Acting Police Chief: Jewish, Arab Inciters Banned From J'lm, Other Areas

There is no need to impose collective punishment on East Jerusalem residents, Bentzi Sau also tells Knesset Interior C'tee.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Acting police chief Sau and, to his right, Minister Erdan, at the Western Wall in July 2015.
Acting police chief Sau and, to his right, Minister Erdan, at the Western Wall in July 2015.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Israel Police has imposed severe restrictions on the movement of dozens of Jews and Arabs who are thought to be a threat to public order, acting national police commissioner Bentzi Sau told a special session of the Knesset Interior Committee on Tuesday.

“We have identified 54 Jewish Israelis in Judea and Samaria who are endangering the public order, and they have been barred from a number of localities" in Israel, Sau told the MKs. "The same model has been applied to 62 (Muslim) youths who were identified as causing incitement on the Temple Mount.”

In addition, he continued, “We have identified a group of women that is being paid to go to the Temple Mount and commit provocative acts. This group has been barred from the Old City."

It was also revealed at the session, called to discuss the steps the police are taking to deal with mounting violence in Jerusalem, that more than half of the suspects arrested in the city in recent weeks have been minors; some are 12 years old or even younger.

Sau told committee members that the police are now concentrating on what they call pinpoint arrests in accordance with specific intelligence, so as to avoid impacting the daily life of the greater Arab population.

“There is no reason for collective punishment," he said. "We don’t want to close those areas off with checkpoints and limit the freedom of movement of East Jerusalem's Arabs."

Moreover, the acting police chief added, "We’ve formed a joint intelligence desk of the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police. When you have intelligence you can quietly make arrests and reduce the aggressive use of forces."

The acting police commissioner also noted that beefing up the forces in Jerusalem comes at a cost: “More than 2,000 police officers are being used as reinforcements in Jerusalem. This carries risks too. It affects the Israel Police’s level of service in other cities. By the end of the week, we’ll have called up 16 reserve companies of Border Police in Jerusalem.”

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan said at the session that, “This wave of terror did not erupt out of nowhere. When we look back over the years, enforcement in Jerusalem was about containing events – not about going on the offensive. Two police stations in East Jerusalem were closed. I assume there were good intentions behind this but perhaps there was a failure to identify the trends of greater extremism that are evident throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing them here today.”

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