Hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian activists demonstrated outside police headquarters in Jerusalem’s Russian Compound on Saturday night, December 7, calling for an end to nearly six months of daily police brutality and violence in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya. Among the demonstrators were Hadash MK Youssef Jabareen (Joint List) and several members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI).
The demonstrators proceeded to the beat of drums, holding aloft dozens of signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English with a variety of messages including, “Stop police brutality,” “Let Isawiya live,” “Being Palestinian is not a crime,” and “West Jerusalem, wake up!” They also chanted in unison a number of slogans such as “In the classrooms, in the streets, kids are taking beatings” and “Isawiya is asking to live in peace and quiet.”
For almost half a year, the Palestinian residents of Isawiya have endured daily violence at the hands of the Israeli Police. Large forces of Israel Border Police and Special Patrol Unit Police patrol the neighborhood day and night, in an organized, systematic campaign to turn the large neighborhood of about 15,000 residents in occupied East Jerusalem into a war zone.
In the streets, schools, and stores, the residents, including large numbers of children, are exposed to intense violence, sound grenades, teargas, roadblocks, and hundreds of arbitrary arrests, the vast majority of which end without indictments. Even in their homes, residents are not safe from violent nightly raids.
Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Leon gives the okay for the police rampages and publicly supports their activity. Towards the head of the municipality and the police the demonstrators expressed solidarity with the people of Isawiya and demanded an immediate end to the violent abuse and collective punishment perpetrated by “law-enforcement officers” and an end to police brutality and repression in East Jerusalem.