The Human Rights Group B’tselem issued a report that covers various aspects of Israel’s policy that have together created the harsh living conditions in the neighborhood. While this abusive policy is employed in other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Al-’Esawiyah is a particularly glaring example.
“Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, Israel has taken over more than 90% of al-’Esawiyah’s land using expropriation, declaration of “state land” and military seizure,” it stated.
According to the report a number of the land was annexed after a shortwhile after the occupation.
“In 1945, al-Esawiyah land spanned some 10,000 dunams – from the Mount Scopus ridge to the area of Khan al-Ahmar in the east. Today, residents have access to less than 1,000 dunams, locked in by Israeli institutes and neighborhoods – the Hebrew University, Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center, the neighborhoods of French Hill, and Tzameret Habira, military and police bases and roads. Most of this area is densely built, and there are hardly any land reserves for construction,” it said.
The absence of a proper outline plan has not made the real need for housing disappear. Left with no choice, many residents build homes without permits. More than half of the apartments in the neighborhood, upwards of 2,000, were built without a permit,” the report read.
B’tselem went on saying: “For more than a year now, the Israel Police has engaged in a violent campaign in al-’Esawiyah. Special Patrol Unit and Border Police forces regularly enter the neighborhood for no reason, without any prior occurrence that could justify police presence, much less the presence of aggressive paramilitary forces on such a large scale. Special Patrol Unit and Border police officers, armed from head to toe enter the neighborhood with vans, jeeps, and drones and intentionally create arbitrary instances of violent “friction” that disrupt routine and make daily life extremely difficult in the neighborhood.
Among other things, they randomly close off main streets, creating long traffic jams; use loudspeakers on patrol cars and police vehicles late at night; provoke residents by aiming weapons at them; conduct degrading inspections and search cars and bags (including children’s schoolbags); verbally goad residents; order shops to shut down for no apparent reason, without showing a warrant; use dogs to search shops; raid homes and search them without a warrant; and falsely arrest minors (sometimes in the middle of the night), in severe violation of their rights.”
According to the community leadership, from the beginning of the operation through January 2020, some 300 neighborhood residents have been injured as a result of the violent police activity.
Source: ASharq Al-Awsat