Israel metes out mass punishment after stabbing
JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities continued to enforce a strict crackdown on occupied East Jerusalem yesterday following a deadly attack in front of the Old City on Friday night, with Palestinians saying they have been subjected to “collective punishment” through road closures, arbitrary searches and mass detentions.
Witnesses said Israeli police have been conducting physical searches on Palestinians, including women and children, and forcing holders of West Bank IDs to board special buses that have been deployed across Jerusalem since the early hours of Saturday morning.
Over the course of Saturday, 350 Palestinians with West Bank IDs were rounded up, detained, and sent back to the occupied West Bank on the police-marked buses, according to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri.
The “deportations” followed a decision from the Israeli prime minister to revoke family visitation permits issued to Palestinians to enter Jerusalem and Israel for Ramadaan, as a punitive reaction to the attack, in which three Palestinian assailants were shot dead and one Israeli policewoman was fatally stabbed.
Israeli news site Haaretz said 250 000 Palestinians had their permits revoked. “I am from Bethlehem. An Israeli soldier stopped me while I was passing Damascus Gate, searched me, and held me until a bus came. I was forced to get on and leave the city,” a Palestinian youth said. Al-Samri said the justification for rescinding the permits was that the three slain Palestinian assailants were from the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, but said they had entered Jerusalem “illegally” – without having such permits.
Streets around the Old City, namely al-Misrara street, Salah al-Din street, and Sultan Suleiman street – where the combined shooting and stabbing attack occurred – were also closed to traffic, with both private vehicles and public transit being denied entry.
The security measures are expected to remain in force until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadaan near the end of June.
Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem said they were being subjected to “collective punishment”. They also said that they were being threatened and harassed by Israeli police.
One merchant highlighted that Israeli authorities were also restricting public buses from reaching certain bus stops, forcing locals to walk long distances.
Israeli border police arrest a Palestinian during clashes in the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mash’al near Ramallah. Israel security forces raided the village after an attack in Jerusalem killed a policewoman. The three Palestinians who attacked her and were killed were from the village.