to human rights group Ir Amim, after “a modest drop in the police presence and altercations with area residents for approximately one week” at the beginning of the month, “hostile police incursions by para-military forces resumed September 7 for no apparent reason”.

Furthermore, Ir Amim added, since 12 September “[Israeli] paramilitary forces have been operating daily in the neighbourhood and have employed severe measures, including the use of stun grenades and tear gas in confined spaces.”

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

In one incident cited by the organisation, Israeli police fired tear gas adjacent to Issawiya’s main mosque during evening prayers, “injuring dozens of Muslim worshippers praying inside”.

Ir Amim also noted that the Israeli police’s investigation into the conduct of its officers, who planted a weapon in the home of an Issawiya resident, resulted in an affirmation that the individuals in question “bear no responsibility” and “acted in good faith”.

In August, after weeks of aggressive raids and operations by Israeli occupation forces in Issawiya, local residents and parents “announced they would refrain from sending their children to school due to the unsafe and hostile environment generated by the constant armed police presence”.

“Parents conditioned their children’s school attendance for the new academic year on the police halting its daily raids into the neighbourhood,” Ir Amim noted.

As a result of this pressure, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon agreed with the police that its activity would be reduced, and schools thus opened on 1 September.

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