There have been yet more shocking scenes of brutality from the Israeli military as troops invaded the Palestinian town of al-Issawiya in East Jerusalem. The operation saw tear gas fired at Palestinian civilians, the invasion and desecration of a local mosque and the abduction of an 8-year-old child.
Witnesses at the scene observed heavily armed troops entering the al-Arba’een mosque in Issawiya in their boots to “search for children”, the incident coming mere hours after the abduction of an 8-year old by troops in the town and reports of a second child abduction.
A roadblock was installed near the home of a deceased Palestinian and both searches and interrogations were carried out in the area.
The latest action in al-Issawiya comes after a similar invasion on Monday when troops severely beat one teenager and injured a second with a sound grenade. The beaten teenager was identified locally as Ahmed Abu Roumi who was beaten with rifles at a checkpoint installed in the town. The second was identified as Salem Musa Darwish who suffered from burns when hit by a sound grenade fired by the occupying Israeli forces.
Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has recently exposed police officers deliberately provoking and taunting the local Palestinian population in al-Issawiya, a flashpoint for Israeli invasions, clashes and home demolitions.
“Israeli police officers in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood of Isawiyah were caught on camera complaining that there was no purpose to an ongoing police operation in the neighbourhood, highly criticized by community leaders, other than deliberately provoking the residents. The video footage, which was seen by an Israeli court during a hearing on charges pressed against a resident for throwing stones, shows one policeman telling his colleague: ‘It’s really provoking them for nothing. Why do this on purpose?’”Nir Hasson, Ha’aretz
“During the entire course of the summer, the Jerusalem District Police carried out daily wide-scale raids in Isawiyah, entering the East Jerusalem neighbourhood in the afternoon on patrol, setting up roadblocks and stopping motorists and passersby for inspection and then going back in at night to arrest residents. More than 350 residents of Isawiyah have been arrested, including 11 in the early morning on Sunday, but charges were pressed only against about ten of them. Residents have claimed that the raids have been aimed at provoking them and that the police are seeking to spark violence. The residents also claim that there has been no stone-throwing in the neighbourhood before or during the raids other than at police forces that have entered Isawiyah.”– Nir Hasson, Ha’aretz
Residents in Isawiyah have been complaining for some time that operations in the town are designed for nothing more than disruption with police engaging in a deliberate series of provocations in order to ramp up tensions, deal out collective punishment and apply pressure to the community. Ha’aretz states that there is now years of testimony to back these claims.