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Israeli police target families of slain and incarcerated Palestinians in Jerusalem

Feb. 6, 2017 2:44 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2017 2:05 P.M.)
(Photo: Israeli police)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police detained at least 14 Palestinians and seized tens of thousands of dollars' worth of cash and property in large-scale overnights raids in occupied East Jerusalem, which targeted the families of Palestinians who were either slain or incarcerated after carrying out or allegedly carrying out attacks.

The massive raid came amid a surge in what rights groups have denounced as widespread collective punishment measures against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that the families were targeted for allegedly receiving support and financing from the Hamas movement, and that the raid was based on intelligence gathered by the Israeli general security service and police.

He said seven homes were raided and searched across East Jerusalem in Jabal al-Mukabbir, Ras al-Amud, al-Tur, and Shufat refugee camp.

According to Rosenfeld, one of the homes belonged the family of Ghassan Abu Jamal, shot dead alongside his cousin Uday after allegedly carrying out an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in 2014 that left four Israelis dead.

The Abu Jamal family, from the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, has repeatedly been targeted by police in the years following the attack. Their homes were punitively demolished in 2015, and just last month, Abu Jamal’s wife Nadia was detained.

During Sunday night’s raid, Israeli police detained Abu Jamal’s 71-year-old father, Muhammad Ali Abu Jamal, while Uday Abu Jamal’s 58-year-old father was summoned to appear at Israel’s Russian Compound interrogation center, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

The homes of Ramadan and Fahmy Mashahra were also raided. Rosenfeld said the two were serving sentences in Israeli prison for their alleged role in planning a 2002 suicide bombing in the illegal Israeli settlement of Gilo that left 19 Israelis dead.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that among the detained was 30-year-old Amr Mashahra, a cousin of the two prisoners.

Ayman Abbasi’s family home was also raided. The 17-year-old was shot dead by Israeli police during clashes in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.

During the raid of Silwan, Israeli police also detained former prisoner Imad Abbasi, 29, and Munir Hassan Abbasi, 40, according to Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

In Ras al-Amud, Israeli police also detained 45-year-old Tariq Abed Nabi Natsheh, the brother of slain Palestinian Hassan Nabi Natsheh, who Rosenfeld said was involved in the capture and killing of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman in 1994, in which his three captors were also killed.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Israeli police also detained Jamal al-Mansi Faraj, the father of 20-year-old Wissam Faraj who was shot dead by Israeli police during clashes in Shufat refugee camp in 2015.

Finally, the family of Imad Shaer was also targeted in al-Tur. According to Rosenfeld, Shaer is serving a prison sentence for planning and attempting a kidnapping in 2013. The Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) said Israeli police detained his 51-year-old mother Rabiha Shaer, his father Adnan al-Shaer, 55, and their sons Subhi, 28, and Mustafa, 23.

Rosenfeld said that the cash seized in the raid amounted to 200,000 shekels, (approximately $53,367), while checks, two vehicles, and a truck were also seized. Locals reported that Israeli forces also confiscated jewelry.

Following Nadia Abu Jamal’s detention last month, after which she was “deported,” or forcibly transferred, out of occupied East Jerusalem, rights groups Al‐Haq, Community Action Center (Al‐Quds University), BADIL, and Addameer issued a joint statement condemning “illegal collective punishment measures” by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and children in occupied East Jerusalem.

The joint statement said that the human rights organizations were “deeply concerned with the escalation of collective punishment measures against Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem by Israel,” particularly in Jabal al-Mukabbir in the wake of a deadly vehicular attack in January.

Israeli Interior Minister Arye Deri reacted to the attack by deciding to revoke the Jerusalem residency status of 13 of driver’s relatives, including his mother. "From now on anyone who plots, plans, or considers carrying out an attack will know that his family will pay a heavy price for his deed,” Deri said.

"Revocation of residency rights, forcible transfer of protected persons, and punitive home demolitions all constitute serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and feed into Israel's broader policies and practices of oppressing the protected population of occupied East Jerusalem,” the rights groups wrote.

The joint statement denounced Israel’s policy of collective punishment as “an effort to achieve a Jewish majority in the city and further consolidate Israel's control over occupied East Jerusalem,” and demanded that Israel be held accountable for its violations of international law.
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