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Jerusalem faces largest surge in arrests since 2nd Intifada
Published Wednesday 27/08/2014 (updated) 13/09/2014 14:14
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Israeli SWAT police members secure a street during clashes
with Palestinian protesters in the Shufat neighborhood in
Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, on July 3, 2014
(AFP/ Thomas Coex)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada, with a marked increase in Israeli police brutality and the collective punishment of entire neighborhoods, local organizations say.

The mass detentions began following widespread demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat after the murder of teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir on July 2.

Since then, over 770 Palestinians have been detained in East Jerusalem, according to Addameer prisoner rights group.

The arrests in Jerusalem took place parallel to a wide-reaching detention campaign in the West Bank, which saw between 800-1,000 Palestinians detained following the kidnapping of three Israeli youths on June 12.

Although the majority have been released, police brutality, the bail conditions set for detainees and a system of closures on Palestinian areas have made life difficult for individuals and whole neighborhoods alike.

Around 70 Palestinians detained are still in police custody, with many transferred to detention cells in Lod after the Russian Compound in Jerusalem reached full capacity.

"It's collective punishment for all Jerusalem residents," Mahmoud Qaraeen from the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan told Ma'an.

"The clashes and demonstrations following the killing of (Muhammad) Abu Khdeir made the police angry, and they imposed collective punishment on all of East Jerusalem."

Israeli police have regularly closed off the neighborhoods of Issawiya and Silwan during the campaign, preventing residents from entering or exiting. Even workers from electricity and water companies have not been granted access, Qareen says.

Over 90 percent of the arrests happen during the night and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports that most of the time Israeli police officers do not know who they are coming to arrest. "They are not knocking," Qareen says, "they break the doors and enter."

"They break into the house and ask the mother or father: "Where are your children?" If they say they are sleeping, they ask their names, then choose which one to arrest."

Three weeks ago Israeli forces raided the Abbasi family house and couldn't decide which young family members to detain, so took all three to the police station, Qareen says.

Once detainees are released they can face heavy fines and Addameer says that the majority of detainees, mostly young men, face months of house arrest or are banned from certain areas of East Jerusalem, sometimes the areas in which they live.

Qareen says the campaign is deliberately intended to keep the Palestinian community "quiet."

"They want to make us live like we are in a hotel, just eating and sleeping and doing nothing else. If anyone stands up to the occupation, they make us a criminal."

Israeli soldiers arrest a young man during clashes in the West Bank
village of Al-Ram on July 6, 2014 with people protesting against the
murder of a Palestinian teenager (AFP Abbas Momani)

Police brutality

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has documented multiple cases of police brutality during the arrest campaign, and have called for an immediate review of the policy of officers wearing ski-masks during detentions.

In one arrest on July 11, masked police officers possessing no identification tags broke into the home of a 22-year-old resident of Issawiya at 3 a.m. and vandalized the house.

In another arrest on July 16, around 20 masked and armed policemen jumped over a fence and burst into a home in Shufat without identifying themselves. The Israeli officers handcuffed a 21-year-old man and covered his eyes with a cloth tied around his head.

ACRI also documented an incident in which the daughter of a Palestinian family opened the door to a masked officer in East Jerusalem, and was rifle-butted without provocation.

"Without faces and names, policemen are simply a group of unidentified, unknown gunmen barging into homes in the middle of the night – a practice characteristic of tyrannical regimes," ACRI Attorney Yusef Karram said.

There has also been an unprecedented increase in the use of "Skunk" water in the weeks following the murder of Abu Khdeir, which is rarely used in East Jerusalem, but commonplace in the West Bank.

Ronit Sela, East Jerusalem project director for ACRI, told Ma'an that Skunk water was used on the second floor of commercial and residential buildings in densely populated areas like Saladin and Zahra Street during times when there were no riots, leaving behind a foul-smelling stench for days.

The group also documented the use of sponge-coated bullets in Shufat, with one resident losing an eye after being hit during protests and three journalists shot in the head and face despite being clearly marked as press.

Perhaps the starkest incident involving masked police officers was the beating of US-Palestinian teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir, whose assault was captured on camera on July 5.

"The result is intimidation. It is intimidating to have police in your house anyway but more intimidating when it is done by masked people. Using masked police against civilians is a common practice in regimes that choose to intimidate their societies," Sela said.

Gavan Kelly, Addameer's international advocacy coordinator, says that along with the use of masked officers, a notable difference in the recent arrest campaign is the lack of official arrest warrants.

"We expect it to continue, it still ongoing. How long it will continue for will depend, there is a lag in between the waves of arrests. They draw up lists and interrogate them, it is a continuous process."

Kelly says that the mass arrests are a way of punishing the escalation in demonstrations and protests following the murder of Abu Khdeir, and also in relation to events in the occupied West Bank and the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

Mass arrests are intended to have a "psychological impact not only on the individual, but also on the society as a whole," Kelly says.

"Israel thinks that they will be able to suppress resistance, but it has the opposite effect. It will encourage Palestinians to continue protesting."
1 ) cubby / USA
27/08/2014 11:57
Yes arrest them and show them how to live with the Jews in peace. The more they arrest , the more they show that this 130 years of colonials Zionist occupation will never win, Lets send them back to Europe, to join their Nazi brothers where they came from.

2 ) Amatussalaam / USA
27/08/2014 13:43
How can they expect peace and co existence after doing these type of things to Palestinians, May Allah protect the Palestinians, aameen

3 ) Tommy Tank / UK
27/08/2014 14:12
@1 cubby/ USA you may be misinformed about the demographic makeup of the Jewish State of Israel. Are you aware that 850,000 Jewish people were created by Islamic countries? And made refugees, they fled their homes and schools in Muslim countries, and were absorbed by the Jewish state, educated, clothed, received food and health care? That absorption, (or any absorption at all) has never happened to the Arabs who left their homes in the BMP, by the 57 Islamic countries throughout the world.

4 ) linda / australia
27/08/2014 14:14
what right do Israeli police have to go into Palestinian homes??? they need to get out of Palestine and Palestine needs to have its own army and its own police force. I bloody hate those Zionists pigs

5 ) Huma Lacey / United Kingdom
27/08/2014 14:32
I strongly believe politicians across the world have a responsibility to move isreali occupation out of Palastinian land because despite the "ceasefire " isreali forces whether police or military or settlers, they are still oppressing the Palastinians.

6 ) Tank Ki / EU
27/08/2014 14:55
#1 Cubby, I assume by 'send them back' you mean the Zionists. If so, how about sending them to Sangatte in France, I understand they have a well equipped immigrant camp there.

7 ) @ cubby-1 / USA too
27/08/2014 14:57
Let's both drop the fantasies, and get a grip on reality, and recognize that - Jews are no being "sent back to Europe to join their brother", than - Arabs are being sent back to Arabia, Jordan, Iraq to join their brothers !! And most importantly, such fantasies will just keep - The PA Areas A/B zones in financial & political stagnation, and - The Hamas held areas of Gaza in death and destruction !!!!

8 ) Khan / India
27/08/2014 15:30
The massacre and torture done by Zionists exposes their pschycological state of mind. THEY ARE AFRAID !! That's the fact. They are afraid, because they know they will be erased. They are desperate to suppress anything that opposes them.

9 ) Jeff / USA
27/08/2014 16:38
The Israelis, specifically right-wing Zionists, are horrible people. To think that stuff like this can happen openly is just sickening. I've been to Israel and throughout the West Bank on many occasions and have seen firsthand the criminal occupation going on and how Palestinians are treated. Israeli youth are educated/indoctrinated to grow up into hateful terrorists. This is what the IDF is, a terrorist group! Following in the footsteps of their horrible predecessors. Free Palestine!

10 ) @ Khan-7 / USA
27/08/2014 16:46
You seem ignorant or confused, and you have completely reversed Israel's & HAMAS' relative Fear ("AFRAID") positions, where - Israel tolerates it's internal opposition, and even allows them to serve in the government, while - Hamas feels so threatened that it murdered them (PLO) to sieze control of Gaza, and today still executes them (without trial) as "collaborators" !! Today the only reason that Israel strikes Gaza so hard it to deter future Hamas (typically harmless) war crimes !!

11 ) Mel / USA
27/08/2014 17:12
Israel doesn't give anything without taking MORE away! It's offensive in Gaza was complte(flattening Gaza & murdering MORE civilians than Cast Lead,&dropping MORE explosive tonnage than Hiroshima/Nagasaki)on a trapped area 15 mls long by 4.5 mls wide!Hamas claims a win but Israel's OCCUPATION remains.Israel now switches habitual,brutal,tactics to E/J &WB. Musical chairs to the'music'of occupation guns & expansionist bulldozers. Zionism is waning(in global support),but it'll keep KILLING.

12 ) Paul / Kenya
27/08/2014 17:31
Move all Palestinians from Gaza to West Bank. Let Israel have Gaza in return for similar exchange of lands for the Palestinians in West Bank. Make it one free Palestine living side by side with a free Israel. Make population exchanges same as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have done. Then finally live in peace.

13 ) Hitesh / Uk
27/08/2014 18:30
Jews in Arab countries were terrorised by Israeli agents to leave . The Zio israeli lies have been perpetuated for so long that everyone believes them . Because of that Israelis lack self introspection and empathy and are in a state of extreme paranoia which will eventually drive them all crazy

14 ) Melissa / South africa
27/08/2014 22:55
Long live Brave Palestine!!!

15 ) roman / usa
28/08/2014 00:52
jeff, you are ill anti-semite. you are blind and you are liar.

16 ) Tracy DSouza / Canada
28/08/2014 02:41
Every time I read things like this, inside I scream and want to run away. Then I think, I'm here in the safety and comfort of my home, as I read anything I want. So I stay, continue, and pass this information on to as many who listen and start to understand the untold horror of what happens to non Jews in Palestine. South Africa overthrew Apartheid... So too will Palestine. From the river to the Sea - finally justice we will see. Many support your overthrow effort, the numbers grow and grow!!!!!

17 ) red / USA
28/08/2014 05:28
Time for 3rd Intifada is at hand; the Jewish reich is reeling!

18 ) Andrew / Canada
28/08/2014 09:54
@13 Do you have any documentation for your absurd assumption in Ishmael's House.

19 ) s / i
28/08/2014 14:16

20 ) Kindle / Uk
28/08/2014 16:39
Oh well, when it's divided back into E Jerusalem in Palestine & W Jerusalem in Israel, there shouldn't be any problems with Israeli police brutality (except in Israel).

21 ) Maureen / Australia
28/08/2014 19:25
#15 roman How blind are you? Zio neocons in USA have been once again ramping up war world wide - Zionist Israel feels very self assured knowing it can get away with all manner of double standards.
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