Issawiya: 'Border Guards maced innocent bus passengers'
Border Guard officers use pepper spray on e. Jerusalem bus passengers, when 14-year-old boy fails to show ID. "How can we maintain order when police abuse us?' Issawiya mayor Darwish Musa Darwish asks. 'Those under 16 must carry birth certificate,' police say
Border Guard officers violently clashed with residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Wednesday, when a 14-year-old bus passenger failed to present an identification card and refused to disembark the bus.
Three officers boarded the bus at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Issawiya in order to conduct an ID check. When they approached the teen, he explained that he did not have an ID, because he is under the age of 16 – the age when Israeli residents are issued an identification card. The officers then asked him to leave the bus, but he refused, saying that he will be late for school.
"The claim about not having an ID because of his age is false," a police spokesperson said. "(Individuals) under the age of 16 must present a birth certificate."
It appears that the passengers attempted to protect the boy, which prompted one of the officers to use pepper spray on them. Since the chemical was sprayed in closed quarters several passengers were affected.
"He just argued with them, he didn't raise a hand or use violence," the bus driver said about the teen. "Then the officer sprayed his face and the faces of the children around him with the gas."
According to the driver, the passengers left the bus because it was impossible to breath, and waited for another bus. The teen was taken to the hospital because he suffered shortness of breath.
Border Guards Patrolling east Jerusalem (Photo: AFP)
'They abuse us, but want us to sit quietly'
"This is a grave case of police taking the law into their own hands," said Issawiya Local Council Head Darwish Musa Darwish. "It is a continuation of the discriminatory and hurtful treatment that we get from the Israeli law enforcement authorities.
"They want us to prevent riots, but how do they want us to maintain order when the police officers hurt us on purpose?" he asked. "All we want is a peaceful life without problems, but every time I manage to achieve quiet the police come and ruin it for me.
"Why did the police officer spray the gas in the closed space, in a bus full of innocent students and residents? If the same thing happened on an Egged bus, he would have been hung. They destroy our homes, abuse us, and want us to sit tight. It doesn't work this way," he said.
Border Guard officials claim that the officer was right in detaining the boy. "It was a routine check that takes place regularly," a spokesperson said.
"The team was attacked by the teen and the bus passengers, and had to make use of the pepper spray that was at their disposal," he added. "When the officers left the bus they were attacked by dozens of locals, they were injured by punches."
The officers said that the alleged rioters succeeded in freeing the teen, who escaped into the village. The police are excepted to arrest the assailants.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook