On Tuesday the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality began a widespread campaign in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan designed to collect outstanding property and income taxes, a move Palestinians have denounced as "a campaign of revenge."
Fakhri Abu Diyab, a member of the Committee to Defend Silwan, described told Palestinian government news wire Wafa that the tax collectors had been accompanied by Israeli soldiers and police officers who closed the entrances to Silwan with military checkpoints and issued high-priced tickets to outgoing vehicles.
"If they find someone with debt to the Israeli government, they will check his car and find any way to punish him," Abu Diyab told PNN. "Even if he doesn't owe a debt, they will punish him by detaining him for a few hours. It's part of a plan to humiliate Arab Jerusalemites and strangle them economically."
Abu Diyab said that the timing of the campaign was not coincidental: it comes as Israel continues to evacuate Palestinians from their houses to make room for Israeli settlers. He said the tax collection campaign was an operation to keep the citizens distracted.
Abu Diyab warned that Silwan specifically and Jerusalem generally would be targeted by the Israeli government in the next few days and asked citizens to pay careful attention.