March 2020…Continuous violations by the occupation authorities despite the Corona virus epidemic
The occupation authorities continued their aggressive and repressive practices in the city of Jerusalem during the month of March, despite the deteriorating health conditions and the global emergency after the outbreak of the Corona virus epidemic "Covid 19".
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in its monthly report that the occupation authorities continued their repressive practices by arresting and storming Jerusalemite neighborhoods, despite the procedures for defining the movement and disrupting many commercial interests and educational institutions, to prevent the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
The occupation authorities tried to interfere in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosqueand impose their sovereignty, under the pretext of preventing the spread of corona virus. In mid-March, the occupation authorities closed the gates of Al-Aqsa except for “Hutta, Al-Majles and Al-Silsileh” gates, while keepingDung Gate opened as they control its keyssince the occupation of Jerusalem. Settlers were allowed to storm Al-Aqsa through Dung Gate, and the Islamic Endowments Department conducted contacts with the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments and the Jordanian embassy, until Al-Aqsa gates were completely opened for worshipers after nearly an hour of closing it.
On March 20th, the occupation authorities closed the gates of Al-Aqsa and prevented entry to it and into the Old City of Jerusalem, an hour before the Friday prayer, under the pretext of preventing the spread of the Corona virus. According to the estimates of the Endowments Department, only 500 worshipers managed to perform the Friday Prayer in Al-Aqsa, despite the announcement of Al-Aqsa Directorate to take the necessary measures and procedures to prevent the virus from spreading. They completely sterilized Al-Aqsa Mosque, and published instructions for the worshipers before Friday, in addition to the presence of volunteers in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa to sanitize the worshipers’ hands.
The center added that the occupation forces suppressed worshipers who tried to perform prayers in the streets, with sound grenades and beating, in the villages and neighborhoods of the city,“Wadi Al-Joz, Al-Musrara, Ras Al-Amoud, and outside Dung Gate. Worshippers present at Al-Aqsa gates were assaulted and pushed away.
On the next day, the occupation forces stormed the house of the President of the Islamic Endowments Council and issued him a fine of 5 thousand shekels, on the pretext of "not abiding by the police decisions in regards to the number of worshippers allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque". Earlier, the forces had summoned the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, and the “Imam” of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Amer Abdeen.
In the middle of last month, the occupation forces stormed Bab Al-Rahma chapel, threatening to impose financial fines on worshipers on the pretext of "not adhering to the procedures of the Ministry of Health," and threatening worshipers several times to issue them fines in the event of gathering in the Al-Aqsa courtyards for praying or any purpose. The policetook pictures of worshipers while praying.
The settlers ’incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque continued, through Dung Gate, until the 22nd of last month.
To prevent the spread of corona virus, the Council of Endowments, Islamic Affairs and Holy Sites announced, on the evening of march 22nd, the suspension of worshipers' entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the dawn of the next day (March 23rd), for a temporary period in response to the recommendations of religious and medical references, while all employees and workers of the Islamic Endowments and guards of Al-Aqsa will continue to do their work and practices as usual. All five “Calls for Prayers”, and all workers and employees of the Islamic Endowments Department and Al-Aqsa guards will perform the prayers in the courtyards while abiding by the health instructions.
Suppression and pursuit of “Corona virus Prevention” initiatives
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the occupation authorities pursued youth initiatives against the spread of Corona virus on the pretext of "violating Israeli sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem."
The Center stated that the occupation forces arrested 3 sterilization teams in the city of Jerusalem, in Silwan, Al-Sowaneh and the Old City of Jerusalem, and confiscated their sterilization tools and materials, while they were sterilizing public and vital facilities in the vital areas. The forces also arrested 4 others because of distributing and placing awareness posters regarding the virus, and deported them from the Old City of Jerusalem.
Late last month,the occupation authorities also prevented the distribution of dozens of food parcels in the village of Sur Baher, in light of the crisis the residents have been living in for two weeks due to restrictions on movement and the disruption of work. The forces detained the parcels and arrested the truck driver and 3 others.
The occupation authorities intensified the daily arrests in the city of Jerusalem during last month, despite the decisions and measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus. Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored 192 cases of arrest, including 4 women and 33 minors. The arrests were mainly centered in the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque and its gates (73), followed by Issawiya (57), Silwan (35), in addition to arrests from the towns and neighborhoods of the city.
The Center pointed out that the occupation intelligence summoned the Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith, the director of Al-Aqsa Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani and the deputy director of the Jerusalem Endowments Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, and summoned and arrested several cadres of the Fatah movement on the pretext of "violating Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem." The forces also arrested 3 Jerusalemite activists from Allenby bridge while they were travelling to Jordan.
Late last month, an armed clash broke out inside Shu’fat refugee camp, and the occupation forces arrested a number of young men after they were stripped of their clothes "except for underwear" and took them to the checkpoint located at the entrance of the camp on foot.
Also, the occupation forces shot the 15-year old Mohammed Awni Atyeh with a rubber-coated bullet in his hand while he was in the yard of his school, "Boys Secondary School", in Issawiya, during the break between classes.
The occupation authorities continued to issue deportation and expulsion orders, and the center monitored the expulsion of 8 Palestinians from Al-Aqsa and deportation of 7 others from the Old City. They also issued travel bans against 4 Jerusalemites.
The Occupation Police also issued fines to worshipers for performing prayers at the gates of Al-Aqsa from the outside and for young men while they were walking inside the city's neighborhoods under the pretext of "not adhering to the procedures to prevent Corona virus from spreading".
Assault campaign continues in the village of Issawiya
The campaign of assaults continued in the village of Issawiya for the tenth consecutive month. The forces continued to storm the village and deploy in the streets and at its entrances and establish checkpoints, in addition to daily arrests, home searches, sound grenades and tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. The forces also continued to get stationed in front of pharmacies and medical centers.
The committees of Issawiya village explained to the information center that the assault campaign against the residents of Issawiya has escalated during the last two weeks of March "since taking preventive measures against the virus" as they conducted daily raids, at night hours, that resulted in clashes. The committee added that the forces formed gatherings in violation of the instructions and measures issued by the Israeli Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of the virus, and the storming of neighborhoods, and arrests will force the residents to gather to check on their children, pointing out that the arrest process takes place without taking precautions by the forces that attack the detainee directly without placing masks and gloves, while some are dragged and hit.
Demolitions decreased in the city of Jerusalem last month with the beginning of the spread of the virus, and the Information Center monitored the demolition of a floor and a wall in the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber, while the Alqam family in Shu’fat refugee camp was forced to self-demolish its home on the pretext of building without a permit.
Under the protection of the occupation forces,the Nature and Parks Authority tried seize and take control of a land belonging to the Abbasi family in Wadi Al-Rababeh neighborhood in Silwan, on the pretext that the land belonged to what is called “the guardian of absentee property”. The Nature Authority crews stormed the land several times and digging in it, while the locals confronted them each time by continuously being present in the area, until the Central Court issued a decision prohibiting the "Nature Authority" from enteringthe land and working in it.