East Jerusalem Palestinians Denied Basic Rights - by Stephen Lendman
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is the country's leading human and civil rights organization through litigation, legal advocacy, education and public outreach. Its new report is titled, "Unsafe Space: The Israeli Authorities' Failure to Protect Human Rights amid Settlements in East Jerusalem," explaining how Judaization harms basic Palestinian freedoms. In fact, the Israeli military, police, and hostile settlers deny them, ACRI saying:
Palestinians "complain of physical and verbal abuse (by police), settlers and their security guards; the intimidation of their children; various forms of harassment (including videotaping them in their homes); the barricading and closing off of streets and public areas; and more."
They also cite regular abuse, including stone throwing, vandalism, racial slurs, violence and more, all of which authorities ignore, "practic(ing) selective law enforcement and fail(ing) to provide even the most minimal protection to Palestinian locals."
They're also complicit in violating Palestinians rights, "employ(ing) physical and verbal violence and abuse against Palestinian residents." When they complain, they're treated with disdain and indifference.
Other abuses include discriminatory planning, zoning, construction, development, use of scarce area resources and more. "The state of human rights in (occupied) East Jerusalem is decidedly poor, especially as it relates to home demolitions," displacements, neighborhood incursions, arrests, mistreatment in detention, "lack of infrastructure, the severe shortage of schools, and inferior health and social services."
Occupation and settlement encroachments have had a devastating effect, their rights and way of life disrupted and denied.
Violence and Police Consent
In a politically charged environment, discriminatory racism results in threats, obscenities, garbage thrown at their doorsteps, pushing and shoving, quarrels, even violence and live fire. Yet police give no protection, taking no action against harassing settlers committing abuses and crimes. Inevitably, violence begets more of it, Palestinians like Saleh Dhiab saying numerous times Jewish worshipers praying at the tomb of Shimon ha-Tzadik (near where he lives) injured him, police unresponsive when he complained. Even when a thrown rock struck his father in the head, badly wounding him, they did nothing.
"Even when investigations have been opened, they have been neither thorough nor exhaustive, and in most cases they have been closed for 'lack of public interest (or) lack of evidence,' " even a severe incident against Ahmad Qarae'en. On September 11, 2009, he was badly wounded by gunshots to his legs, leaving him crippled for life. Although security cameras recorded everything, and many witnesses were available, police closed the investigation for "lack of evidence."
Other cases involve vandalism, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood one of many examples. In summer 2009, its children's playground was damaged and recreational equipment parts stolen. Nabil al-Kurd complained to police about settlers. No charges were filed.
Other instances involved vehicles vandalized, including tires slashed, windows smashed, and other damage. Police systematically do nothing even when Jewish offenders are known.
Always a Suspect
Often, Palestinians lodging complaints themselves become suspects, criminal files opened against them. Sheikh Jarrah resident Jad Hamad said he avoids police, fearing he'll be interrogated and arrested "for any number of reasons - we're the ones who are always suspect."
Other instances involve police obstructing even the official registering of complaints. Palestinians are told, among other reasons, that investigators are busy. None are available. Come back tomorrow, or the complaint makes no sense. Residents say police use these tactics to let settlers lodge charges against them, making them vulnerable to interrogations and arrests.
Silwan resident Tamr Qarae'en recalled a March 31, 2009 confrontation between settlers and Palestinian children. When he tried extracting his nephew from the scuffle, "dozens of security guards" beat him and his family.