Israel operates a regime of control and violence across East Jerusalem. The Israeli army, police and settlers all play their part in the daily aggression against Palestinians, whose very existence in East Jerusalem is becoming increasingly precarious.
But this large-scale violence goes unreported in the mainstream Western media. PSC’s last update on East Jerusalem at the beginning of November – What the media won’t tell you about East Jerusalem – detailed Israel’s ethnic cleansing policies in the city.
Our new update details some of the violence East Jerusalem Palestinians have faced in November and December, all against a resounding media silence.
Violence against children
13 Nov: 11-year-old Saleh Samer Mahmoud is blinded in one eye after being shot in the face by a sponge bullet fired from a grenade launcher by Israeli police. Saleh is shot at close range in the neighbourhood of al-Isawiya.
14 Nov: 10-year-old Mayar Amran Twafic- al-Natsheh is shot in the face by a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired by Israeli soldiers, and left with a fractured skull. Soldiers open fire on the car she is travelling in near the Shufat refugee camp checkpoint, which is being driven by her grandfather. As Mayar lies in hospital, Israeli forces arrest her father.
19 Nov: Khader al-Ajlouni, 16, is seriously injured when he is pushed down a flight of stairs at an Israeli police station during interrogation. The boy, abducted in East Jerusalem, suffers injuries to his neck, arms and back and is left unable to move an arm and leg on one side.
Abduction of children
24 Nov: Israeli soldiers stop 10-year-old Rashid Abu Sarah in the neighbourhood of Silwan, take off his shirt, blindfold him and drive him away in an army jeep. Soldiers also fire stun grenades in the neighbourhood.
24 Nov: Israeli soldiers abduct five children in the Old City – Rashid ar-Resheq, Badawi Abu Asab and Nasser Shaweesh, all 16, and 17-year-old Fadi Salayma and Abboud al-Haddad.
7 Dec: Israeli police storm Jabal al-Mukabir neighbourhood during the night and abduct 14-year-old Ali Abdu and 15-year-old Munther Abdu. On the same night, 16-year-olds Hisam Dweik and Muhammad Mustafa are abducted from al-Isawiya neighbourhood.
10 Dec: 8-year-old Obeida Ayash is abducted by Israeli police in Silwan, shortly after leaving school, where he is in the eighth grade. He is questioned for up to an hour before being released. His mother says he has trouble sleeping in the nights following his arrest.
Children under house arrest
25 Nov: 15-year-old Othman (pictured) and his 16-year-old brother, Obaid, are abducted from their home in the Old City in a dawn raid. Othman suffers physical violence, is threatened with rape and interrogated before being released. He is now being kept under house arrest, and is subjected to twice-daily visits from Israeli soldiers at any time of the day. Obaid remains in detention. The brothers haven’t seen each other since the morning they were abducted. Defence for Children International (Palestine) documents the cases of Palestinian children held under house arrest by the occupation.
23 Nov: Israeli soldiers conduct night raids, abducting Mahmoud Abdullah Dari and Uday Auri in al-Isawiya, Zeid Abed Rabbo Khalayla, 22, and Omar Hasan Hijazi, 21, in Jabal al-Mukabir, and Hasan Samir Khalfawi, 18, from Silwan, and another teenager from the Old City.
24 Nov: Israeli soldiers break into a home in Jabal al-Mukabir and abduct the father, 50, and his 20-year-old son in a night raid.
25 Nov: In a dawn raid, Israeli soldiers break into the Silwan home of Adnan Gheith, the secretary of the Fatah movement, and kidnap him and his brother, Sadeq. Also during the early hours, soldiers break into and ransack homes in several East Jerusalem neighbourhoods and the Old City. Several Palestinians are handed military orders to attend interrogations. Azzam an-Natsha, 20, Siyam Mahmoud, and a third Palestinian are kidnapped during the raids.
1 Dec: Three family members – Ali Ibrahim al-‘Abbassi, 25, his uncle Khaled Ali al-‘Abbassi, and his relative Emad Mhanna, 27 – are abducted by soldiers as they attend the court hearing of another relative.
7 Dec: 19-year-old Mohammad Shwekat is abducted from his home in Jabal al-Mukabir during the night.
Army and police violence
20 Nov: 12 young men are injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, including one left with serious head injuries, during clashes in the neighbourhoods of Jabal al-Mukabir, Sur Bahir and al-Tur. Four others, hit in the head and face, are also hospitalised.
22 Nov: Thaer Yaghmour, a pharmacist in his 40’s, is left with a leg injury after Israeli forces fire a stun grenade at him in the neighbourhood of Shufat. The area was quiet at the time.
24 Nov: Israeli forces raid the homes of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal, who were shot dead after attacking and killing worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue. Soldiers fire tear gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at youth outside the homes in Jabal al-Mukabir. Later, demolition orders are issued on the two houses.
25 Nov: Human rights groups accuse Israel of operating a shoot to kill policy, following several incidents in which Palestinians suspected of attacking Israelis are shot dead with no attempt to arrest them.
26 Nov: An Israeli soldier shoots a young Palestinian man in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet, fracturing his skull, in the al-Tur neighbourhood. Separately, soldiers fire tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at mourners at a funeral in al-Tur, hitting Jasir Abu al-Hawa, 55, and his son, Ahmad, 18.
Violence, including settler violence
17 Nov: Yousef al-Ramoni, a Palestinian bus driver, is found hanging in his bus which is parked in a West Jerusalem depot. Photos show bruising on the 32-year-old’s chest and sides, and an initial autopsy report says he it is likely he was murdered.
17 Nov: A large mob of ultra-religious settlers surround the carriage of a light rail tram carrying Ahmed Ghazzawi, a medical student, and five young Palestinian women in West Jerusalem. The mob, breaking off from an anti-Arab rally which is hundreds strong, kick the train, throw stones and try to open the doors, shouting ‘Kill them, they’re Arabs.’ Ghazzawi said: ‘This is the situation we residents of Jerusalem live every day. Even worse than that, many have been killed in this way.’
18 Nov: Fadi Jalal Radwan, 22, is stabbed three times in the legs and once in the back by a gang of Israelis who ask him for a light as he walks in north Jerusalem. Radwan is left lying bleeding in the street.
18 Nov: Settlers spit on the family of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir as they leave the courthouse where those accused of killing him are being tried. Mohammed was abducted by settlers outside his home in Shufat in July, beaten with a metal pole, forced to drink petrol and set on fire.
20 Nov: Four Israeli women attack a Palestinian taxi driver with pepper spray, and another Palestinian says he was also attacked by a group of women in the centre of the city.
21 Nov: Three settlers beat 22-year-old Ahmad Yaqub al-Ghoul with iron bars and belts near the Old City, after forcing him and his friend from their car while it is stopped at traffic lights. Al-Ghoul is left unconscious.
21 Nov: A settler accelerates his car into 29-year-old Suzanne al-Kurd as she crosses the road to attend a mosque in Shufat. Al-Kurd is left lying in the street as the settler speeds off.
23 Nov: An Israeli woman breaks into a Palestinian home in Silwan and attacks 57-year-old Nima Abu Hadwan with pepper spray as she sleeps. Family members say Israeli police present in the area turned a blind eye to the attack.
24 Nov: Mahmoud Ubeid, 19, suffers injuries to his leg after being attacked by five settlers who pull over in a car and ask him for a light. The settlers are carrying knives and rods.
25 Nov: An Israeli driver deliberately runs into Palestinian teenager, Khalil al-Kiswani, in West Jerusalem, leaving the boy with fractures in his foot. The driver flees the scene.
1 Dec: Mohammed Shalayla, a taxi driver, is attacked with pepper spray when he stops to pick up a passenger in central Jerusalem. As he stops, a passer-by shouts ‘Don’t take that cab – the driver is Arab’, and Mohammed is sprayed in the face.
Worryingly, journalist Jonathan Cook writes on 27 Nov: ‘Israel is preparing to relax gun controls to allow thousands more Israeli Jews to carry weapons at a time when Palestinian taxi and bus drivers in Jerusalem say they are being regularly assaulted.’
Ha’aretz reports that there is roughly one violent attack on a Palestinian bus driver a day in Jerusalem, and lists details of some recent attacks. Since Yousef al-Ramoni was found hanged, 100 Palestinian bus drivers in Jerusalem have quit their jobs.
14 Nov: A police truck drives through the al-Tur neighbourhood spraying skunk water at four large schools. Skunk water is described as having the smell of faeces and rotting animal carcasses, and it clings to the objects it is sprayed on. The smell is so bad that day that 4,500 children have to stay away from school. Two videos filmed in East Jerusalem show the ‘skunk trucks’ driving slowly through neighbourhoods, spraying homes, streets, schools, the entire neighbourhood with their foul smell.
19 Nov: The family home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, which houses five children, is demolished in Silwan in a punitive demolition. In October, al-Shaludi drove his car into pedestrians at a tram stop, killing a baby and 22-year-old student. The family’s life savings disappear from the house during the demolition. Israeli police ransack seven other apartments in the same building, urinating inside one of them.
1 Dec: Israeli forces demolish a home under construction in al-Isawiya. Israeli special forces and police on horseback storm the neighbourhood before the demolition. A young man is hit in the abdomen with a rubber-coated bullet.
2 Dec: Israeli soldiers raid Shufat refugee camp and the Silwan neighbourhood. In Silwan, the army and officials from an Israeli water company cut off the water supply to several homes. The move is described by a local Palestinian official as ‘part of an ongoing collective punishment campaign against Palestinian Jerusalemites.’
3 Dec: UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator, James Rawley, calls for an end to punitive house demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Daily – Israeli police block the entrances to neighbourhoods with concrete blocks, residents are detained for hours at checkpoints, drivers are stopped, harassed and fined for non-existent offences. There is constant surveillance as army and police swamp and roam neighbourhoods day and night. Surveillance drones and helicopters observe from the air. Watch the video: ‘You don’t want us to breathe’ The author of the accompanying article asks: ‘Is it any wonder why people snap under these conditions?’
Further reading: A week in Jerusalem – What I saw is an apartheid system intended to make life so intolerable for its victims that they leave by John Fearey