Israel’s storming of two Palestinian cultural centers in East Jerusalem and arrest of their directors is part of an alarming and intensifying assault on Palestinian presence in the occupied city, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor warned today, Israel’s campaign against Palestinian institutions and activists in East Jerusalem constitute a flagrant violation of international law and should be ceased immediately.
Earlier today, Israeli police and intelligence officers stormed the Yabous Cultural Center and the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) in East Jerusalem’s business districts without prior notice, official warrant or clear reason, and confiscated records and documents that belong to the two institutions.
Israel’s police also raided and ransacked the houses of the directors of the two institutions, Rania Elias and Suheil Khoury and arrested them both before releasing them later . In addition, Israel’s police also stormed the house of Mr. Daoud al-Ghoul, director of the Jerusalem Arts Network – Shafaq, and arrested him.
Euro-Med Monitor fears that Israel’s discriminatory practices of arbitrary arrests and raids against Palestinian individuals and institutions in East Jerusalem aim to undermine any Palestinian presence in the occupied city and make the lives of Palestinians in there more difficult to drive them away from Jerusalem. Israel’s crack down on Palestinian symbols and individuals in East Jerusalem may amount to a war crime under international law, as Israel tries to change the demographics of the city to the advantage of its settlers.
Earlier this month and for the third time this year, Israel arrested the Palestinian Authority’s governor of East Jerusalem, Mr. Adnan Ghaith without issuing a clear reason for the arrest. Similarly, in April, Israel’s police arbitrarily arrested for the fourth time the PA’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami without giving any details on the arrest. In the same month, Israel shut down a Palestinian-run Coronavirus testing clinic in East Jerusalem under the pretext that testing kits were provided by the Palestinian Authority.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on Israel to immediately release Ms. Elias, Mr. Khoury and Mr. al-Ghoul, and to cease all hostilities, provocations and crackdown on Palestinian individuals and institutions in the occupied East Jerusalem.