July 2017: Closure and siege on Al-Aqsa Mosque…8 Martyrs in Jerusalem and its environs…arresting 425 Palestinians
Wadi Hilweh Information Center issued its monthly report for July 2017 in which it monitored the Israeli violations in the city of Jerusalem specifically the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque for two days and preventing the Friday Noon Prayer inside it.
The streets of Jerusalem witnessed protests, prayers and clashes for 13 days in refusal to the occupation’s attempts to impose new procedures on Al-Aqsa Mosque by placing metal detectors and installing cameras at the gates. Jerusalemites were able to force the Israeli authorities to remove the metal detectors and bring things back to what they were before the 14th of July.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said the occupation authorities escalated in an unprecedented manner their violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque by closing it and preventing the Call for Prayer for two full days and prevented the Friday Prayer from being held in addition to their attempt to impose inspection procedures for expatriates, which led to a wave of anger represented in demonstrating in front of Al-Majles and Lions gates. Thousands of Palestinians prayed in the streets and alleyways, and the occupation authorities launched a massive campaign of arrests and deportations from Jerusalem and al-Aqsa in July, in addition to the continued demolition of establishments in the city.
The occupation authorities completely closed Al-Aqsa Mosque for two consecutive days "14-15 July," following an armed clash on Friday morning "the 14th of July" between three young Palestinians from the city of Umm al-Fahem and the Israeli police at Hutta Gate – one of Al-Aqsa gates- and spread to the courtyards of the Dome of the Rock where three young men were martyred and two policemen were killed.
The center said that the occupation forces, after the incident, arrested all employees of the Islamic Awqaf Department that were at Al-Aqsa (58 employees), and conducted field investigations and registration of identity numbers for all worshipers who were present at the moment of the incident. Then, they vacated the entire Al-Aqsa Mosque and only a group of guards who were restricted from moving remained inside Al-Aqsa. The Israeli authorities then denied entry to Al-Aqsa for two days, during which they searched the "offices, mosques, squares, wells and facilities in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and messed with all of the contents”.
On the 16th of July, the occupation government decided to open Al-Aqsa Mosque on condition of placing metal detectors at the entrances to conduct an inspection of those entering Al-Aqsa. A private company under the supervision of officers and occupation forces placed five electronic gates near Lions Gate, two at Al-Silsileh Gate and two at Al-Majles Gate. Only three gates (Lions, Al-Majles and Al-Silsileh) were opened for worshipers while Hutta, King Faisal, Ghawanmeh, Hadeed, Al-Mathara and Al-Qataneen gates remained closed.
Placing metal detectors was refused by the religious officials and Palestinians in general who responded by organizing daily sit-ins at Lions Gate and Al-Majles Gate and praying in the streets. The occupation government then tried to replace the “metal detectors” by a “smart cameras” system, and began preparing for the new system by placing metal beams and corridors at the gates, but that was rejected as well, to continue the sit-in campaigns outside Al-Aqsa for 12 days, until the occupation removed all the measures taken after the 14th of July.
On the 27th of July and after the religious officials’ decision to enter Al-Aqsa, the occupation tried to prevent the guards from opening the Hutta Gate. Tens of thousands of Palestinians managed to enter the Aqsa through Hutta Gate and Lions Gate, and then the heavily armed forced stormed into the mosque and assaulted worshipers with sound grenades, rubber bullets and sprayed them with pepper gas and also beat and pushed in an attempt to evacuate the mosque. After the Night Prayer, the forces stormed into Al-Aqsa and arrested all those present in Al-Qibali Mosque to prevent them from staying overnight.
On the 28th of July (Friday), the occupation authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of Muslim worshippers to Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevented men under the age of 50 from entering.
During the month of July, worshippers performed three Friday Noon Prayers (14th, 21st and 28th) in the streets of Jerusalem due to the closure and siege imposed on Al-Aqsa.
The occupation forces deliberately suppressed worshippers in the sit-in courtyards where the five prayers were held and randomly fired sound grenades and rubber bullets in addition to provocative searches and arrests in an attempt to break the will of Palestinians and end their demonstration but the numbers were increasing day after day.
In July, 3213 settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The last day of the month witnessed the largest number of break-ins on the occasion of the so-called “Destruction of the Temple”.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the deportation of 81 Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem (60 isolated from Al-Aqsa, 13 deported from the Old City and 8 deported from Jerusalem); among those deported were one woman and 8 children.
As a collective punishment against the residents of Jerusalem after the armed clash, the Israeli occupation forces closed the Old City and isolated it from its surroundings, and closed the streets adjacent to it. For two consecutive days, no one was allowed to enter the Old City except for its residents and merchants were forced to close their shops.
8 Martyrs in Jerusalem and its environs
In July, 8 young men were martyred in the city of Jerusalem and its environs.
14/7/2017: Three Palestinian young men from the city of Um Al-Fahem in the 1948 lands were martyred during an armed clash with the occupation forces inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. They are: Mohammad Ahmad Mohammad Jbareen (29), Mohammad Hamed Abdellatif Jbareen (19) and Mohammad Ahmad Mifdel Jbareen (19).
21/7/2017: Mohammad Mahmoud Sharaf (18) was martyred after being shot by a settler near Ras Al-Amoud settlement in Silwan after the Friday Prayer. Also, Mohammad Hasan Abu Ghannam (21) was martyred during clashes in the village of Al-Tur and Mohammad Mahmoud Khalaf Lafi (17) was martyred during clashes in the village of Abu Dis.
22/7/2017: Yousef Abbas Kashour (24) was martyred during clashes in the village of Abu Dis.
27/7/2017: Mohammad Kanaan Khatib (25) was martyred due to injuries he suffered during clashes in the village of Hizma.
The occupation authorities continue to detain the bodies of Martyr Musbah Abu Sbeih since last October and Martyr Fadi Qunbar since last January.
The occupation authorities conducted a wide campaign of arrests in the city of Jerusalem in July. The center monitored the arrest of 425 Palestinians including 65 minors, 9 children under the age of 12 “age of responsibility”, an elderly woman, two elderly men, two girls and 5 women.
The geographical distribution of arrest was as follows: 222 Palestinians arrested from Al-Aqsa Mosque and its gates, Silwan (54), Old City of Jerusalem (35), Al-Tur (31), Esawyeh (20), Wad Al-Joz (16), Al-Sowaneh (14), Shu’fat Refugee Camp and Anata (13), Shu’fat (6), Beit Hanina (2), Sur Baher (5), Jabal Al-Mukabber (5) and Kufor Aqab (1).
Among the detainees were the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian lands, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, who was arrested from the area of Lions Gate after the Friday Prayer on the 14th of July. Also, the head of the Fateh movement in Jerusalem Hatem Abdelqader and the secretary of Fateh movement Adnan Gheith in addition to nearly 70 employees of the Islamic Awqaf Department and activists and leaders in the city of Jerusalem, and the parents of Martyrs Mohammed Abu Ghannam and Yusuf Kashour.
Arrests were mainly executed in Al-Aqsa Mosque especially on the night of the 27th of July when the occupation forces raided Al-Qibali Mosque and arrested all those inside to prevent them from staying overnight. Also, arrests were executed at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the daily sit-ins and prayers for two consecutive weeks. The forces also ran over a young man and arrested him in the village of Al-Tur, and arrested a young man from inside an ambulance after he was hit by a rubber bullet.
While suppressing prayers and sit-ins at Al-Aqsa gates, more than 600 Palestinians were injured by live ammunition, rubber bullets, sound grenades, tear gas or due to beating and pushing. Several people were injuries with bruises, burns and fractures while others were injured in the eye and lost their eyes. Among the injured were elderly people, women and children.
The center explained that three Jerusalemites lost their eyes in July. Two were from the village of Esawyeh; one while standing on his balcony at the beginning of the month and the other during the occupation forces’ raid on the village. Also, a young man from the village of Silwan lost his eye due to being injured after the Friday Prayer in the area of Ras Al-Amoud, Silwan.
Last month, a young man from Silwan was also injured by a live bullet in his abdominal during a raid on Ein Al-Lozeh and random firing of live bullets.
Press and medical crews were also targeted, assaulted, harassed and arrested. Several cases of assaults were recorded against them and several were injured with bruises and wounds.
Occupation forces deliberately obstructed the work of press crews by preventing them from being and working in the area of Lions Gate and Al-Majles Gate where the prayers were held; they were often assaulted and beat. Also, traffic tickets were issued to live streaming vehicle and sound grenades were fired towards press crews to disperse them and remove them from the scene of the event.
Paramedics were also assaulted as the occupation forces obstructed their work and prevented ambulances from reaching the area of Lions Gate. Soldiers also pointed their guns towards them and fired sound grenades towards ambulances.
Al-Maqased hospital in the village of Al-Tur was also targeted by the occupation forces which raided the hospital from July 17th until the afternoon of the 18th in an attempt to arrest an injured young man. They raided several departments and were stationed in the courtyard of the hospital and at the gate of the “Intensive Care Unit” where an injured young man was being treated.
On 21/7/2017, the occupation forces stormed into the hospital and assaulted the people inside it with sound grenades, beating and pushing in an attempt to arrest a young man who was later announced a Martyr.
A young Jerusalemite man was injured last month by a rubber bullet in his face causing bleeding and skull fractures while the forces suppressed the funeral of “Ali Abu Gharbieh” who was drowned in Tiberius Lake. The forces attacked the funeral and assaulted the participants with grenades and rubber bullets under the pretext of raising Palestinian flags. They also executed a wide series of arrests after the funeral and arrested several young men from the neighborhood; Abu Gharbieh is from Al-Sowaneh.
Demolishing 12 establishments
The occupation municipality continued demolishing Jerusalemites’ properties in the city of Jerusalem under the pretext of building without a permit. The center monitored the demolition of 12 establishments in Jerusalem where three of them were self-demolished by their owners in order to avoid paying fines and demolition costs to the municipality.
The information center monitored the demolition of 7 houses, a residential building, two barracks and two commercial establishments.
The geographical distribution of demolitions was as follows: Beit Hanina (4), Silwan (3), Sur Baher (2), Esawyeh (2) and Jabal Al-Mukabber (1).
As a result, 17 individuals including 7 children were displaced from their homes.