ACRI: End the Use of Skunk Spray in East Jerusalem

Photography: Hussam AbedPhotography: Hussam Abed

Since July 2014, large swathes of East Jerusalem streets have been covered in tremendous amounts of skunk spray. This new phenomenon has affected the lives of tens of thousands of residents who have been forced to spend days on end living with this repulsive stench. Together with the difficulties in breathing, eating and sleeping freely, residents have reported feeling a deep humiliation as a result of this new reality.

 

 

On November 24, 2014, ACRI contacted the Police Commissioner to demand that Israel Police end its disproportionate use of skunk spray in East Jerusalem as a result of the severe and widespread harm it is causing to all residents of these neighborhoods. ACRI Attorney Anne Suciu explained in the correspondence that there is a clearly disproportionate relationship between the intended purpose of the skunk spray – dispersing public disturbances – and the way it is being used – causing property damage and harming innocent bystanders. The damage caused by this spray can last for many days and must be prohibited in crowded residential neighborhoods especially.

 

Neighborhoods in East Jerusalem tend to be particularly crowded residential areas. According to testimonies received by ACRI, and according to videos that have been distributed, the skunk spray has been used to drench broad areas with the foul-smelling liquid including narrow, winding streets and residential alleys. The use of this tool has caused harm to innocent bystanders including children and the sick. Skunk spray can cause  nausea and vomiting in those exposed to the stench, and can cause severe damage to homes, shops and cars.

 

Police regulations regarding the use of skunk spray contain numerous provisions designed to ensure that this tool is used only for its intended purpose of  dispersing public disturbances and riots such that it will not cause disproportionate harm to the public. For example, the regulations state that the spray can only be used in open areas, should not be used in circumstances that may cause harm to the elderly, pregnant women and children, and that is not to be used on high ground where there is a chance of it spreading.

 

It is ACRI’s belief that the police are unable to abide by the regulations for the use of skunk spray in crowded East Jerusalem neighborhoods where it will necessarily cause disproportionate harm to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, infants and people with disabilities. 

 

Additional Materials

Skunk – Repulsive Odor Liquid (Data Sheet)

ACRI’s Letter to the Police Commissioner (in English)

ACRI’s Previous Correspondence with the Police Regarding Skunk Spray (August 2014)

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Health and Environment, Police and Security Guards

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