Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians — including five minors — from across occupied East Jerusalem during predawn raids Sunday, amid a widespread crackdown on Palestinians in the city over the Jewish high holiday season, as Israeli authorities also shut down crossings in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces, accompanied by a helicopter flying overhead, raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Issawiya, Jabal al-Mukabbir, and the Shufat refugee camp, where they ransacked several homes and detained 20 “youths.”
Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of Addameer identified the detainees as detained Ziyad Tariq Nasser, Amir Ziyad Zaydani, Luay Khader al-Rajabi, Majdi Fawwaz Abu Tayih, Karim Ishaq Abu Tayih, Muslim Odeh, Ayman Abu Tayih, Mahir Samer Sarhan, Ali Marwan Shuyukhi, Rabi Nidal Ghayth, Diya Jarrah Abu Riyalah, Abdallah Abu Khati, Mustafa Asilah, Muhammad Issa Atiyah, Ahmad Khalid Uwaysat, Muhammad Khalid Uwaysat, Amir Uwaysat, Muhammad Naim Bayya, Yusif Sabir Abu Shukhaydin and Jawad Mazaru. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the raids were carried out to “improve the living conditions and protect calm and stability,” confirming that the detention campaign was carried out in Silwan, Jabal al-Mukabir, Issawiyah, and Shufat refugee camp, but said only 19 suspects were detained.
She said that Israeli police and border guard officers arrested suspects over their alleged involvement “in disorderly conduct during the last period throughout Jerusalem and especially on Yom Kippur,” which included five minors suspected of “throwing rocks and firebombs at passersby in their cars and against security forces, setting fire to tires, closing roads, and other offences.”
“This is part of a series of various targeted operations carried out by the police that were meticulously planned, in order to bring those involved to justice with no bias,” al-Samri said.The past week has seen an increase in such operations across Jerusalem, with heightening tensions surrounding occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City over the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, as well as the holidays of Yom Yippur and Rosh Hashanah earlier this month.According to Ma’an documentation, in the duration of the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot which began on Oct. 16, at least 64 Palestinians were detained under various circumstances — particularly a number of youth and minors for alleged rock throwing — from occupied East Jerusalem and the larger Jerusalem district.
Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, “93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.”
Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing a law last year setting sentences of up to 20 years in prison for stone throwing if intent to harm could be proven, and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.
According to an Israeli army spokesperson, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians during overnight raids in the occupied West Bank — one in Azzun in the Qalqiliya district, and another in al-Fahsim in the Jordan Valley.
Meanwhile, al-Samri announced in a statement Saturday evening that as the Sukkot holiday comes to an end on Sunday, and in anticipation of the Simchat Torah holiday beginning on Monday, the Israeli government will be imposing a “general closure” on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“All Gaza (and West Bank) crossings will be closed starting at 23:59 Saturday,” the statement said, adding that during the closures, only “humanitarian cases, medical treatment cases, and exceptional cases” would be allowed to cross into Israel “on condition of approval by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).”According to the statement, the closures are expected to be lifted on Monday at midnight.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The tensions around Al-Aqsa and the Old City were a main contributor to increasing unrest that began last October, after right-wing Israelis made frequent visits to the site during the Jewish high holiday season this time last year.
Israeli authorities previously shut down passage between the occupied West Bank and Israel, as well as between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israel for Sukkot, as they had also done for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur earlier this month.