The Palestinian Authority is still waiting for permission from Israel to open a new police station in the neighborhood of Eizariya, east of Jerusalem.
“We still haven’t received permission to open the police station,” a PA security official said on Thursday. “We hope this matter will be resolved in the near future.”
The new station, called South East Jerusalem Police Station, belongs to the PA’s Jerusalem Suburbs District Police. It was supposed to serve Eizariya’s 20,000 residents, most of whom are east Jerusalem residents holding Israeli ID cards. Parts of the town are located in Area B of the West Bank, while other parts are located in Area C.
The new police station was originally supposed to open several weeks ago, but Israeli authorities informed the PA that the police station still hasn’t been approved.
“We were supposed to move into the new police station several weeks ago, but the Israeli authorities demanded that we delay the move,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “[Israeli] soldiers arrived at the scene and demanded that we remove the Palestinian flag from the entrance to the building and cover the signs.”
The official said that a Palestinian police station was already operating in the nearby neighborhood of Abu Dis.
“This station is too small, and we were hoping to transfer it to the new building, which is located on the main street of Eizariya,” the official said.
The new Palestinian police station is located a few kilometers away from the entrance to Ma’aleh Adumim, where the Israel Police have a station serving the residents there.
“There’s no reason why we should not be allowed to operate the police station in Eizariya,” the official added. “We already have similar police stations in a number of Palestinian villages that are located in Area B on the outskirts of Jerusalem.”
Eizariya is situated outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. However, the new Palestinian police station was apparently built in Area C, which, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, is under exclusive Israeli control. In recent years, Israel has permitted the PA to open police stations in some parts of Area B, which is under PA civilian control, but where security responsibility is in the hands of Israel.
“If we don’t receive permission, we may have to move the police station to another location in the town,” the PA official said. “We understand that the Israeli army is waiting for permission from the Israeli government regarding the new police station.”
Although Israeli authorities ordered the PA police to cover the signs posted on the police station, the wind recently blew away one of the sheets covering the big sign on the roof of the building.
In 2014, a Palestinian teen from Eizariya stabbed two Israeli shoppers at the Rami Levy supermarket in nearby Mishor Adumim.
In 2016 a mall security guard in Ma’aleh Adumim was attacked with an ax and severely injured by Saadi Ali Abu Hammad of Eizariya, who was an employee of the mall.
In 2018, Israeli security forces arrested a former senior Palestinian Authority security official near Eizariya for organizing anti-Israel protests.
In January, a female terrorist was killed after attempting to stab a security guard at the Za’ayem checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim.The Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this article.