EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah yesterday visited Al-Issawiya, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. The diplomats met residents and representatives of civil society organisations, and were briefed about unprecedented and continuous incursions and clashes observed in the neighbourhood since May 2019.
In Al-Issawiya, the EU Heads of Mission met residents, community representatives and representatives of civil society organisations active in the community. Interlocutors presented an unprecedented increased presence of Israeli security forces since May 2019, with daily incursions – many of them taking place in the vicinity of schools. One person was killed on 27 June 2019, and there are estimates that more than 300 have been injured. Interlocutors expressed that the raids have resulted in several severe incidents of police brutality and excessive force, including assaults on residents and use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades and night raids as well as arrests. They estimated that some 700 people have been arrested (with up to about 30 indictments filed). The EU Heads of Mission were also briefed on the educational situation and the challenges facing Palestinian students in Al-Issawiya.
“The European Union is concerned about the worrying developments and violence in Al-Issawiya. Responsible actors on the ground should show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation,” said the Acting European Union Representative Tomas Niklasson. “The EU and its Member States support the right to education, and the EU identified the Rights of the Child as a priority area in its EU Human Rights and Democracy Strategy for 2016-2020. Israel has an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of the child, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children,” he added.
The EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged: the legitimate aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.