April 2017: 2758 settlers break into Al-Aqsa Mosque…arresting 222 Palestinians…suppressing an event held in solidarity with prisoners
May 3, 2017

Wadi Hilweh Information Center issued its monthly report for April 2017 in which it monitored the Israeli violations in the city of Jerusalem as well as settlers’ assaults on Al-Aqsa Mosque concurrently with the execution of multiple arrests, isolations and deportations from Al-Aqsa and the Old City of Jerusalem.

The center said the number of settlers who broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the number of Jerusalemites isolated from Al-Aqsa and deported from the Old City of Jerusalem as well as arrests were the highest since the beginning of the years.

Martyrs

At the beginning of April, the occupation forces murdered Ahmad Zaher Fathi Ghazal (17) in the city of Jerusalem after stabbing settlers in Al-Wad Street in the Old City of Jerusalem. The forces shot Ahmad with more than 25 bullets after surrounding him inside a residential building that also includes clinics. Marks of the bullets and blood were clearly seen on the walls of the building’s stairway. The Martyr’s body was released at the end of April; Ahmad is from the city of Nablus.

On the 9th of April, Suhaib Mousa Mashhour Mashahra was martyred after being shot near “Gosh Atsion” junction south of the city of Bethlehem under the pretext of attempting to run-over soldiers in the area. The Martyr’s family denied the occupation’s claims and said Suhaib was on his way to the city of Hebron to visit his sister. The Martyr’s body was also released towards the end of the month and was buried in the Eastern Sawahreh cemetery; Suhaib is from the village of Sheikh Sa’ed southeast of Jerusalem.

The occupation authorities continue to detain the bodies of three Jerusalemites Martyrs, they are: Musbah Abu Sbeih who was martyred last October, Fadi Qunbar who was martyred last January and Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar who was martyred last March.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

The “Alleged Temple groups” supported by the occupation’s government and under the protection of Israeli police and Special Forces escalated their assaults against Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of April especially during the Jewish Passover holiday which lasted from 11-17 April. Prior to the beginning of the holiday, several calls were made by Jewish extremist groups to conduct group break-ins into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the areas around it.

In April, 2758 settlers including 297 Jewish students broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque. Among them, 1418 settlers broke into Al-Aqsa during Passover including the extremist Moshe Feiglin (former deputy head of the Israeli Knesset) and the extremist Yehuda Atsion who previously planned to blow up Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as many settlers who call to speed up the process of demolishing Al-Aqsa and building the Temple. Settlers performed their religious rituals inside Al-Aqsa courtyards and at the outside of its gates. They also formed dancing and singing rings where explanations about the Alleged Temple were given.

During the days of Passover, the occupation authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and established their checkpoint at Al-Aqsa gates. They prevented several young men and youth from entering to pray forcing them to pray at the gates. They forces also held worshippers’ IDs before entering Al-Aqsa. 

On the 10th of April, the occupation forces raided the Mosque in the nighttime and conducted a wide search operation under the pretext of looking for people who intend to sleep at Al-Aqsa. On the 14th of the month, occupation forces and police officers raided Al-Aqsa Mosque through Dung Gate after the Friday prayer and were stationed in the courtyards.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center also followed up with isolation orders issued against 60 Palestinians. Among them, 38 were isolated from Al-Aqsa while 19 were deported from the Old City of Jerusalem. One freed prisoner and a young men from the 1948 land were deported from the city of Jerusalem. The occupation intelligence handed a freed prisoner an order banning him from entering the West Bank for 6 months. Among those isolated were 11 children, a woman and 2 employees from the Islamic Awqaf department.

Arrests

The occupation authorities continued their policy of arresting Jerusalemites in April especially during the Jewish Passover holiday. The Information Center monitored the arrest of 222 Palestinians from Jerusalem including one woman, 77 minors, 4 children under 12 years old (age of responsibility) and two elderly.

The geographical distribution of arrests was as follows: Old City of Jerusalem (70), Esawyeh (52), Silwan 941), Al-Tur (14), Shu’fat Refugee Camp (8), Wadi Al-Joz (7), Kufor Aqab 95), Sheikh Jarrah 95), Shu’fat (4), Jabal Al-Mukabber 2), Beit Hanina (2), Sur Baher (2), Al-Sowaneh (1) and several other arrests from the gates of the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Among the detainees were three students that were arrested while heading to school or while heading home after leaving their schools.

Also, the 14-year old Mus’ab Mahmoud Mheisen was among the detainees. The child was shot by a sniper in the village of Esawyeh and was in an ambulance in the area of Al-Sowaneh while being transferred to Shaare Zedek hospital when the occupation forces surrounded them ambulance and arrested him. Several hours later, he was transferred to Al-Maskobyeh police and then to the Magistrate court before being transferred to Salah Eddin Street police station for interrogation. The Israeli authorities did not consider his critical medical condition and the pains he was suffering. It is noteworthy that he was shot in the pelvis area where the bullet remained.

In April, Fatima Mahmoud Obeid (52) lost her left eye after being injured by a rubber bullet while standing on her balcony in the village of Esawyeh late at night.

Demolition

The occupation municipality in Jerusalem continued executing demolitions against residential and commercial establishments in the city under the pretext of building without a permit when they make it nearly impossible for Jerusalemites to obtain building permits.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the demolition of 12 establishments in Jerusalem during the month of April. Three establishments were self-demolished by their owners following orders from the municipality and to avoid paying high fines while the municipality demolished 3 residential homes, 2 residential barracks, 6 walls and gates and a livestock barrack.

The geographical distribution of demolitions was as follows: Jabal Al0Mukabber (4), five walls and gates in the village of Esawyeh, and one in each of Beit Safafa and Beit Safafa and Al-Tur.

The occupation authorities displaced 30 individuals including 20 children due to the demolitions that were all carried under the pretext of building without a permit.

In April, the municipality issued “closure and eviction” orders against three residential apartments owned by Aweidah family in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan due to the risk they pose to the lived of the residents after cracks and landslides have remarkably increased due to excavation works underneath the houses carried out by the Israeli authorities; 16 individuals including 10 children live in the three apartments.

Suppressing activities and events

Since the beginning of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger-strike on the 17th of April, the occupation authorities try to suppress all events and activities in Jerusalem that support the prisoners.

The authorities suppressed three activities that were held in solidarity with prisoners. The forces and Calvary units suppressed a sit-in in the area of Damascus Gate and assaulted the participants as well as press crews. They also suppressed the activity of “Drawing a picture for the prisoners” and arrested one of the participants. A sit-in in Silwan was also suppressed and the forces used rubber bullets and sound grenades against the participants. The demonstration tent in the village of Esawyeh was demolished several times.

Sit-ins at the Red Cross headquarters were also harassed by the occupation forces as Special Forces, Israeli police and intelligence personnel were present in the area of the Red Cross headquarters and took pictures of all the participants. One young man was arrested and was later released on condition of deportation from the area of Sheikh Jarrah and a ban on participating in any march or protest.

On the 26th of April, the forces raided the Legacy Hotel in Jerusalem and prevented a seminar entitled “Palestine in the Israeli curriculum and culture of incitement” from being held following an order by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security. The seminar was organized by the Palestinian Academic Society for International Affairs.