Palestinian Authority policemen freely patrol Jerusalem neighborhood

“Giving Palestinian Authority police officers the opportunity to roam the streets of Jerusalem is a huge violation of Israeli sovereignty,” Tzemach told WIN.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A viral video showing Palestinian Authority policemen freely patrolling the streets of an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood has caught the attention of right-wing activists and organizations.

Maor Tzemach, chair of the Your Jerusalem organization, spoke to World Israel News about the incident and its implications for Israeli sovereignty and security policy.

“Giving Palestinian Authority police officers the opportunity to roam the streets of Jerusalem is a huge violation of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” Tzemach told WIN.

He said Israel is setting a dangerous precedent by allowing Palestinian Authority security officers to assume responsibility for some neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

There are a number of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem which fall on the other side of the security fence, Tzemach explained.

“Israel is having a tough time providing them municipal services and imposing any sort of social order, stopping gun crime, etc.” he said.

“This essentially leaves these neighborhoods as extraterritorial areas, with nobody in control… It’s almost anarchy. These are Jerusalem neighborhoods, whose residents hold full Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards,” Tzemach told WIN.

He added that these neighborhoods are of high security importance to the Jewish state.

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Tzemach said that because of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel has walked back on maintaining Israeli control in these areas and asked the Palestinian Authority for assistance.

A few months ago, security forces from the Palestinian Authority came to enforce lockdowns in the neighborhoods, over the objections of many right-wing activists and organizations.

“Unfortunately, in recent days, once again the Israeli government has turned to the Palestinian Authority security forces for help,” said Tzemach.

He expressed concern that if Israel continues the policy of permitting Palestinian Authority security forces to patrol these neighborhoods, they may eventually end up as de jure Palestinian territories.

“First and foremost, this [policy] hurts Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. It’s a first step towards dividing Jerusalem, which we are, of course, against,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, Tzemach spoke to Channel 20 News about the incident, alongside former Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir.

Tzemach linked the weakening Israeli presence in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods to the failed terrorist attack on the Temple Mount.

On Monday evening, a suspect was killed after attempting to open fire on a group of Israeli security forces.

“We are in a reality where we need to fight for our sovereignty,” Tzemach said. “We need to understand how someone was able to smuggle a gun onto the Temple Mount.”

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“This is what happens when you don’t put metal detectors at the Temple Mount entrance, and when you let Palestinian police officers patrol the streets of Jerusalem…[it’s clear] that a lack of sovereignty leads to terror.”

A video of the PA police operating in the Jerusalem neighborhood can be seen below: