B’Tselem December newsletter
monthly newsletter from @BTselem in #Jerusalem
Recent months have seen many violent clashes in East Jerusalem. They began in July, after 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir of East Jerusalem was killed, and persisted as tension over the Temple Mount increased and settlers continued to take over houses in Palestinian neighborhoods. Locals have thrown stones, hurled Molotov cocktails, and shot firecrackers at Israeli civilians and security forces. Violence peaked in several brutal attacks by Palestinians, which killed nine Israelis. B’Tselem condemns these actions. They can have no possible justification.
Israeli authorities responded with violence, dispersing Palestinian protests with sponge rounds, teargas and the foul-smelling liquid dubbed The Skunk. Human rights organizations received many reports of police violence against residents. Entire neighborhoods, home to tens of thousands of residents, were closed off. Israeli officials made increasingly inflammatory statements as incidents carried on, and the media reported daily on “perfect, magic solutions” proposed by a host of key figures, including the mayor of Jerusalem, the prime minister, and MKs. Suggestions included demolishing the homes of Palestinians who perpetrate attacks against Israelis, revoking the Israeli residency of any Palestinian who lobs a Molotov cocktail, and cutting the social benefits of children convicted of stone-throwing. Some suggestions have already been implemented.
Some suggested measures harm innocent persons; others disproportionately and arbitrarily violate a person’s rights and deny due process. All are unlawful and all rely heavily on authorities’ willful disregard of the harsh reality in East Jerusalem – the outcome of decades of occupation, dispossession and discrimination – and its ramifications.
Needless to say, this reality in no way justifies the recent attacks against civilians in Jerusalem or their horrific consequences to life and limb. Yet choosing to disregard this state of affairs is unjust, immoral, and highly unlikely to stave off the next attack.