Jerusalem witnessed major escalations in 2021, as Israeli authorities tried to evict Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and seize their homes. When Palestinians staged sit-ins in the neighborhood to support the residents, the Israeli forces and settlers intensified their attacks against them. Settlers also intensified their incursions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and organized a number of provocative Judaization activities. Tensions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and Al-Aqsa Mosque subsequently sparked hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities continued their repression and abuse against Palestinians, escalated raids into Palestinian neighborhoods, put forward new settlement projects, and increased the pace of demolitions of Palestinian homes and facilities in the city. Furthermore, to perpetuate the policy of banning the official Palestinian presence in the city, the Israeli authorities prevented Palestinians in Jerusalem from participating in legislative and presidential elections scheduled for May, causing the elections to be postponed.
The Israeli authorities arrest Palestinians in East Jerusalem on a daily basis. In 2021, Israel arrested 2,879 Palestinians. These arrests are mostly arbitrary or lack fair trials, legal procedures, or standards, and are often accompanied by raids of homes. Warrants are rarely shown during these raids, which is contrary to procedural rules in criminal laws.
The Israeli forces, accompanied by intelligence and police units, carry out continuous raids on Palestinian neighborhoods and homes in East Jerusalem. These usually take place at night or dawn, almost daily to arrest Jerusalemites.
These arrest campaigns do not differentiate between a young man, a woman, a child, or an elderly, nor do they differentiate between an ordinary person, a leader, or a religious symbol. The arrests are focused in Issawiya village, the Old City, Silwan town, Al-Aqsa Mosque squares and gates, and the other towns and neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
In 2021, the Israeli forces carried out more than 2,442 incursions and raids in the towns and neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The Israeli forces conducted 2,879 arrests against Palestinians, including 750 children and 120 women.
There are also no laws or regulations in the Israeli military that allow the police to attack anyone this way for any reason since beating is not considered a legal punishment, but instead is a crime, regardless of its causes and motives. The Israeli occupation authorities are still, nonetheless, assaulting Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Torture, beating, and abuse are common violations the Israeli forces inflect upon Jerusalemites. During 2021 alone, at least 984 Jerusalemites, including children, were subjected to torture and beatings with batons, rifle butts, hands and feet during arrest operations. The Israeli forces systematically torture Palestinians in interrogation centers to extract confessions from them. Torture methods include suspension, sleep deprivation and psychological pressure.
A video showing the Israeli security forces’ assault on Palestinian journalists and protesters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, where Palestinians disobeyed in May 2021 against the decision to evacuate their homes.
The Israeli occupation authorities exercise a harsh and arbitrary policy against Palestinian houses and other establishments in Jerusalem City; they seek to expel the Palestinians by denying them building permits and demolishing their homes and shops. Field documentation showed that the Israeli authorities demolished 312 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem during 2021.
On Wednesday, 29 December 2021, Israeli bulldozers demolished the home of Palestinian resident Hussein Bashir in the town of Jabal Mukaber, citing illegal construction and the lack of a license. Bashir had tried to obtain a license, but the Israeli authorities refused to grant him one.
On Tuesday, 9 February 2021, Israeli bulldozers demolished the house of a Palestinian woman, Amna Yousef, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, without a prior decision. Two weeks before the demolition, Israeli settlers attacked the house and demolished its outer wall.
On Tuesday, 29 June 2021, Israeli bulldozers demolished a grocery store in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem belonging to Palestinian citizen Nidal Al-Rajbi. The authorities claimed he did not have a building permit, although he had tried to obtain one and was refused.
Israeli security forces issue orders to expel Palestinian worshipers from Al-Aqsa Mosque by five different ways, as follows:
The Israeli occupation invests its governmental, security and judicial arms to impose a demographic change in the occupied city of Jerusalem by allowing settlers and their settlement groups to take control of the largest number of Palestinian properties in Jerusalem and creating a new Israeli character for the city. The Israeli authorities also expel Palestinians from the city as part of such an endeavor. One of the most dangerous measures taken by the occupation in this regard is taking advantage of the Israeli judicial system to issue orders regarding settlements and changing the original character of the city by giving a false legal appearance to their actions, manipulation of laws and provisions, and racial discrimination against Palestinians.
On 10 October 2021, Israeli vehicles bulldozed parts of the Al-Yusufiyah Cemetery, adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the eastern side, to prepare to implement the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority’s plans to turn the Islamic cemetery into a public garden for Israeli settlers to erase the religious identity of the land.
On 31 October 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to seize a 4,700 square meter plot of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood owned by four Palestinian families, namely, Obeidat, Odeh, Jarallah, and Mansour. The decision aimed to turn the land into a public park belonging to the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.
In 2021, the Israeli authorities continued to pursue the work of Jerusalem’s governor, minister, and any institution that engages in any activity for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. Throughout the year, the governor of Jerusalem received several military decisions. He was summoned for interrogation and arrested several times. In November, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security renewed the house arrest decision imposed on him in 2018 for another four months, including a ban on his movement to West Bank cities and a ban on communication with the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli authorities seek to suppress any Palestinian manifestations in Jerusalem and fighting their presence decisively, as they work to prevent the establishment of any event or popular or sovereign role for Palestinian institutions in the city including those sponsored by the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to completely israelify the city.
Throughout the first several months of 2021, the Israeli authorities refrained from responding to a Palestinian request to allow Palestinians in Jerusalem to participate in the legislative and presidential elections that were scheduled to take place in May 2021 in all Palestinian territories. Because the Israeli side did not respond, either negatively or positively, to the Palestinian request, the Palestinian president decided to postpone the elections until Israel allows them to be held in Jerusalem.