Jerusalem Municipality denies report of ‘blacklisting’ Arab suspects in violent crime

ACRI demands immediate investigation by attorney general into allegations.

March 10, 2015 20:52
2 minute read.

A stone-thrower stands next to a tire set ablaze during clashes with police in Shuafat.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday denied the veracity of a Haaretz report alleging that City Hall is “blacklisting” hundreds of east Jerusalem Palestinians suspected of security offenses “beyond whatever criminal proceedings police can initiate.”

According to the article published earlier in the day, municipal employees have been investigating a list of “suspects and their relatives to see whether it’s possible, for instance, to demolish an illegally built house, collect unpaid municipal taxes or close an unlicensed business.”

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The list also allegedly includes the names and addresses of local Fatah leaders and their relatives, the report said.

Haaretz claimed to have obtained the list, which it said primarily includes the names of east Jerusalem residents arrested for participating in riots since last July. The article said the municipality has “carried out hundreds of enforcement activities against the people” on it.

Arab residents of east Jerusalem, it reported, “have complained for some time now that if any member of the family is arrested for rioting, other government agencies, including the municipality, the Interior Ministry and the National Insurance Institute, begin hounding the family – for instance, by demanding payment of debts.”

However, in a statement Tuesday afternoon, the municipality denied any illicit enforcement or “blacklisting” has been carried out against such offenders or their families.

“All operations are carried out strictly in accordance with the municipality’s legal authority and in accordance with the law... in coordination with the police,” the statement said.

Moreover, the municipality said residents of east Jerusalem have approached City Hall to complain about lack of enforcement against violent offenders, which it said “encourages urban criminal elements to take over private and public spaces and devastate the lives of the residents in the neighborhood.”

“Enforcement activities,” the statement continued, “are well welcomed by the public.”

In response to the allegations, ACRI, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, sent out a press release delineating purported abuses by the municipality, and demanded that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein open an investigation into the matter.

“If it is discovered that the facts described in the article are correct, then this is scandalous conduct by the police and City Hall, reflecting significant persecution and abuse of suspects and their families,” the statement said.

“In view of this, your involvement is required to clearly and urgently investigate the above claims.”

The statement added that criminal proceedings and disciplinary action must be “taken against those involved.”

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