It appears Israel’s ongoing incitement of Palestinian children has taken a particularly macabre turn. These videos have surfaced of Jerusalem police driving calmly through quiet empty East Jerusalem neighborhoods drenching elementary schools and residences with a putrid liquid with the stench of feces and rotting animal carcass, commonly referenced as “skunk spray”. 972+ has the story. “The skunk water targeted the A-Tur [Mount of Olives neighborhood] elementary school for boys, the elementary and high school for girls, a high school for boys and the ‘Basma’ elementary school for disabled children. All four schools are located on the neighborhood’s main street.”
As a result 4,500 children stayed home from school the following day:
In the A-Tur neighborhood, the police shot skunk water at four large schools, forcing the parents of 4,500 students to leave their children at home due to the unbearable smell. “It was this past Friday, at around 5:30 p.m.,” says Khader Abu Sabitan, a member of the parents’ committee in the neighborhood. “I was on the road and saw them pass with their machine, and saw how they began shooting water at the school. I’m telling you – there was nothing there. It is Friday at 5:30 in the evening, and there was no one in the school or on the streets. Nothing. Everyone was home. They went to all four schools in the neighborhood, shot the water, and left.”
Here’s another video taken in the neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber:
This form of collective punishment seems sadistic. I’m at a loss for a better term. Haggi Mater reports that “words cannot express” the stench, that “gagging is almost inevitable” and that it’s almost impossible to get rid of the smell.
The videos were given to 972+ to support resident claims that Jerusalem police had been using the spray routinely and arbitrarily. Evidently the practice of spraying the East Jerusalem neighborhoods has been going on for awhile and a complaint was filed with the police last August by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) . Palestinian residents have been meeting with human rights organizations but many are afraid to come forward and give testimony for fear of retribution. Because the practice is being used routinely, regardless of circumstance, the residence are at a loss as to how to respond.
The police claim that spraying the schools and homes is used according to regulations. Inquiries have been made seeking an explanation what those regulations are but the police have refused to tell them. Mater reports “ACRI has attempted to force the police to publish the regulations vis-a-vis the skunk” and that 972+ has also made inquires with the police and plan on publishing their response.
Read 972+’s full report here.
We’ve reported on the Israeli military’s practice of spraying villages in Occupied Palestine, but this is the first we’ve heard of police routinely spraying quiet Jerusalem neighborhoods.