ACRI: Authorities Side with Settler Groups in East Jerusalem

In-depth report finds law-enforcement authorities are failing to protect Palestinian residents’ rights in high-tension neighborhoods

“Unsafe Space: The Israeli Authorities’ Failure to Protect Human Rights amid Settlements in East Jerusalem”, a new report by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), draws attention to an alarming reality that is taking hold in East Jerusalem: The authorities have sided with well-organized political groups, whose purpose is to “Judaize” Palestinian areas of Jerusalem and especially the Old City and its environs. The result is that Palestinian residents of the city are increasingly subject to hostility and violence, and their rights and needs are disregarded and violated.

Among the report’s findings:
• Security guards employed by the Housing Ministry, serving as a private police force for Jewish settlers and costing tax-payers 54 million shekel in 2010 alone, are increasingly using force and violence against Palestinians
• Palestinians who file complaints against Jewish settlers find themselves treated as suspects and arrested
• Cases where the perpetrators of violence were Jews are closed for lack of evidence or public interest, even when live ammunition was fired and Palestinians suffered severe injuries
• Teenagers and children as young as 12 are taken in the middle of the night to the Police Station and interrogated by officers who are not qualified to investigate minors, in violation of Police procedures
• Palestinians suffer from surveillance cameras directed into their private homes
• Restrictions on freedom of movement are selectively applied on Palestinian residents in their own neighborhoods
• Despite the dire shortage in Palestinian neighborhoods of schools, playgrounds, and medical centers, the Jerusalem Municipality and Nature and Parks Authority have given over the control of the few vacant lots remaining to political settler groups, thus barring Palestinians from accessing and using them

Attorney Nisreen Alyan: “Human rights in Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods of East Jerusalem are at an all-time low as a result of the authorities’ policy to side with settler groups. The level of tension and violence is on the rise, but the police are not providing Palestinians with the protection they need and deserve. Law enforcement is selective and the interests of settlers are routinely given priority. We call on the authorities to urgently act and bring about a much-needed policy change, which would safeguard the lives and rights of all Jerusalem residents”.

To read the full report:
Photos are also available.

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Planning and Building Rights, Police and Security Guards, The Occupied Territories

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