Wadi Hilweh Information Center monthly report…closing Al-Aqsa 6 times for Muslims, arresting 135 citizens and isolating 70 others from Al-Aqsa Mosque
Wadi Hilweh Information Center- Silwan warned against the unprecedented Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of April where there were many violations at the Mosque using several methods at the governmental level and through occupation forces and settlers. The Information Center monitored the serious violations especially in the so-called “Passover” holiday which witnessed the most violent weeks towards Al-Aqsa. Few days before the holiday, extremist Jewish groups called to break-into Al-Aqsa throughout the whole week of the Passover holiday prompting dozens of young men to moor and stay at Al-Aqsa in order to defend it and protect it against the Jewish extremists’ break-ins at times when Al-Aqsa was closed in front of Muslim worshippers. Israeli politicians call to change the current situation in Al-Aqsa The Center touched on the meetings and conferences held by officials, Knesset members and Rabbis during last month to discuss ways and methods to protect the groups breaking into Al-Aqsa during Passover, and discuss the occupation police’s role in dealing with the so-called “administration of issues at the Temple Mount”. They requested to allow religious and unreligious Jews to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque and practice the “freedom of worship”, and requested the head of the Israeli government, Benyamin Netanyahu, to open Al-Aqsa for non-Muslims and change the current situation and fully transfer the sovereignty of Al-Aqsa to the Israeli government. The Deputy Israeli Minister of Religious Affairs "Eli Ben Dahan" announced the end of the development of regulations for the legal order of Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa, and remained only on Netanyahu to sign in order for the change to take effect. Several other Rabbis requested to change the “fatwa” and allow the Israeli community to pray inside Al-Aqsa and to completely intervene to change the current situation in favor of the Jews and quickly impose the Israeli sovereignty on it. Breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque… The Information Center explained that the occupation forces who were equipped with weapons broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of April three times (13th, 16th, 20th) and included forces from the police, Special Forces, borders police, Intelligence, Musta’ribeen and snipers and got engaged in violent clashes with the Palestinians where they used bullets, sound and gas grenades and pepper gas and directly assaulted the Muslims who were present in Al-Aqsa courtyards; note that more than 70 minor to moderate injuries were recorded in those three days. Among the weapons used was a new Sulfuric type of rubber bullets that causes stains and burns on the body and the forces managed to injure the young men using this type of bullets. The forces also deliberately damaged the facilities of Al-Aqsa during the break-ins as they damaged the windows of Al-Qibli Mosque using the butts of their guns in addition to burning the carpets and damaging the marble poles with the grenades and bullets. Officials at the Islamic Awqaf confirmed that the clashes that broke out in Al-Aqsa in the month of April were the most violent since the 1990’s. During the above mentioned dates, clashes broke out at the open gates of Al-Aqsa (Hutta, Al-Silsileh and Al-Majles) where the Israeli forces established iron barriers and assaulted all citizens from all ages with batons in addition to using sound grenades and pepper gas to disperse them and prevent them from entering Al-Aqsa where they plan to stay and confront the settlers’ break-ins. The Center added that on the 21st and 22nd of the month, a unit from the Special Forces broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque and verbally assaulted the Marabouts when they were chanting “God is Great” as another group of extremists had broken into Al-Aqsa and were carrying out a tour inside its courtyards. In terms of restrictions and preventing Muslims from reaching inside Al-Aqsa, the forces prevented praying in Al-Aqsa on the 13th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th of the month. On the 13th, they prevented the Night Prayer and the prevention lasted until the morning of the 14th where the Morning Prayer was banned as well. On the 16th, the Morning and Noon Prayers were prevented from being held and the Friday Prayer on the 18th. They also banned the Afternoon Prayer up until the Night Prayer on the 19th and the Morning Prayer on the 20th. During the days of restriction, the Israeli occupation forces prevented the young men and women from entering Al-Aqsa and only allowed small numbers of men who are above the age 55 to enter on condition of leaving their IDs at Al-Aqsa gates to be detained by the police. On April 20th, Al-Aqsa Mosque was completely closed and the forces assaulted all worshippers (young men, women and the elderly) while they attempted to enter and perform the Morning Prayer; note that few minutes before the “Athan” (call for prayer) the forces only permitted the elderly to enter. The police stationed at Al-Aqsa Gate started new procedures during the month of April in which they detained the IDs of all Marabouts that were entering Al-Aqsa and turned them in to Al-Qishleh police center in the Old City of Jerusalem. They also forced the worshippers to head to Al-Qishleh in order to take their IDs where they would be detained for long hours. Several worshippers were not given their IDs under the pretext of “not finding them”, and the next day they would be prevented from entering Al-Aqsa because they don’t have an ID. The occupation authorities obstructed the education at Al-Aqsa Schools located in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to protect and secure the Jewish break-ins. They prevented the entrance of nearly 500 students on the above mentioned dates and arrested several students and assaulted others; note that they were allowed to go to their schools after delaying and detaining them which at time lasted for more than three hours. Among the serious incidents was the break-in of an extremist settler who was wearing the Arabic traditional garb. Another settler tried to break-in through Hutta Gate and a female settler was wearing the Islamic garb and tried to break-in through Al-Qataneen Gate. Extremist settlers practiced their religious rituals near Al-Aqsa Gates especially at night times near Al-Qataneen, Lions and Al-Silsileh Gates and followers of the “Alleged Temple” group hung a flyer on one of Al-Aqsa Gates that said: “you are required to evacuate the Temple Mount area before 7:00 p.m. on the 13th of April, 2014 due to the construction works related to the rebuilding of the Temple and on occasion of the upcoming Jewish Passover Holiday.” Settlers’ break-ins During the month of April, more than 1300 extremists and Israeli Intelligence personnel broke into Al-Aqsa. Among them was Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, who broke into Al-Aqsa twice on the 7th and 20th of the month. Isolating 70 Palestinian from Al-Aqsa The Center touched on the Israeli escalation of isolating Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City of Jerusalem. The Center monitored the isolation of 70 Palestinians for durations that varied between one week and six months. Among the people isolated were two women, more than 20 children where the youngest was 13-year old Malek Assaileh who was isolated for two weeks. Dozens of young men from the Old City were isolated for 90 days after they were exposed to harsh interrogation in Al-Maskobyeh cells; note that several young men from the 1948 lands (green line) were also isolated. Arresting 135 Palestinians The Center monitored the arrest of 135 Palestinians (from Jerusalem and the 1948 lands) including two women (Um Tarek Hashlamon and Sameeha Shahin) and Farah Bayadseh who is a student at the Hebrew University and 25 children where the youngest was 9-year old Majd Ahmad Alino who was arrested from Al-Aqsa courtyards and was detained for two hours. The arrests mostly took place in the Old City and the village of Esawyeh when the Israeli forces raided the houses of the detainees but most of the arrests occurred at Al-Aqsa Gates. Settlers’ assaults Wadi Hilweh Information Center mentioned that the assaults of settlers and the extremist “Price Tag” group continued in the month of April in the city of Jerusalem. At the beginning of the month, settlers assaulted “Ra’fat Monastery, Our Lady of Palestine” west of Jerusalem and sprayed racist slogans on its walls in addition to slashing the tires of three cars and a truck. Dozens of settlers assaulted the residents of Sheikh Jarrah last month by throwing stones at their houses and vehicles. When the residents went outside to check the matter, they were severely beat and sprayed with pepper gas which led to the injury of 4 citizens including a woman. The police arrived and provided the settlers with full protection and evacuated them from the area and arrested one young Jerusalemite man and his brother. Settlers from the settlement of Pisgat Zeev also assaulted three young men, they are: 21-year old Abdullah Al-Jibrin, 20-year old Ehab Al-Jibrin and 20-year old Ghaleb Al-Waa’ri. Abdullah Jibrin was injured with a deep cut in his forehead which required 15 stitches in addition to wounds in his back and the rest of his body as he was attacked with a knife. Al-Waa’ri was injured in the cheek bone and Ehab was injured with several wounds and bruises; note that they were all assaulted and beaten with knives, sharp tools and batons when they went to withdraw money from the ATM machine located in the settlement of Pisgat Zeev that is established on the lands of Beit Hanina. During the attack, a police car that was passing-by in the area dispersed the settlers using force and arrested three of them. Limited but almost daily clashes break out between the residents of Silwan and then settlers living in the settlement outposts in the town. Suppression of freedom… The occupation forces suppressed last month a peaceful demonstration in front of the Hebrew University that was organized to condemn the orders to recruit Christian Arab young men. The Israeli police assaulted two Jerusalemites last month, they are: Musa Talhami who was injured with broken bones, wounds and bruises all over his body while he was working in Al-Basheer restaurant in Beit Hanina north of Jerusalem; and 26-year old Majdi Madbouh who suffered from a dislocated shoulder in addition to bruises in several parts of his body; note that the police refused to provide him with medical treatment despite the severe pain he was feeling in his shoulder. Demolition operations… Last month, the occupation municipality’s bulldozers demolished a residential barracks owned by Abu Omar Maslamani in the neighbourhood of Al-Hardoub in Al-Tur. The barracks is 60-square meters and was built since April of 2013 and is made from aluminum, gypsum and tin. A large Israeli force and Special Forces raided the neighbourhood of Al-Hardoub and completely surrounded the barracks to execute the demolition operation and prevented the Maslamani family from emptying the barracks and clashes broke out between the two sides in which the Israeli forces assaulted the family members without excluding the elderly and the women and then arrested one of the family members and his friend. Settlement scheme… At the beginning of April, the District Committee for Planning and Construction ratified the settlement project entitled ““Kadam Complex- City of David- Old City” which will be implemented in the courtyard of Dung Gate south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. At the end of the month, it was revealed that the occupation forces ratified the funding of building a suspended bridge that will connect Al-Thori with the neighbourhood of Wadi Al-Rababeh southwest of the Old City of Jerusalem. The project includes the building and renovation of dozens of phantom Jewish graves in Wadi Al-Rababeh and name it “Sambosky Cemetery” and claim it as an ancient Jewish cemetery. It also includes opening tracks between the Old City of Jerusalem and the area mentioned above, and connect them with several other tracks in the future in the area of Al-Bustan in Silwan in addition to establishing a tourist park and biblical trails, as well as the establishment of a suspension bridge in the area mentioned above with a length of more than 120 meters.