Palestinian Wounded by Firebomb Thrown at Israeli Police in Flashpoint Jerusalem Neighborhood

Police arrested eight people suspected of participating in clashes with security forces in Isawiyah

Palestinians throw stones during clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem's neighborhood of Issawiya, June 28, 2019.
Mahmoud Illean/AP

A 26-year-old Isawiyah resident was seriously wounded after locals hurled a firebomb at Israel Police officers operating in the East Jerusalem neighborhood overnight Monday.

The police arrested eight people suspected of hurling stones and firebombs, as well as firing firecrackers at security forces.

According to the police, dozens of policemen entered Isawiyah following a report that residents were hurling stones and firebombs toward the road leading from Jerusalem to the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim. Isawiyah residents rejected the police's version of events, saying that the residents only threw stones at police officers who entered the neighborhood.

One of the firebombs that were hurled towards security forces apparently hit the vehicle of Salam Darwish, seriously wounding him. 

Israel Police officers during operational activity in Isawiyah.

Police officers extracted the man from his car, which combusted after being hit by the firebomb, and transferred him to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem for medical attention, where he was anesthetized and resuscitated. One of the police officers who helped to remove the man from his car was lightly wounded and treated at the scene. 

The police said in a statement that "due to [recent] events, operational activity was launched in Isawiyah while dozens of lawbreakers caused disturbances by throwing stones and firing firecrackers at policemen and Border Police forces.

"Eight people suspected of hurling stones at the road leading [from Jerusalem] to Ma'ale Adumim and police forces were arrested," the police said.

Residents say police crackdown on neighborhood unjust

Over the past three months, police arrived at the neighborhood on a daily basis and carried out more than 350 arrests – although indictments were only filed against less than 10 Isawiyah residents.

Last week police officers in Isawiyah were caught on camera complaining that there was no purpose to an ongoing police operation in the neighborhood, highly criticized by community leaders, other than deliberately provoking the residents.

During the entire course of the summer, the Jerusalem District Police carried out daily wide-scale raids in Isawiyah, entering the East Jerusalem neighborhood in the afternoon on patrol, setting up roadblocks and stopping motorists and passersby for inspection and then going back in at night to arrest residents.

Isawiyah residents have been claiming for months that the purpose of the police operations in the neighborhood is to harass the residents and disrupt their lives as collective punishment and to apply pressure on them. Over a period of years, testimony has accumulated suggesting that the police in Jerusalem have acted to increase friction with residents of the neighborhood.

In Kan public television’s reality series “Jerusalem District,” one officer, Erez Hazan, who was in a scene in which a weapon was planted in the home of an Isawiyah neighborhood, is seen saying: “There’s a procedure that is beginning to be carried out. They’re beginning to apply a bit of pressure in entering and leaving [the neighborhood] to provide the option that someone would make some kind of mistake.”

After Haaretz reported that the gun had been planted at the home of Samar Sleiman, the Kan public broadcaster cancelled the series and all of the episodes of the series were removed from its website.