In response to recent events in East Jerusalem, various Israeli officials have recently made media statements about the measures they think should be taken to “ensure order in the city.” Some of these measures have been implemented: The Jerusalem Municipality has ramped up municipal law enforcement only in East Jerusalem, including for violations previously not enforced; the police has closed off East Jerusalem neighborhoods for days at a time, placing various limits on residents’ freedom of movement there; the police has also placed checkpoints in East Jerusalem only, and has stopped and ticketed residents for a long list of violations of laws which previously went unenforced, and remain so in other parts of the city.
According to B’Tselem: “These measures, and many others implemented in the past weeks, constitute a selective enforcement of laws and regulations in order to pressure a population that already suffers from a severe shortage of infrastructure, housing, public services like schools and clinics for infants, and recreational areas. Since 1967, although Israel annexed East Jerusalem, the authorities have implemented a declared policy of discrimination there, including steps taken to reduce the number of Palestinian residents in the city and increase the number of Jewish residents. These are all aspects of the reality of occupation, under which Palestinians in East Jerusalem have been living for almost fifty years.”
Almost all the measures currently being taken by Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem involve harming persons not involved in stone-throwing or in other incidents; the explicit aim being to pressure all Palestinian residents in the area to restrain those among them who do participate in such activities. Israel has used this method before, in other places. It is an unlawful and immoral approach that both ignores the existing reality of discrimination and violation of human rights in East Jerusalem, and uses increasingly forceful measures against that population.
A spokesperson for the Jerusalem branch of the Communist Party of Israel has stated: “The draconian measures currently being taken against Palestinians in East Jerusalem amount to collective punishment of a population that lives under occupation and already suffers systematic discrimination.”