Palestinians walk near an opening in Israel's controversial barrier in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A peaceful protest against the blocking of a main road serving about 4,000 east Jerusalem residents as a policy of collective punishment was interrupted by the Israel Police on April 29, and then demonized by the Israeli media with stereotypical information about Palestinian protests. Israelis and Palestinian protested against the blocking of a main road in A Tur, east Jerusalem. Protesters were holding signs, chanting and banging drums. They spoke with one voice against the collective punishment being practiced against Jerusalemite Palestinians.
Salman al-Farisi Road was closed off with three massive concrete blocks after a 16-year-old A Tur resident – according to the Border Police – tried to stab one of them at a checkpoint and then was shot while attempting to flee on April 25. The road, as agreed with the Jerusalem Municipality, was closed with other cement blocks a long time ago in order to make it a one way road, by putting the three cements blocks the closure was completed. The road was totally obstructed, no vehicle can get in or out the road.
Protesters held signs in Hebrew and Arabic bearing slogans such as: “No to collective punishment,” “In east Jerusalem we want to live,” “Collective punishment = Racist excellence” and “Collective punishment, Apartheid state.”
The protest was interrupted by the arrival of Border Police reinforcements, who came armed with tear gas and riot control weapons, grabbed one of the protesters and started pushing the others. Then they made an attempt to disperse the demonstration with stun grenades and sound bombs.
After the protest was interrupted, protesters gathered again and asked the reason for the interruption. The police claimed the protesters were blocking the road – the road which was closed off with cement blocks two days before. The protesters then started chanting in Arabic, accompanied by the banging of drums, against occupation and settlements.
In the wake of the protest, the Israel Police twitter account published a tweet claiming the protesters were blocking streets and throwing stones.
One of the Israeli members of “Free Jerusalem,” a group of activists who are against the occupation in general and its expression in east Jerusalem in particular, when asked about the importance of joining this kind of protest, answered: “I feel bitter over the unnecessary violence which happened here, it’s a part of the ideology of the municipality which my tax money supports...using this tactics like blocking streets and shooting gas, it’s kind of an everyday thing and this is not something that I would like done with my tax money, not at all.”
He continued: “It is close to me, and when the Palestinians do something like this, which is obviously a nonviolent protest of people who have their own ideas, which they want to express, I think it is very important for their neighbors to come and join them.”
One of the A Tur resident protesters said: “If one kid threw a stone they punish the whole neighborhood.
We pay taxes to the Jerusalem Municipality and it don’t give us good services; they didn’t collect the trash containers on the road which has been closed for three days now. Nearby the road entrance there is an unnoticeable pedestrian crossing, the police charge everybody who parks there!” The writer is a law student at Birzeit University,peace activist and blogger who lives in East Jerusalem. He beleives in dialouge between Israelis and Palestinians and storytelling as a way to bring peace between both nations