vendredi 23 juin 2017

Israel's new 'security strategy' at Damascus Gate to further control Palestinian movement

Nouvelle «stratégie de sécurité» de l'entité sioniste à la porte de Damas pour contrôler davantage les déplacements palestiniens

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s Channel 2 website reported on Thursday that top Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, approved a new “security strategy” to be implemented at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

According to Channel 2, Netanyahu met with Israeli Public Security minister Gilad Erdan, Chief of Israeli Police Roni Alsheikh, and Chief of Israeli Police in Jerusalem Yoram Halevy, on Wednesday, where Halevy suggested a new surveillance and armed security strategy at the Gate, which serves as the entrance to the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

While Netanyahu allegedly suggested that the area be turned into a “sterile area,” according to Channel 2, that plan was turned town “as it will cause more difficulties” to the situation.

Channel 2 reported that the approved security strategy will include building high, above-ground “surveillance points” in areas where Israeli forces will be stationed, “making it difficult for Palestinians to approach Israeli soldiers.”

“Certain routes will be specified for entering the old city at the Damascus Gate, and more technological devices will be installed and used at the area to maintain Israeli police’s control and surveillance over the area."

Additionally, Channel 2 said that Palestinians will only be allowed to enter old city through Damascus Gate via specific routes, where Palestinians will undergo “thorough searches.”

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The announcement of the plans came less than a week after a deadly attack outside of Damascus Gate -- which has been the site of several violent attacks since a wave of unrest that began in October 2015 -- which left three Palestinian assailants and one Israeli policewoman dead.

In the hours and days following the attack, Israeli authorities enforced a strict crackdown on occupied East Jerusalem, with Palestinians saying they were subjected to “collective punishment” through road closures, arbitrary searches, and mass detentions.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli police were conducting physical searches on Palestinians, including women and children, and forcing holders of West Bank IDs to board special buses, which had been deployed across Jerusalem since the early hours of Saturday morning following the attack.

The “deportations” followed a decision from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to revoke family visitation permits issued to Palestinians to enter Jerusalem and Israel for Ramadan, as a punitive reaction to the attack. According to Israeli news site Haaretz, 250,000 Palestinians had their permits revoked.

Earlier this week, Israeli news daily Haaretz published a report, detailing the extensive network of surveillance cameras and “other monitoring devices” that the Israeli army has set up across the occupied Palestinian territory, boasting of the network’s effectiveness in “deterring attacks” on Israeli citizens and Israeli forces.

According to Haaretz, the army accelerated the program over the past year, with more than 1,700 surveillance cameras already installed on roads, intersections, and in illegal settlements across the West Bank.

Haaretz lauded the extensive surveillance system as being an active deterrent of “lone wolf attacks.”

However, the narrative of “lone wolf” assailants under the influence of online incitement, which has been perpetuated by the current right-wing Israeli government, has been dismissed by analysts as overly simplistic.

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the outbreak of violence that started in October 2015 and has largely been characterized by small-scale stabbing attacks against uniformed Israeli security forces.

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