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Israel Police escalate raid and arrests in Issawiya despite protests

Israeli police officers arrest a Palestinian youth Issawiya, Jerusalem, 4 January 2017 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
Israeli police officers arrest a Palestinian youth in Issawiya, Jerusalem, 4 January 2017 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israeli occupation forces have escalated their arrest raids in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, in the face of continued protests at months of violence and harassment, reported Haaretz. 

Yesterday, the paper reported, Israeli police officers arrested 12 Palestinian residents, including children, during a pre-dawn raid that followed on from a similar operation last week, which saw 15 arrested – all of whom were subsequently released.

Sources in Issawiya say that some 600 people have been arrested in total, since Israeli forces escalated their raids in the community around six months ago. Yet only a tiny number of those detained have been indicted for offenses like stone-throwing; just 20 so far, or three per cent.

“We’re fed up with arrests based on intelligence tips,” said lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud, who has represented many of the detainees. “Last week, many people were arrested and released. It’s a lottery system.”

READ: Jerusalemites protest against continuous Israel ‘aggression’

According to Haaretz, “the stepped-up enforcement campaign means that police are present in the neighbourhood in force almost every day, patrolling, setting up checkpoints and laying ambushes.” Then, in the evening, local youth confront the police leading to clashes.

On Sunday, Israeli forces raided the heart of Issawiya “just as students were leaving school”, in violation of “an understanding reached two weeks ago with school principals”.

On Saturday, meanwhile, dozens of Jewish Israelis demonstrated near the home of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon “to protest his failure to intervene in the confrontation”. Some city council members have also urged action from the authorities.

Laura Wharton and Yossi Havilio wrote to Jerusalem police chief Doron Yedid that “judging by the complaints we have received, it seems as if the police are ‘going after’ Issawiya residents and engaging in aggressive enforcement beyond the requisite vital needs”.

“Their claim is that police patrols in the village are increasing the friction between the police and the residents. This leads to additional police activity, which further inflames tempers, and so on.”

READ: Israel Police ‘severely escalate’ operation in Issawiya

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