Schools Close in East Jerusalem Neighborhood to Protest Presence of Israeli Border Police

Parents say the policemen are deliberately deploying near schools to provoke disturbances

A 13-year-old Palestinian wounded by a sponge-tipped bullet in Isawiyah, East Jerusalem, July 2017.
Emil Salman

The parents’ committee in Isawiyah is suspending studies in the East Jerusalem neighborhood until further notice to protest the presence of Israel’s Border Police there during school hours.

On Sunday, four students were injured in clashes with the Border Police in the neighborhood.

Parents say that in recent days members of the Border Police have been entering the village every day at noon as children leave school, and that the policemen deliberately deploy near schools to provoke disturbances.

Several children were injured Monday by rubber-coated and sponge-tipped bullets, as well as by stun grenades, after students threw stones at the police.

One child was taken for treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem after being hit in the torso by a sponge-tipped bullet. His condition is not serious. Others were hurt by a stun grenade that landed near them.

“The smaller children are afraid of the policemen, who are here to provoke,” said Darwish Darwish, a member of the Isawiyah council. “We’ll suspend all studies tomorrow, and 4,300 children will not go to school.”

Recent days have seen increased violence in East Jerusalem, including clashes between young Palestinians in Isawiyah and the A-Tur neighborhood. A young Palestinian from A-Tur was injured Monday after trying to throw a firebomb at police. He received medical care and was later arrested. Last Thursday, a rock was thrown at a light rail train in the Shoafat area, but no damage was caused.

“Sending armed forces to operate amid civilians is a recipe for deterioration and seriously harms innocent residents,” said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at the Ir Amim nonprofit group.

According to the police, “over the recent period there have been violent disturbances in Isawiyah in which stones and firebombs haven been thrown at innocent passengers traveling on the Ma’aleh Adumim road and at security forces. Policemen were injured by stones and some required medical attention. In some cases, people causing the disturbance were spotted throwing stones from schools, and in other cases people fled to schools.

“Policemen and other forces operating in the village prevent disturbances and injuries to residents. The criticism should be directed inward at leaders and educators in the village who aren’t sufficiently striving to condemn and prevent the involvement of youths and young people in these serious transgressions.”