At least 13 Palestinians under the age of 18 continue to be detained by the Israeli police in Jerusalem, after arrests in an Israeli police crackdown on Palestinians at the Damascus gate, according to a Palestinian lawyer.
Nasser Odeh said on Wednesday that the Israeli police arrested at least 22 Palestinian minors on Tuesday night.
Odeh told The New Arab that “some of the minors were released during the night upon conditions, and at the moment between 13 and 15 minors continue in the police custody”.
The legal status of the detained minors is unknown. Odeh explained that “under Israeli law they can spend anything between a day and a year, depending on the charges they face”.
"We have nowhere else to go"
One of the arrested minors is Sliman Abdu, 13, who remains in detention. His father, Nidal Abdu, attended his hearing at the Israeli court in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
"the police are accusing my 13-year-old son of throwing an iced-coffee can at their skunk-water tank, but it was the police who attacked people first”, affirming that “the skunk-tank was shooting skunk-water on everybody, including children,” he told The New Arab.
Palestinians had gathered on Tuesday night at the Damascus gate to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Mawlid - the birth of the Prophet Muhammad - shortly before the Israeli police began a forcible evacuation of the place, injuring 13 Palestinians and arresting more than 20.
Renad Sharabati, a local journalist, told The New Arab that the Israeli police have been clashing with Palestinian youngsters at the Damascus gate every day for weeks, always beginning with attempts to evacuate the public area by force, or with humiliating random searches”.
Sharabati pointed out that “young Palestinians have no public spaces available in Jerusalem, which is why they spend their time at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the alleys of the old city or at the Damascus gate”. She also indicated that “families are getting afraid to let their children out in the city because of the high chances of them being searched, arrested or beaten by the police”.
Nidal Abdu insisted that “arresting 15 kids the age of my son is meant to intimidate us, to push us away from the public spaces, from Al-Aqsa and the old city. But they won’t get it”, he added, “because we have nowhere else to go”.