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For Jerusalem police, even directing traffic is a form of terrorism

One of East Jerusalem’s most prominent political activists was arrested for supporting terrorism — while trying to solve a traffic jam in his own neighborhood.

Muhammad Abu Hummus, a political activist from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, is seen speaking to Israeli riot police during a raid on the neighborhood. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Abu Hummus, a political activist from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, is seen speaking to Israeli riot police during a raid on the neighborhood. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police arrested a well-known Palestinian activist in East Jerusalem earlier this week, accusing him of encouraging drivers to run over Israeli officers while he directed traffic in his neighborhood.

Muhammad Abu Hummus, one of the most prominent activists in Issawiya who has been documenting the daily police incursions into the neighborhood over the last several months, was arrested on Sunday after uploading a video of himself guiding a Palestinian driver through a traffic jam.

Abu Hummus was brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where police representatives told the judge that he had encouraged the driver to run them over. In the video, Abu Hummus can be heard helping to direct traffic in the middle of Issawiya as police officers look on. When a reluctant Palestinian driver approaches, Abu Hummus can be heard telling her “id’asi,” the Arabic equivalent of “keep driving.” However, to most Jewish Israelis, it sounds similar to the Hebrew word “tidresi,” which means “to run over.” Abu Hummus was arrested four days after the video was uploaded to Facebook.

The court released Abu Hummus a day after his arrest. The police appealed the decision to the Jerusalem District Court, which extended his remand until Tuesday afternoon and ordered him to stay away from the neighborhood for 15 days. Abu Hummus has been sleeping in a gas station at the entrance to Issawiya since.

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Despite what the police claim, the video shows that the officers present were not in danger, did not respond directly to Abu Hummus as he spoke in Arabic to the driver, and did not arrest him on the spot. The minutes of his hearings reveal that the police had other motives for the arrest.

“He appears at every disturbance or whenever police officers arrive in Issawiya. He agitates and taunts the police. All the officers know him,” police representative Haitham Trody told the District Court judge on Monday. “We arrested him because he is not a force for good in Issawiya,” said another police representative.

Michal Peleg, an activist with the anti-occupation group Ta’ayush who was present when the video was filmed, said it was just another routine day in Issawiya. “At around 6:30 p.m., young Border Police officers began marching through the neighborhood. We followed them along with Abu Hummus and took photos. When we were on the main street, one of the officers turned around suddenly and without any cause fired a stun grenade at us, which smashed a car windshield.”

Israeli police officers seen confronting the residents of Issawiya during the funeral of Mohammad Obeid, who was shot dead by the police in late June, East Jerusalem, July 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police officers seen confronting the residents of Issawiya during the funeral of Mohammad Obeid, who was shot dead by the police in late June, East Jerusalem, July 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

She says the police vehicles that enter the neighborhood on a daily basis block Issawiya’s narrow streets, causing major traffic jams and creating chaos.

“Abu Hummus was trying to solve a traffic jam created by the police. The driver was next to us and he signaled her to go ahead so as not to block traffic,” she added.

Peleg has no doubt that the police are looking for any way to stop Abu Hummus. “They want any excuse to arrest him, so someone came up with the idea that the video could help. They have an interest in removing him because he is a source of nonviolent civil resistance and documents what they are doing in the neighborhood.”

A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. itshak Gordine

      As Jews of Jerusalem, we are victims of discrimination. During Muslim Ramadan, it is almost impossible for Jews to move quietly to the center of Jerusalem on Friday morning when we leave. Most of the main thoroughfares are closed in order to allow Muslim buses to go to their mosques. Ramadan lasts 40 days. I ask the Jerusalem police to take all measures so that the Jews are no longer discriminated against.

      Reply to Comment
      • E.C.

        My heart is broken when I hear that. Listen, boy, why does a Jewish man accuse his neighbour for cruelty against animnals? His rottweiler suffocated while trying to devour that man’s cat. Victimology and chutzpah at its best.

        Reply to Comment
        • Itshak Gordine

          May your heart not break! Imagine that the center of your city is bluntly closed by the police for 6 weeks (!!) on Friday because a minority wants to pray. Would you be happy? Imagine that you are a shop keeper and that you lose sales for 6 weeks, Friday being busy in Jerusalem. Imagine that in any country in the world, Jews prevent entry into the center of the capital because they want to pray there. What would be the reaction of the population?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            If anyone ever needed proof of the seamless, impenetrable, pathological narcissism of this representative hard core settler here, you’ve got it now. Halevy’s dropping some of the bland Orwellian newspeak, coming out of the closet more. It’s a useful display of what the settlers are really like and why there is not going to be an appeal to reason and conscience with these cold, selfish fanatics.

            Reply to Comment
      • Amir

        Haha, jews complaining about discrimination in Jerusalem.

        Reply to Comment
        • itshak Gordine

          The UN anti-racist committee blasted the Palestinian authorities in a report released on Thursday calling for “the state of Palestine” to act against “racist hate speech and hate crimes,” including incitement to violence against Israelis and Jews.

          Reply to Comment
          • Amir

            israel and jews don’t even need Palestinians to be hated or for “so called antisemitism”, they do it very good by themselves every day.

            haters

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            Really? Raheel Raza, who is President of the council for Muslims facing Tomorrow, has written in the Jerusalem Post (August 30, 2019) an open letter to Omar and Tlaib: “As a Muslim woman who has been to Israel a dozen times, let me tell them how it is done. I fully support Israel’s right to exist with Jerusalem as its capital and the right for the Jewish people to be free from orchestrated antisemitic attacks”. She then accuses Omar and Tlaib of antisemitism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Amir

            Haha the “President of the council for Muslims facing Tomorrow,” another the name of the council tells is own story.

            another Muslim by “name”

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            It is an habit among many Muslims in the world:
            – they are never guilty, but always victims. If they commit as is often the case of atrocities in the name of Allah the merciful, it is because they were manipulated (by the mossad, the CIA, the monarchies of the gulf “sold to the Zionists”, etc.) because “Islam is a religion of peace and love”
            – If modern Muslims who are aware of the problem oppose these excesses of another age, they are invariably accused of representing only themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Amir

            That’s like the jews, no?

            Always playing the antisemitism or shoah card, that is not their fault, but the fault of the Muslims who want to throw them to the sea etc

            Modern jews against occupation/apartheid in Palestine are considered traitors or false jews or whatever we can read from you

            That reminds of how you and other jew consider and attack Breaking the silence, “always lying”. They don’t agree with your narrative

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            Not really. Jews have never been leaders in international terrorism. We rightly complain about the Shoah committed in the general indifference or with the complicity of some, like for example El Husseini, great Mufti of Jerusalem who visited Hitler several times and who would have encouraged him to launch the massacre of Jews. It is this filthy individual of whom many Arabs of Israel claim.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Standard Operating Procedure.

      The recipe goes like this: (1) Suppress all protest, take out the non-violent resisters, especially the effective ones, the ones with any talent, “the troublemakers.” Watch out for the peaceful and sophisticated ones—they’re the dangerous ones you want to lock up and get out of sight as quickly as possible. (2) Then wait for violence to break out among the residual ones we haven’t locked up, or better yet, provoke it. (3) Mix and stir. (4) Then say: “See? They are all terrorists! We are such victims, sigh, whatever can we do? If only, if only, those Palestinians would stop being violent, why then we would be SO generous! We SO pine for non-violence! Woe is us.” Or whatever version of this fits the target audience.

      Standard procedure. For the Israelis, non-violence is trouble—to be ruthlessly suppressed; and engineered, controlled violence is a valued, sought, tactical outcome. This, in a nutshell, is the history of the 1967 war and of the 1967-2019 occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Firentis

      “Helping to direct traffic” is a nice way of saying interfering in police work. He is standing on the side screaming at the driver to keep going despite there being police standing in her way. That is what the video shows.

      As for anything Taayush says I believe them as much as I believe any random pro-Palestinian troll on Twitter.

      Reply to Comment