Israel Police Arrest Dozens in Issawiya Raids, Termed an 'Intimidation Campaign' by Palestinian Residents

Flier disseminated in East Jerusalem neighborhood warns parents to keep children away from incitement which 'could lead to their death or arrest.' Police: Suspects in serious offenses were arrested.

Police arrest a Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem.
Olivier Fitoussi

A large contingent of police and tax inspectors has been sweeping the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah since Tuesday, making arrests and confiscating cars in what residents say is a campaign of intimidation and deterrence.

Over the past six months, many terror attacks have been perpetrated by Isawiyah residents.

In an unusual step, a proclamation in Arabic has been posted throughout Isawiyah urging parents to keep track of their children. The leaflet is signed by “Captain Sabri,” who is in charge of security for that area.

“The village has recently been under a wave of serious incitement spearheaded by the Hamas movement in order to influence your children and incite them to perpetrate attacks and disturb the peace and interfere with the security forces, which could lead, heaven forbid, to their death or arrest,” the leaflet said.

“Harsh steps have recently been taken against village residents, like sealing the house of Fadi Alloun, deporting the Abu Rajab family to the West Bank and arresting a village resident named Mohannad Mahmoud for 11 months because of his activity on social media.”

Alloun stabbed an Israeli teenager in October. Fuad Abu Rajab shot and seriously wounded two policemen in March.

“Upon examination, it turns out there are other young people in the village who have joined together like bats, who incite and call for separatism in order to undermine the village’s stability,” the leaflet continued.

“I urge and encourage you, dear parents, to monitor your children’s conduct and monitor their Facebook account and prevent them from watching the Al-Aqsa channel and its content, which incites to violence.” Al-Aqsa is Hamas’ television station.

Sabri concluded by saying that he “works day and night ... to ensure the well-being of both Jewish and Arab residents and prevent bloodshed.”

Isawiyah residents said the leaflet was accompanied by a large-scale police operation that resulted in many arrests and a major tax-collection operation that resulted in the confiscation of many residents’ cars.

“This is an attempt to intimidate the village and its residents and show who’s in control; there is no other explanation,” said Mohammed Abu al-Homs, a member of Isawiyah’s local council. He said that aside from those arrested, who included some minors, police had summoned “dozens of people” for questioning.

The Jerusalem police said the Isawiyah operation was planned based on case files, efforts to map out crime, and intelligence gathering. The goal is to arrest people suspected of serious crimes like involvement in terror or illegal weapons possession, and who therefore constitute a danger to the public.

The police said that so far, 31 people had been arrested and 18 summoned for questioning. In addition, Palestinians who were in Jerusalem illegally have been deported to the West Bank and those suspected of housing them have been summoned for questioning.

During the sweep, a pipe bomb went off near the Isawiyah mosque but caused no casualties, the police added.