Israel to Open Five East Jerusalem Police Stations


Israel will open five new police stations in occupied east Jerusalem, a minister and the police announced Wednesday.

"Over the years, a large gap has opened between the western and eastern parts of the city in terms of policing, and that's the gap we want to fill with these new positions," Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan told army radio.

"Our national sovereignty begins by exercising our sovereignty over Jerusalem."

The status of east Jerusalem is one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel occupied the territory in 1967 and later annexed it and considers all the city under its authority.

Palestinians, the United Nations and the international community reject the Israeli control, with Palestinians seeing east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Jerusalem has been the heart of a wave of violence since last October in which 219 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have died, according to an Agence France Presse count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

There are currently no Israeli police stations in Palestinian neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem apart from in the historic Old City, a statement from police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

The stations will be installed in the neighbourhoods of Ras al-Amud, Jabal Mukaber, Silwan, Issawiya and Sur Baher.

The neighborhoods are often the scene of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces during tense periods.

The minister said that the creation of these posts is part of a four-year plan that provides for the recruitment of 1,200 new police officers in Jerusalem.

Police official Yuval Ben Ami told army radio that 200 officers had been recruited so far.

"We have a problem hiring police officers because some do not want to be deployed in (Palestinian) neighborhoods," he said, adding they were seeking to increase salaries as a draw.

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