As Israel imposed a siege on East Jerusalem, sealing off entire neighbourhoods, Issawiya emerged on Wednesday morning from another violent night of clashes and arrests – broken and battered, but unbowed, according to residents
During the night, Israeli security forces violently clamped down on Palestinians protesting after at least seven demonstrators were arrested, assaulted, and taken away for interrogation.
Residents told Al Jazeera that the East Jerusalem neighbourhood has paid a heavy price for “repeatedly defying Israel’s occupation”.
“Hundreds of youths [from Issawiya] have been arrested, 21 people have been shot, including the extrajudicial killing of Fadi Alloun,” said store owner Tarek Saad, 45, who was too afraid to give his real name or have his picture taken for security concerns.
“Homes have been trashed, windows broken, tear gas fired indiscriminately, and residents assaulted on a daily basis. Children are afraid to go to school. They hang around in the streets, and their grades have dropped,” Saad told Al Jazeera.
On Wednesday, Israel set up checkpoints at exits of Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem after the government approved tough “security” measures to enforce an iron-fist policy, incorporating collective punishment against Palestinians in a bid to stop their resistance.
Residents of Jerusalem’s old town told Al Jazeera the area has turned into “a war zone”.
Hundreds of extra Israeli soldiers and police have flooded East and West Jerusalem, to supplement the thousands already there, sealing off Palestinian neighbourhoods from Jewish neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem with ubiquitous checkpoints and roadblocks.
According to an Israeli police spokesman, 300 soldiers are involved in security measures under police command in Jerusalem. This is the first time that Israeli soldiers are being employed in Jerusalem to carry out security operations alongside Israeli police.
Al Jazeera witnessed police and soldiers, armed with automatic weapons, patrolling every light-rail station and many bus stations in areas bordering East and West Jerusalem.
West Jerusalem is mostly devoid of Palestinians, even of those who were employed in Israeli businesses. The few that venture into the Jewish side are stopped, searched, and questioned by Israeli security forces at gunpoint.