Israel arrests Palestinians in Jerusalem 'for playing with snow'

Israel arrests Palestinians in Jerusalem 'for playing with snow'
Israeli forces have stepped up their arrests of Palestinians during this week's bitterly cold weather in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
2 min read
West Bank
28 January, 2022
In the past three days, Israel has arrested 54 Palestinians in Jerusalem [Getty]

Israeli forces have stepped up their arrests of Palestinians during this week's uncharacteristically wintry weather in and around Jerusalem, local detainee affairs experts have told The New Arab.

Fifty-four Palestinians have been arrested in Jerusalem in the past three days, said Ameen Shouman, head of the Palestinian higher commission for prisoners and detainees affairs.

Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesperson for the detainees' families committee in Jerusalem, told The New Arab that “the arrests happened in several locations across Jerusalem, mostly of Palestinians who gathered to play with snow.”

In the Al-Tour neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israeli police attempted to disperse Palestinians by force, leading to clashes, according to Abu Asab.

"Young Palestinians threw snowballs and stones at the Israeli police, leading to 14 arrests," he said.

"Israeli police arrested six minors aged between 16 and 18 in Beit Safafa neighborhood, and two more in the town of Issawiyah,” he added.

Palestinian media also reported that Israeli police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters in Issawiya.

Most of the detained Palestinians were released in the following hours, while five have had their detention extended, Abu Asab said.

Israeli police said in a statement that it had arrested 22 Palestinians on Thursday, for "attacking police personnel".

The police will continue to arrest those who "disturb order", the statement said.

The dispersal of Palestinians from Jerusalem's public spaces is a commonly used tactic by Israeli police, Madhat Dibeh, a lawyer representing Palestinians in Israeli courts in Jerusalem, told The New Arab.

“Israeli authorities tend to empty public spaces from Palestinians, like the Damascus Gate and Al-Aqsa surroundings, especially when settlers are about to come out”, Dibeh said.

In October, Israeli police forcibly dispersed Palestinian families celebrating the Muslim Mawlid holiday near Damascus Gate, arresting dozens of Palestinian youth in the following hours.

In April, a wave of violent protests swept across the city after Israeli police attempted to ban Palestinians from gathering at the Damascus Gate square.