May 2023 in the city of Jerusalem
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem issued its report for the month of May 2023, during which it monitored violations and attacks on holy sites, Jerusalemites and their property in the city, imposing a siege on Al-Aqsa, settlers storming and praying there, continuing campaigns of arrests and demolitions, and issuing deportation orders.
Settler incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque continued, during the daily morning and afternoon incursions, with the exception of Friday and Saturday, through the Dung Gate, whose keys have been controlled by the occupation authorities since the occupation of Jerusalem.
Thousands of settlers carried out their mass incursions into Al-Aqsa during the month of May, especially in their celebrations of the so-called "Jerusalem Unification Day", which is the anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the city according to the Hebrew calendar, and the anniversary of "the descend of the Torah", and they performed public prayers and raised the Israeli flag inside it.
Among those who stormed Al-Aqsa during last May were ministers in the occupation government, Knesset members, and rabbis.
On 18/5/2023, 1262 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa, “923 in the morning and 339 in the afternoon.” Among them were the Minister of the Negev and the Galilee in the occupation government, members of Knesset for the Likud Party, rabbis, and dozens of officials responsible for extremist Temple organizations. Settlers performed prayers inside Al-Aqsa, they also sang the "National Anthem" inside Al-Aqsa, and placed posters in the eastern region bearing the Israeli flag and the phrase "The Temple Mount is in our hands", and around the clock the settlers marched on all its gates "from the outside" and performed prayers and formed dance and singing circles, and raised the Israeli flags.
The information center stated that the occupation authorities imposed their siege on Al-Aqsa on this day, from dawn until three in the afternoon, by preventing entry to those under 50 years of age, expelling young men from it, and chasing those stationed at its gates from the outside.
On May 25, 2023, 354 extremists stormed Al-Aqsa (252 during the morning and 102 during the afternoon incursion periods), in commemoration of the so-called "Shavuot" / the descend of the Torah.”
The Information Center pointed out that the occupation authorities, from the evening of the 24 of May until the afternoon of the second day, imposed a siege on Al-Aqsa Mosque, and by preventing entry to those under 50 years of age, and the worshipers performed the prayers at the doorsteps of Al-Aqsa.
On May 21, 2023, the Minister of Internal Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, accompanied by the head of the Temple Mount Administration Organization, stormed Al-Aqsa, prayed there, and made racist and inciting statements inside.
The violations did not stop with the storming of Al-Aqsa, and it extended to underneath it. On 21/5/2023, the occupation government held its weekly meeting in a tunnel under Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Netanyahu said in his statements: “The government session was held in this place as a message to respond to the recent speech of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who said that non-Muslims have nothing to do with Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On the same day and place, the occupation government held a special meeting with representatives of the Temple groups to enhance coordination between the two sides, to discuss ways and means to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque. The meeting was attended by 8 ministers and 5 Knesset members.
The annual “Flags March"... A siege on Jerusalem and attacks on Jerusalemites
On the anniversary of "Jerusalem Unification Day", tens of thousands of settlers invaded the city of Jerusalem, with their annual "Dance of the Flags" march, which started from "Jan Saker" Park in West Jerusalem to the Al-Buraq Wall, passing through the Jaffa Street area, the Jaffa Gate, the New Gate, Damascus Gate and Al-Wad Street. Ministers in the occupation government and Knesset members participated in it, during which the Israeli flags were raised, and the settlers deliberately chanted racist slogans calling for the killing of Arabs and Muslims, and insulting the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Dozens of settlers attacked the press crews, with stones, bottles, empty cans, and cans filled with stones, dust, alcohol, and flag sticks, injuring many of them with various bruises.
The occupation authorities imposed a siege on the streets of the city of Jerusalem, from noon until the evening, and prevented traffic and entry to some streets, and placed iron barriers.
Around the clock, settlers organized individual marches inside the Old City and at the gates of Al-Aqsa, danced, carried Israeli flags, and assaulted Jerusalemites with insults and pepper gas.
The occupation authorities continued to issue deportation decisions, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored 72 deportation decisions during last May which included "deportation from Al-Aqsa, the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah, the place of residence, and a ban on entering the West Bank", for periods between 5 days and 6 months.
The center stated that among the decisions, 46 were deported from Al-Aqsa Mosque, and 21 were deported from the Old City of Jerusalem.
Arrests continued in the city of Jerusalem during the month of May, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem monitored 194 cases of arrest from the city of Jerusalem, including "9 children under 12 years of age / less than the generation of responsibility, 46 boys, 6 females, including a minor girl." Also, 6 Palestinians for administrative detention.
Last May, the occupation intelligence summoned the head of the Islamic Supreme Council, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, 85 years old, for interrogation, and he was released after an interrogation that lasted for several hours, on the condition of not communicating with 3 satellite channels “Al-Mayadeen, Al-Aqsa, and Al-Manar,” and to attend an investigation if he was summoned again.
The occupation intelligence also summoned the governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, twice during the month of May. The first time on May 10th, to inform him of the intention of the "commander of the occupation army in the West Bank" to renew the decision to prevent him from entering the West Bank, and at the end of the month he was summoned again and handed the decision to "prevent entry to the West Bank" until the end of next September.
The Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, has been placed under house arrest in his home in Silwan, since August 2022, after the Israeli prosecution submitted an indictment that included "17 violations of the decision to prevent him from entering the West Bank since the moment the decision was issued."
Since the Governor of Jerusalem took office in 2018, the occupation authorities have pursued him with repeated arrests and summonses, which amounted to about 40 arrests, raids on his house and summonses, and imposed several restrictions on him, most notably "house arrest in his place of residence in Silwan, travel bans, a ban on entry into the West Bank, and a ban on participation in any activity Jerusalem, and house arrest.
Among those arrested last May were the former Minister of Jerusalem, Khaled Abu Arafeh, and MP Ahmed Atoun, both of whom were transferred to administrative detention for a period of 4 months.
The Information Center stated that MP Atoun suffered from a health problem during his arrest from Bethlehem, and was transferred to the hospital, where he underwent a catheter operation several days later, and his family was prevented from visiting him, then he was transferred to prison.
Representative Atoun and former minister Abu Arafeh, were deported from the city of Jerusalem, after a decision by the Minister of Interior in the occupation government to withdraw the “Israeli identities” of Representatives Ahmed Atoun, Mohammad Abu Tair, Mohammad Totah, and former Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh, under the pretext of “disloyalty to the State of Israel” after their participation in the 2006 Legislative Council elections, then they were all subjected to actual arrest, and they were released in 2010. Representative Abu Tair was deported from Jerusalem, while the rest announced an open sit-in at the Red Cross headquarters, rejecting the deportation decisions, and after more than a year and a half in the sit-in, they arrested all of them, then they were released and deported from the city.
Settlers’ attacks against Palestinians continued in the city of Jerusalem during the month of May, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the following attacks:
28/5/2023 Two settlers assaulted Christians with insults and obscene words during their celebrations of the "Feast of Pentecost" in the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in the Old City of Jerusalem, and deliberately directed insults and obscene words at the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him.
18/5/2023 Four settlers stormed the “Nuns of Charity” monastery near the New Gate in Jerusalem, and the guard managed to remove the intruders from the place, noting that the guests in the monastery are children and people with special needs.
19/5/2023 The settlers organized marches in the streets of Jerusalem, the roads of the Old City, and the gates of Al-Aqsa "from the outside", and assaulted the Jerusalemites and insulted them. Clashes broke out in the Lions' Gate area, and the forces assaulted the young men.
20/5/2023 Settlers attacked Jerusalemites with pepper gas and insults, in the streets of Jerusalem. In the morning, settlers stormed the town of Al-Tur, fired live bullets, and tried to storm the “Al-Shamila School" in Al-Tur, and threw stones at it.
Anas Kayed Abu Hussein, 29, from the village of Jabal al-Mukabber, was wounded by the occupation forces’ bullets during the road closure in the al-Khader area in Bethlehem. Video recordings showed that the occupation soldiers assaulted him while he was inside the truck, then sprayed him with pepper gas, and as soon as he got off, the soldier targeted him with gunfire. The shots were fired from a close range, and he was hit with 6 bullets in the thigh and abdomen.
The occupation forces also opened fire towards a group of young men, during clashes in the village of Sur Baher, which resulted in the injury of the young man, Thaer Bkeirat, with 3 bullets, "the thigh, the abdomen, and the leg".
The occupation municipality continued to carry out demolitions and force Jerusalemites to demolish their facilities with their own hands, under the pretext of "building without a permit."
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem monitored 23 demolitions in the city, 7 of which were carried out by their owners by decisions of the municipality. The demolitions included a residential building consisting of 16 apartments, houses, commercial facilities, barracks, and leveling of land and a fence.
The demolitions were carried out in: Silwan, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Sur Baher, Shu’fat refugee camp, and Sheikh Jarrah.