An Israeli NGO on Thursday stated that the Israeli police has escalated their abuse and collective punishment of Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-’Esawiyah despite the coronavirus crisis that requires everyone to take extreme social isolation measures.
B’Tselem said in its report that the Israeli border police and special patrol unit invade the Issawiyyeh neighborhood on a daily basis and even at night for no reason. Palestinians are usually targeted with sponge rounds, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades. They also carry out arrests against the residents, mostly children.
“The police abuse of Palestinians in al-’Esawiyah, by now a permanent feature of life in the neighborhood, is illegal and cannot be justified even under the usual routine of occupation”, B’Tselem stated. “Yet at this sensitive time, such conduct exposes residents to substantial, completely unnecessary health risks, as it encourages gatherings and forces arrested residents, including many minors, to leave home and be around strangers”, it added.
The report added that “the fact that Israeli authorities disregard the lives of al-’Esawiyah residents, including children and teens, is nothing new”, but escalating such practices during a pandemic is an especially appalling manifestation of this policy.