August 2016: An escalation in breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque and targeting Al-Awqaf employees…arresting 139 Palestinians and demolishing 13 establishments
September 2, 2016

Wadi Hilweh Information Center issued its monthly report for August 2016 in which it monitored the Israeli violations in the city of Jerusalem during July 2016 as the Israeli authorities carried out series of arrests against Jerusalemites in the city in addition to the demolition of several commercial and residential establishments as well as graves under the pretext of “building without a permit”.

During August, 1811 settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque while the Israeli authorities isolated 33 people from Al-Aqsa. The forces arrested 139 Palestinians and the occupation authorities are still detaining the bodies of two Jerusalemite Martyrs.

The occupation continues to detain the bodies of two Jerusalemite Martyrs

The Israeli authorities continue to detain the bodies of two Jerusalemite Martyrs; Abdel Muhsen Hassouneh who passed away last December and Mohammad Abu Khalaf who passed away last February. The bodies of Martyrs Thaer Abu Ghazaleh, Baha’ Alayan, Abdel Malek Khroub and Mohammad Kaloti were released in August under strict conditions set by the occupation as well as tight restrictions and procedures during the releasing processes and funerals. The authorities conditioned the Martyrs families to only have 25 family members participate in their sons’ funerals and required them to deposit 20 thousand NIS each to ensure commitment to the rules. Burying the bodies was required to be immediately after the releasing process at Al-Mujahedeen Cemetery in Salah Eddin Street at times when the forces turned the streets of the city into a military camp and imposed a kind of curfew.

Releasing the bodies came after the legal advisor of the occupation government objected to the policy followed by the Israeli Minister of Security by detaining the bodies. He requested to check the case of each Martyr individually and if security measures are achieved, the bodies have to be released to their families. The decision came upon an order made by the Supreme Court in July which requested the prosecution to discuss the issue of “detained Martyrs’ bodies” and give a detailed explanation about the reasons behind detaining them.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

During August, 1811 Israeli settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the morning and afternoon break-in sessions and through Dung Gate (one of the gates of the Old City) that is controlled by the Israeli authorities since the occupation of Jerusalem. Breaking into Al-Aqsa is part of the “foreign tourism” program and takes place under the protection of Israeli police and Special Forces; break-ins take place every day except for Fridays and Saturdays.

Settlers increased their break-ins to Al-Aqsa during the first half of August on the anniversary of the so-called “Destruction of the Temple”. Groups of the “Alleged Temple” called on settlers to break into Al-Aqsa Mosque on this occasion in addition to organizing various activities such as marches and seminars in East and West Jerusalem. The same groups called to accelerate the building of the temple.

On the 14th of August - anniversary of the “Destruction of the Temple”, nearly 400 settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque while tight restrictions were imposed on the entrance of Muslims as young men were prevented from entering while women and the elderly were forced to leave their IDs at the gates before entering. Several settlers practiced their religious ritual during their tour inside Al-Aqsa courtyards and Special Forces assaulted worshippers and severely beat them which led to the injury of 15 of them with various bruises; three were transferred to the hospital for treatment. Concurrently, settlers practiced their religious rituals outsides Al-Aqsa gates under the protection of Israeli police.

Violations didn’t stop at only breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque; the Israeli police targeted the employees of the Islamic Awqaf department and obstructed renovation works carried out inside the Mosque. They prevented them from continuing to renovate the Mosaics inside the Dome of the Rocks under the pretext of not having a permit. The project manager of Al-Aqsa construction committee along with several employees were arrested while Al-Aqsa guard, Majd Abdeen, was assaulted and severely beaten while on duty.

The occupation authorities isolated in August 33 citizens from Al-Aqsa Mosque including one woman, three of Al-Awqaf employees and three children for periods that varied between 5 days and 4 months.

Arresting 139 Palestinians

The occupation authorities continued executing arrets in the city of Jerusalem during August and arrested 139 Palestinians from Jerusalem including 32 minors, 3 women and 3 elderly.

The geographical distribution of arrest was as follows: Old City of Jerusalem 31, Silwan 30, Jabal Al-Mukabber 16, Esawyeh 11, Al-Tur 8, Wad Al-Joz 3, Shu’fat refugee camp 3, Beit Hanina 2, and one from each of Sur Baher and Shu’fat and Kufor Aqab, 15 from Al-Aqsa courtyards and 12 workers from the West Bank that were arrested while working in Shu’fat refugee camp and Silwan in addition to several other arrests executed in the city.

On the eve of the so-called “Destruction of the Temple”, the occupation authorities executed a series of arrests in Jerusalem and arrested 25 young men. They were released after several hours on condition of isolation from Al-Aqsa Mosque. The occupation forces also executed group arrests in the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber under the pretext of “incitement” during a march organized in solidarity with the released prisoner Sufian Abdo after spending 14 years in the occupation’s prisons. Settlers requested to re-arrest Sufian and the people participating in welcoming him though media and social networks.

Demolishing 13 establishments in Jerusalem

The occupation municipality continued demolishing residential establishments in Jerusalem under the pretext of building without a permit concurrently with raiding Jerusalemite neighborhoods and distributing demolition notices and administrative demolition orders.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the demolition of 13 establishments in Jerusalem in August in which one of them was self-demolished by its owner. The demolitions were as follows: one house and a residential barracks, 3 under-construction establishments, 4 walls, a room for livestock, 2 containers used for storage and a commercial establishment (car dealership).

During August, the occupation municipality displaced 9 individuals including 4 children from their home where they had been living for one year; it is owned by Wasim Atyeh. It is noteworthy that a session was scheduled to discuss the licensing of the house at the end of October.

The demolished barracks is owned by Izz Eddin Abu Nijmeh and was established two years ago where he had been living with his family of 4 individuals.

The geographical distribution of demolitions was as follows: Silwan 5, Sur Baher 4, Jabal Al-Mukabber 3 and one in Beit Hanina.

Settlers’ assaults

Settlers’ assaults against Jerusalemites continued in August as the center monitored an assault on 13-year old Abdelrahman Shweiki in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan; three settlers attacked him and ripped his shirt for no reason.

A settler also assaulted 20-year old Murad Ghassan Rajabi and severely beat him in Al-Sharaf neighborhood in the Old City of Jerusalem. Rajabi suffered fractures in his nose and cuts in his face as well as multiple bruises in his neck. The police requested Rajabi for interrogation on charges of assaulting a settler who had filed a claim against him; Rajabi was released on condition of isolation from Al-Sharaf neighborhood for two weeks.

Suppression of freedom of opinion ... and the closure of an educational institution

In an assault on the freed of opinion and expression, the occupation authorities suppressed a march in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Nablus Street near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and assaulted the participants and arrested three of them before preventing them from proceeding with their march.

The authorities also closed Sa’ed educational initiation in Jerusalem under the pretext of “support for terrorism”.

Raiding Jerusalemite neighborhoods

During August, the occupation authorities continued raiding Jerusalemite neighborhoods especially the villages of Silwan and Esawyeh and established checkpoints at the entrances of the villages. Forces were also deployed in the streets and frequently stopped young men and checked their IDs in a provocative way which led to the breakout of scattered clashes in which sound grenades and rubber bullets were randomly fired.

The forces deliberately established their checkpoints and stopped vehicles and precisely searched them which led to heavy traffic jams in the streets.