Israeli forces raid MAP’s partner providing psychosocial support to children in East Jerusalem

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is deeply concerned to learn that Israeli forces raided the building of our partner Al Saraya Centre in occupied East Jerusalem.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 20 October, Israeli military forces, police and intelligence agents, stormed Al Saraya Centre and confiscated surveillance footage. Israeli authorities gave no prior warning and no justification for the raid. When Saraya Centre staff refused to hand over the footage, stressing the unlawfulness of the raid, Israeli forces threatened the staff with violence.

Al Saraya Centre provides psychosocial support services, empowerment activities and life skills sessions for young people growing up in the oppressive environment of the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Saraya Centre staff were in the middle of delivering their after-school activities with a group of children when the raid took place.

“Where else in the world can armed forces get away with invading a centre which is meant to be a safe space for children?”

“Living and working in the Old City of Jerusalem means your life is always in danger,” said Nida'a Dweik, Resource Development and Public Relations Officer at Al Saraya Centre. “We are forced to live under an occupying state that is immune from international law, where there is no accountability. Where else in the world can armed forces get away with invading a centre which is meant to be a safe space for children?”

“This latest act by Israeli authorities is part of an ongoing campaign of widespread and systematic violence and harassment against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which contributes to the fear and insecurity that young people feel on a daily basis,” said Aisha Mansour, MAP’s West Bank Director. “MAP is proud to partner with Al Saraya Centre, whose work is vital to the health and wellbeing of children and young people.”

Israel, the occupying power, is obligated to respect and protect the right to physical and mental health of Palestinians. This raid, however, gravely undermines the “safe space” provided by Al Saraya, where children can receive psychosocial and other essential support away from the fears and stressors of day-to-day life in occupied East Jerusalem.

MAP calls for a prompt and impartial investigation into this raid of Al Saraya Centre, and for an end to practices which constitute threats to Palestinians’ mental health and wellbeing.

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