Border police officers in the A-Tur neighborhood of east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Twenty residents of a-Tur in east Jerusalem were detained as suspects involved in order disruption during overnight mass arrests that took place early on Wednesday morning as part of “Operation 700.”
As part of the operation, Israel Police have conducted mass arrests in the Arab neighborhood while municipality workers also cleaned up the area.
During the operation in the neighborhood located on the Mount of Olives, police raided the homes of the suspects to find evidence of their involvement in recent order disruptions.
Israel Police said that some of the suspects were involved in incidents where Molotov cocktails and rocks were thrown at police forces.
In a statement, police said that one of the detainees had an M1 Rifle illegally in his possession.
It added that this operation is meant “to deal firmly with anyone who is involved with criminal activity and terrorism on the one hand, while also improving the quality of life of the neighborhood law-abiding residents.”
All detainees were taken to the district police station and will later appear in court.
In the second phase of the operation, police and municipality workers removed piles of garbage and abandoned vehicles from the streets of the neighborhood, erected street signs that were missing, fixed traffic and streetlights and erased graffiti from walls.
This comes three weeks after a similar operation was carried out in the Isawiya neighborhood in north-eastern Jerusalem, in which 51 residents were arrested.
Jerusalem District police commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy said at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies conference last week that these operations are meant to create balance and show the residents of east Jerusalem that “those who’ve done wrong will be treated as such and those who’ve done good will be rewarded.”
Halevy said this was part of the implementation of a new strategy by the Jerusalem District Police to shift its power from only chasing the “bad guys” to also nurture the “good guys,” so they “can help the police help them.”
However, the police and municipality were criticized for providing services in east Jerusalem only when it comes to large-scale punishment.
Ir Amim researcher Aviv Tatarsky told The Jerusalem Post that this move of tying municipal services with mass-arrests is not only a wrong way of thinking but it’s also an arrogant attitude that’s shown to residents of east Jerusalem.
“They are entitled to receive proper garbage collection and other municipal services,” he said. “It is unthinkable that the mayor has linked providing basic services to the residents with sending armed forces in the middle of the night to a residential neighborhood.
“It clearly shows a patronizing attitude,” he added.