Police Remove Four East Jerusalem Barriers

Easing of tensions spurs removals, but about 20 of the new barriers, checkpoints remain.

Olivier Fitoussi

The Jerusalem police removed Wednesday four of the barriers between neighborhoods of west Jerusalem and East Jerusalem that were erected a few weeks ago in response to the rise in terror attacks, many of them carried out by Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

Concrete barriers were set up at all exits and entrances to Palestinian neighborhoods, leaving one manned checkpoint through which people could enter the western part of the city after being checked.

The closure policy has been eased somewhat over the past week, with the removal of some barriers in Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Joz, Isawiyah and Sur Baher. The barriers removed Wednesday were in Abu Tor, near schools in Jabal Mukkaber and between the neighborhoods of Umm Lisun and Armon Hanatziv. One barricade in Umm Lisun was replaced by a manned checkpoint.

Despite the easement, around 20 barriers remain, greatly inconveniencing residents in the eastern parts of the city. In mainly Palestinian neighborhoods that also have a Jewish settler presence — Ras al Amud, Silwan and Jabal Mukkaber — there are additional barriers dividing Palestinian areas.

“Based on operational assessments we hold routinely, together with other security agencies, we carefully examine the relevance of our tactical measures vis-à-vis potential threats. It was therefore decided to make some changes such as removing or relocating some of the barriers,” the Jerusalem police said in a statement announcing the removals.

“This was done so as to enable the resumption of a secure routine life. These changes depend on the attainment of stable security, which allows a more lax approach. Any change or escalation that endangers public security will force the police to use the various measures at its disposal against terrorists or fomenters of public disturbances and illegal activity,” the statement said.

In the past two weeks the number of terror attacks in the city has dropped, with only one stabbing last Friday. Palestinian neighborhoods and the Temple Mount have also become calmer.