In a report released today by B’Tselem, Israel’s maximum expansion has harsh consequences for Palestinians. Residents in al-'Esawiyah are treated as objects, targeted by police in a campaign of abuse and collective punishment”. Meanwhile, Israel’s new pro-annexation cabinet was sworn in.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The fate of al-'Esawiyah, a village near East Jerusalem, is an "extreme" example of Israel's policy towards the occupied Palestinian part of the holy city.
A report released today by B'Tselem, an Israeli NGO fighting the occupation, Palestinian residents are treated as objects according to the whim of Israeli authorities.
Israel’s goal is to “take over as much land as possible and expand its control, which include extreme poverty, unbearably crowded living conditions and planning chaos.”
Al-'Esawiyah is located on the eastern slopes of the Mount Scopus ridge. When it was under Jordanian control, it was demilitarised. In 2006, it had a population of 12,000.
Israel seized the area during the Six Day War of 1967, along with the rest of East Jerusalem. Today the area falls withing the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality, although its residents have the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.
On the eve Israel’s Jerusalem Day on Thursday, 53 years after Israeli rule was imposed on the eastern sector of the city, anti-occupation B'Tselem released a new report titled This is Jerusalem: Violence and Expropriation in al-'Esawiyah.
Over the past year, the area has become the scene of violence because of repeated actions by Israeli police. Since January 300 inhabitants have been injured in clashes with law enforcement. So far this month, more than 850 people have been arrested, most of whom minors.
According to the report, since 1967 Israel has expropriated 90 per cent of al-'Esawiyah's land, denying residents the opportunity of making a living from their land. The stolen land serves the Jewish public.
Over the years, the Municipality of Jerusalem has failed to draft a proper plan to allow residents to build homes and infrastructure; so, now, over half of the houses (approximately 2,000) were built illegally and are at constant risk of demolition or heavy fines.
This has been compounded by “a campaign of abuse and collective punishment” by Israel’s police forces who enter the area armed head to toe for the sole purpose of upsetting residents’ life with “vans, jeeps and drones and intentionally creat[ing] violent "friction" that disrupts routine” to “elicit reactions from local residents,” such a throwing stones, hurling Molotov cocktails and setting off firecrackers, which are then used to justify repression.
Experts warn that the situation will worsen if Israel’s new government carries out its annexation plans.
On Sunday, Israel’s new emergency cabinet was sworn in, setting the stage for a new administration under right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and centrist Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White alliance).
The new cabinet represents a record in terms of members (36 ministers and 15 deputy ministers) in the country's recent history.
Its agenda includes the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley (about a third of the West Bank) with US backing.