Saturday, May 22, 2021

Another Siege?

 The Gaza Strip is often described as besieged as it is blockaded by land, sea and air by Israel.

A similar tactic is now being extended to the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem which was the centre of street protests and demonstrations against the eviction of Palestinians from their houses.

Israeli NGO Ir Amim said in a Wednesday statement for about two weeks Israeli police cordoned off the Kerem Al’ajoni section, or the eastern part of Sheikh Jarrah, where hundreds of Palestinians under threat of forced expulsion live. A heavy presence of police and paramilitary forces blocks access to the area, it said. 

“The closure of the neighbourhood is seen as an intentional brazen move by the Israeli authorities to suppress Palestinian mobilisation and deprive the residents of Sheikh Jarrah of the freedom of expression and the right to protest against their forced displacement,” it said.

Palestinian families are living inside “a cordoned-off military-like zone. They are subject to ongoing arbitrary harassment and aggressive police measures, marked by forced entry into homes and the use of stun grenades, skunk water, and rubber-tipped bullets against neighbourhood residents”.

 Israeli police have been preventing non-residents from entering the neighbourhood, which has been closed off. Palestinian residents have limited their movements and are mostly staying at home, since if they leave the neighbourhood Israeli authorities sometimes will not allow them to return, claiming they have orders it is a military zone. Jewish-Israeli settlers are allowed to move freely. Restrictions are not imposed on supporters of Jewish settlers living there,

Iskafi from one of the Palestinian families facing eviction, said, “They put three to four soldiers at the door of each of our houses to keep us locked inside. Whenever we tried to get out they said to us: ‘You stay inside or we will beat you.' 

Palestinian writer Mohammed el-Kurd from Sheikh Jarrah posted on Twitter a video and photos on Tuesday showing Israeli police spraying streets with “skunk water … an intense, chemically manipulated liquid that sticks on your skin for a week if it came in direct contact”.

Sheikh Jarrah is ‘under a siege,’ Palestinian residents say | Al-Aqsa Mosque News | Al Jazeera

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