Israeli police officers were caught on camera in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, admitting that the persistent and violent raids on the community were designed only to provoke residents.
According to Haaretz, the video footage was played in an Israeli court, during the prosecution of one Palestinian resident for throwing stones.
During the summer, Israeli occupation forces conducted daily raids in Issawiya, harassing its population, arresting people in their homes, and using violence in confrontations with residents. Overall, some 350 Palestinians in Issawiya have been arrested, but charges pressed against just ten.
The video footage in question was filmed in April – just prior to the police stepping up their raids – and recorded on a body camera worn by one of the police officers patrolling the neighbourhood.
“Repeatedly one or another of the officers is seen raising his weapon as if purportedly aiming it residents seen in the background,” reported Haaretz.
The officers are heard discussing the purpose of the operations in Issawiya, with one remarking: “This is really provoking them for nothing.” A second officer agrees. The first officer subsequently asks: “Why do this on purpose?” The second one replies: “Our policy is screwed up from the outset.”
The first officer then comments: “Let them live. You’re provoking them here for nothing.”
A few minutes later, the first officer addresses a third officer. “I have a question for you. Isn’t what we’re doing here causing more problems?” The third officer replies: “That’s the goal,” to which the first asked: “Causing more problems?” The second officer replies in the affirmative.
The video was shown during a hearing at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where Issawiya resident Abdallah Mustafa was charged with throwing three stones at police on the day the video was filmed.
The prosecutor claimed that the police officers had “a slip of the tongue”, and the judge sentenced Mustafa to seven and a half months in prison.
The Haaretz report noted that in 2017, “the police brought a busload of police to the neighbourhood dressed as soldiers to provoke stone throwing and then to catch the perpetrators”, with one child caught in the operation “sentenced to 19 months in detention”.