On Thursday, November 7, the police violated an agreement reached just two days prior with the Al-Issawiya parents’ committee to ensure there would be no police presence in and around school grounds during children’s commutes to and from school. Despite written communication to the contrary, the police claimed no such agreement ever existed.
By Saturday night, November 9, the situation in Al-Issawiya reached a breaking point with an acute escalation in police provocation and violence as well as a stark increase in the number of forces who raided the neighborhood for no justifiable cause. According to Ir Amim field staff along with local residents and other Israeli activists on the ground, there were severe incidents of police brutality and excessive force, including unprovoked assault of residents and use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. Dozens were injured, including Muhammad Abu Hummus, a prominent community leader, and an eight-month year old infant who suffered from inhalation of tear gas inside his family’s home.
The ongoing siege of Al-Issawiya underscores a blatant abuse of power on the part of the police who have essentially been operating in the neighborhood since June with few restraints and minimal government oversight and intervention. Attempts by Al-Issawiya residents along with Israeli organizations to appeal to the Israeli authorities have yielded little success in ending these hostile police campaigns.
Al-Issawiya residents are therefore requesting a concerted international intervention to bring an immediate cessation of these oppressive measures and treatment leveled at this entire community in order to restore normative life to the neighborhood.