Israeli police have begun using skunk water against Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem, where over 770 Palestinians have been arrested since the July 2 murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Prior to July, skunk water had never been used in Jerusalem before.
On Saturday night Palestinians threw a Molotov cocktail at Beit Meyuhas, an Israeli settlement within the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. One settler was injured. During the weekend there were also confrontations in East Jerusalem’s A-Tur, where Palestinian demonstrators forced a police crowd dispersal vehicle off a cliff, in the Old City.
They are part of ongoing confrontations between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces since the murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir on July 2. In many cases the confrontations are provoked by police attempts to arrests activists.
From the July demonstrations in Shuafat following the murder of Abu Khdeir, Palestinians in Jerusalem have been experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada. According to Addameer, a prisoner rights advocacy group, over 770 Palestinians have been detained in Jerusalem since July 2.
Addameer reports that the majority of Palestinians arrested were subsequently released. Some 70 Palestinians remain in custody, with many of them being transferred to prisons outside Jerusalem.
In addition, Israeli police are now regularly closing off neighborhoods such as Issawiya and Silwan, harassing residents and controlling their movements in and out of their neighbourhoods. Even workers from the electricity and water companies have not been granted access to these areas.
Since the beginning of July Israeli forces spray “skunk water” on people, houses, cars and commercial stores as a tool of crowd dispersal during demonstrations – but not only.
‘Skunk water’ is a chemical compound with a noxious odor that lingers for several days. The skunk water causes skin irritation and may also cause nausea.
Residents of Issawiya, the Shu’fat refugee camp, A-Tur and Silwan complain that the police randomly sprayed this noxious substance on homes, shops, cars and restaurants in August.
Rights organisations approached the Jerusalem district police chief at the beginning of August, requesting to minimize the usage of this chemical compound in residential and commercial areas and to inform police forces on the restrictions in its use for dispersing protesters.
Prior to 2 July, police forces never before used this chemical product in Jerusalem, although it is extensively used in the West Bank.
——————–The IMEMC notes that, upon testing, skunk water has been found to consist of, mainly, chemically treated sewage water. Fired from water canons, into the streets, the foul smelling spray leaves entire neighborhoods smelling like feces for weeks.