Clashes in Issawiya 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Police arrested 51 men suspected of disrupting public order in a large-scale operation early Monday in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya.
During the action, dubbed “Operation 700,” police also checked business licenses and accompanied municipality construction workers to fix infrastructure and hazards in the east Jerusalem neighborhood.
Police searched suspects’ homes and collected evidence allegedly indicating that they took part in criminal activities or disruptions of public order, such as throwing rocks or firebombs at security forces.
Meanwhile, municipality workers collected garbage, removed hazards from roads, erased graffiti from walls and fixed streetlights. They also painted pedestrian crossings and sidewalks near schools.
According to Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy, the overnight exercise aimed to apprehend those involved in criminal and terrorist activities and improve the quality of life of the neighborhood’s law-abiding residents.
“The outcome of our complex operation can be seen on the ground by tightening the connection between law-abiding citizens and the police and by strengthening the sense of security among the city residents and its visitors,” police said in a statement.
Critics, however, said it operations such as this do more harm than good.
“Mass arrests in the middle of the night and hundreds of armed border policemen inside a residential neighborhood do not bring more safety to the residents of Jerusalem,” said Aviv Tatarsky, head of the left-wing NGO Ir Amim.
“Instead of understanding that this policy hurts Jerusalem and harms its residents, the Israeli authorities keep on using disproportional force that will only fuel the crisis in the long run.”
Last week, parents in Isawiya decided to strike and not send their children to schools because of the heavy Border Police presence adjacent to educational institutions, which they saw as provocative and leading to violence.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat reportedly had been scheduled to meet with the parents, but canceled the meeting.
The Jerusalem Municipality responded to that report saying it was “a small extremist minority who imposed the strike on the parents to fan the flames.”