July- Biggest mass demolition operation in Jerusalem and highest number of arrests…a “collective punishment” campaign in Issawiya
August 4, 2019

Wadi Hilweh Information Center issued its monthly report for the month of July, in which it monitored Israeli violations in Jerusalem.

The center said that July witnessed the largest and widest mass demolition in the village of Sur Baher in the city. The occupation authorities continued imposing their collective punishment policy in the village of Issawiya. The “alleged temple groups" also continued their violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli Police.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

The information center said that the settlers continued their incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque during the daily incursions periods, except on Fridays and Saturdays, through Dung Gate, which has been controlled by the occupation authorities since the occupation of the city in 1967. In July, 2233 settlers and Jewish students stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of police and other forces, while imposing restrictions on the entry of Muslims to Al-Aqsa by detaining their identities and searching them.

In addition to the voices of the occupation authorities calling for the closure of the Bab Al-Rahma chapel and not opening it for praying, the center added that the Israeli police had emptied some of the contents of the prayer hall several times in July, especially "wooden dividers separating the men from women and the shoe closet". It is noteworthy that Bab Al-Rahma was reopened in February after being closed for 16 years.

The Israeli authorities continued to issue expulsion orders from Al-Aqsa Mosque. The information center monitored the issuance of 14 orders including 2 boys and 2 females. Also, two young men were deported from Jerusalem for various periods including freed prisoner Wassim Jallad who was arrested and deported immediately after being released from the occupation’s prisons where he spent 15 years.

Demolition and displacement

In the neighborhood of Wadi Al-Hummus in the village of Sur Baher, the city of Jerusalem witnessed one of the largest mass demolition and displacement operation. The occupation authorities demolished and destroyed 11 residential structures, mostly buildings, under the pretext of "proximity to the security fence / security street" built on the lands of the residents.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained that the mass demolition was carried out in Wadi Al-Hummus area on 22 July. The Israeli occupation forces began their incursion into the area at approximately 2.30 am. They evicted the residents from their homes, and assaulted men, women and other foreign and Jewish people that are in solidarity with the people of the neighborhood using sound grenades. The entire village was declared a closed military zone and entry was denied to it by vehicles, public buses and even on foot. Even its residents were prevented from entering it in the early morning hours.

The center explained that most of the demolished residential structures were located in Area A, which is subject to the Palestinian Authority according to signed agreements, and is licensed by the Ministry of Local Government. However, the Israeli army issued its decision to demolish them and ratified it by the Israeli Supreme Court, under the pretext of being close to the “security street” which is a street surrounded by barbed wires and sensors. The occupation’s regulations prohibit and prevent construction at a distance of 250-300 meters, which threatens dozens of residential and commercial facilities in the neighborhood.

The center pointed out that one of the under construction buildings was destroyed by explosives, where explosive boxes were planted in it for 17 hours.

In addition, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished seven commercial facilities last July: 5 in Silwan, 1 Beit Hanina and 1 Sur Baher.

266 arrests in the city of Jerusalem

Last July recorded the highest number of arrests in the city of Jerusalem, where Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored 266 arrests in Jerusalem, mainly in the village of Issawiya, including 8 children under the age of responsibility (under 12 years), 8 females, and 60 minors.

The geographical distribution of the arrests was as follows: 153 detainees from Issawiya, 42 from Silwan, 27 from Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, 14 from Al-Tur, 14 from Shu'fat and Shu'fat Refugee Camp, 5 from Jabal Al-Mukabber, 4 from Sur Baher, 3 from Beit Hanina, 3 from Sheikh Jarrah and 1 from Wadi Al-Joz.

Among those arrested was 15-year-old Ali Bilal Taha, from Shu'fat refugee camp, who was wounded with live bullets in the lower limbs.  His treatment was delayed while he was detained near the military checkpoint at the entrance to the camp. He was also assaulted and severely beaten during detention in the ambulance, especially on his head, and was verbally insulted and threatened.

The Israeli occupation forces also arrested two young men from Issawiya after beating them and spraying them with pepper gas. They prevented them from receiving treatment from medical crews on field, and arrested one of them while on the stretcher.

Among the detainees last month was also a woman, her husband and two children from the village of Silwan. She suffered a broken shoulder and various bruises due to the assault and pushing.

Children were not excluded from the summons and arrests in July. In two consecutive days, the Israeli occupation forces handed the families of the two children, Mohammed Rabi 'Alayan, 4, and Qais Firas Obeid, 6, summons for investigation to their parents on the pretext that the children threw stones at the forces. The Israeli occupation forces canceled the summoning of the child Alayan and refused to let him enter the investigation center after public and media put pressure on the police.The forces also arrested Mohammed Mazen Shweiki, 7 years old, from Silwan.

The center explained that the Israeli occupation authorities deported dozens of young men and women from their place of residence in Issawiya. They also issued decisions to prevent other residents of Jerusalem towns and neighborhoods from entering the village for varying periods.

The center added that many young men were arrested last July for participating in the funeral of Martyr Mohammed Samir Obeid, or carrying and raising Palestinian flags and banners. The Israeli occupation forces arrested 8 Jerusalemites celebrating the announcement of the results of the secondary school (Tawjihi).

Collective punishment in Issawiya

The "collective punishment" policy imposed in the village of Issawiya escalated following the releasing of the body of Martyr Mohammed Samir Obeid (who was martyred at the end of June).  The center explained that the occupation authorities including its various institutions escalated their assault on the locals of Issawiya, where raids are carried out around the hour in the streets of the village, police establishing checkpoints at the village’s entrances and in the streets, inspecting and searching vehicles and issuing traffic fines, raiding houses and searching them to execute arrests or deliver summons or even to check if a person is abiding by his house-arrest conditions. Forces were also stationed at the gates of commercial shops, and provoked the customers. Municipal crews continued to issue demolition orders, stopping construction in the village, and get stationed and deploy in the vicinity of medical centers.

The center added that during the month of July, the Israeli occupation forces removed Palestinian flags and banners of the parties, and pictures of the Martyr Obeid from the streets of the Issawiya. They also broke into Issawiya Secondary School after breaking the locks, and confiscated banners and pictures of Martyr Obeid from the roof. The forces also damaged the “memorial” of Martyr Mohammed Samir Obeid, which was placed in the spot where he was martyred. Also, pictures and flags were confiscated from the courtyard of the Martyr’s house.

The Israeli occupation forces used live bullets, rubber bullets, sound grenades and pepper gas during the raid on Issawiya. The live bullets and rubber bullets penetrated the windows of several houses and caused damages to internal walls and furniture.

Medical crews in the village of Issawiya were also targeted by the occupation forces. One paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent was injured by a rubber bullet in his abdominal while attempting to transfer an injured person. The forces also obstructed the work of medical crews and their movement in the village.