Clashes and riots break out over the death of another Palestinian teen shot by Israel police.
Israel Police on Sunday threatened to destroy a memorial for murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive by several Israeli Jews on July 2, according to Tamar Fleishman, an Israeli activist who met with the Abu Khdeir family on Sunday. Mohammed’s father, Hussein, reportedly said police instructed him to dismantle it or they would.
According to Fleishman, Hussein told police that if they destroyed the memorial the entire family would return in the middle of the night and build a larger one in the middle of the street of their Shuafat neighborhood, on the tracks of the light rail.
+972 requested comment from the Jerusalem police who replied that it is a municipal matter.
The municipality responded that they are not familiar with the incident, did not send any of their inspectors and have no intention of destroying the memorial.
It has been just over two months since Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive. Since then, Palestinian residents of the area have been protesting and rioting in the biggest display of opposition to Israeli occupation in Jerusalem since the Second Intifada.
Israeli authorities have beefed up police presence and have been detaining large numbers of Palestinians on a nightly basis. According to the Addammeer prisoner rights group, over 770 Palestinian Jerusalemites were arrested in July and August, including roughly a dozen members of the Abu Kheir family. (Muhammed’s American cousin, Tarek, was famously filmed being severely beaten by Israeli police.) In addition, East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan and Issawiya have been regularly closed off by Jerusalem police effectively barring residents from entering and exiting freely.
On Sunday yet another Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Sunuqrut from Wadi Joz, a neighborhood just north of the Old City, died of wounds sustained when he was shot by Israel police at a protest last week. While Sunuqruut’s family alleges he was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet at close range, Jerusalem police claim he was shot in the leg with a sponge-tipped bullet, fell and hit his head. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
After his death was confirmed Sunday, riots intensified in East Jerusalem, with protesters reportedly throwing rocks and firebombs and riot police responding with rubber bullets. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the rioting and called for an even more heavy handed response.
Just a few days ago, the Jerusalem Local Building and Planning Committee approved 2,200 housing units for Palestinians in the Arav al-Swahara neighborhood of East Jerusalem. While this is considered a victory over the right-wing forces on the committee who had tried to block the move, Barkat’s comment made clear how he sees Jerusalem’s future: “The planning of neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem by the municipality is a clear expression of Israeli sovereignty over all parts of the city and strengthens the unity of Jerusalem.”
*This article was updated with a response from the Jerusalem Municipality.
Checkpoints and blood drives: East Jerusalem hospitals cope with clashes
Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, segregation and discrimination
VIDEO: Israeli police beat American teenager in E. Jerusalem