As Ir Amim previously reported, the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Issawiya has been subject to severe police targeting and harassment for nearly two months now, marked by daily police raids and heavy restrictions on movement.
Following Ir Amim’s diplomatic field briefing to Al-Issawiya on July 31, high-ranking police officers, including the Jerusalem District Police Chief, informed neighborhood residents of their intent to halt the operations until at least the end of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al–Adha. According to residents, a reduction in police presence in Al-Issawiya was observed on Monday, August 5.
A Haaretz report on Tuesday, August 6, revealed that the Israel Police had planted a military-grade firearm in the home of one Al-Issawiya resident for the means of capturing footage for an Israeli docudrama about the Jerusalem Police called Jerusalem District. The popular TV series follows the activities and operations of the city's police forces, portraying the police as heroic figures fighting crime and terrorism while painting unfavorable and stereotypical images of particular communities, including the Palestinian and Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) populations. The footage of the police "discovering" the M-16 assault rifle in a Palestinian home in Al-Issawiya was aired on an episode just weeks prior to the start of the police raids into the neighborhood.
Following the Haaretz report, the police ultimately acknowledged the allegations and issued a formal apology. All of the show's episodes which were available online have subsequently been removed by Kan, Israel's public broadcasting corporation.
Directly after publication of the exposé, on Tuesday evening, however, the situation in Al-Issawiya deteriorated. There has been an acute intensification of police operations in the neighborhood, including hostile raids, restrictions on movement, imposition of roadblocks, clashes with residents and the arbitrary arrests of three young men.
Just four days ahead of the start of Eid al-Adha, the use of collective punishment employed against Al-Issawiya residents continues. An immediate cessation of these severe measures must be invoked in order for daily life in the neighborhood to return to normal.