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From the field

Jerusalem Refugee Camp Under Siege

Testimonies given to B'Tselem indicate that security forces are treating residents of Shu'afat refugee camp, in East Jerusalem, violently and brutally. For the past ten days, the refugee camp has been the center of an extensive action whose objective, according to the Police, is to collect taxes and levies, check vehicles to determine if they meet relevant standards, arrest stone-throwers, and apprehend persons without permits to stay in Israel. The action includes, in part, brutal searches using dogs and causing substantial damage; violent arrests, including those of children; and illegal firing of weapons.

Clearly, enforcement of the law is not, in and of itself, unacceptable, However, an intensive operation directed against only one neighborhood of Jerusalem and lasting for such a long period of time severely affects its residents. As a result of the tension created in the camp, residents fear leaving their homes, many shops remain closed, and there is a shortage of basic commodities in the camp.

B'Tselem appealed to the Minister for Public Security, the Police Commissioner, and the Police Commander of the Jerusalem District to cease immediately the harm caused to the camp's residents, and to enable life there to return to normal.