2012 begins with more assaults on Jerusalemites
The whole world welcomed the new year with hope and optimism that it will be better than the previous year. Citizens of Jerusalem welcomed this year with more Israeli assaults on them and their properties, lots of arrests, house demolitions, land confiscation and bulldozing.
The Arrest of Many Children
According to cases reaching the Wadi Hilwe Information Centre, 143 arrests were made during last month (January). Those arrested were from Silwan, al Essawiye, the Old City and Sheikh Jarrah. Almost half were children, many of whom were aged between 12 and 14 years. The youngest, Muhammad Ali Dirbas, was under 8 years old; he was arrested from his house and taken alone to the police station where he was held for 2 hours.
We understand that the Israeli authorities broke both international and Israeli laws during these arrests. Many children, especially those from Silwan, have been taken to Cells #20 in the Maskubye. They don't have the adult escort, as the law requires, during the first investigation. Furthermore, the hands and feet of children are tied during arrest. According to testomonies of arrested children, the investigations weren't carried out by child specialists.
The occupation municipality began the new year by demolishing the construction of the house of Ra'fat al Essawi from al Essawiye village. They also bulldozed lots of land, uprooting fruit trees in the process, belonging to another family from al Essawiye. An iron factory belonging to residents Azzam and Nader al Rasheq was demolished and merchandise costing 1 million Shekels seized. A kitchen and a restroom were also demolished. Many demolition warrants were given to residents of the Toor and the Essawiye areas.
A building under construction, belonging to the Mut'eb family, in Ras al Amoud was also demolished. Amera family had 2 houses demolished in Soor Baher; one housed 7 family members whilst the other was in preparetion for a newly married couple. A house in Beit Hanina (North Jerusalem) belonging to the al Rajabi family and housing 8 people was demolished.
In Beit Safafa, the Salah family had their sheep barn demolished whilst 4 other houses received warrants. Some stores near the Damascas Gate, inside the walls of the Old City of Jersusalem, also received warrants.
At the end of January the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Nature and Parks Authority began a campaign of bulldozing land and demolishing houses in the Wadi Al Rababe's area of Silwan. A caravan belonging to the al Shweki family and a house and room (that had existed for 10 years) belonging to Shker's family were both demolished. Land belongin to Samrin was bulldozed - trees were uprooted, roads leading to homes destroyed and the mountain made insecure.
On 31s of January warrants were given to residents of the Fuheidat area, east of Anata's village. The warrants, received by 13 families, claimed they did not have permits to be on the land. 10 rooms were demolished during this incident with the remaining residents given until 7th February 2013 to appeal against it. Warrants were also given to the Nomads of West Jerusalem for the sake of the settlements.
Demolition of the village of Bab Al Shams and Shoufat's Solidarity Tent
In a confrontation with the People's Resistance, the Israeli forces demolished the village of Bab Al Shams that was built by dozens of Palestinians in Jerusalem. This was an act of resistance against the confiscation of the land for the sake of the Settlement project known as E1. Initially they evacuated people in the village but later arrested those trying to get back.
The solidarity tent, The Olive's Solidarity, in Shoufat was also demolished twice. The tent was set on land threatened to be confiscated for Road 21 which connects Israeli settlements together.
In January there were many assaults against citizens during demolitions. Israeli forces have used dogs and tasers to keep residents away from houses and land during the demolition process. As a result, many were injured; among them were 3 women. The family of Salah in Beit Safafa were attacked; Aya Salah broke bones in her arm and leg.
Israeli forces also refused to let a delegation of the Palestinian Authority tour the area. The Minister of Housing and Public Relations, Maher G'nem, and the Deputy Information Minister, Mahmood Khalifa, were arrested near Hizme's border. 4 investigation warrants were given to 4 people from Jerusalem as well.
Al Aqsa mosque was also raided many times during January by settlers. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed to visit the Wailing Wall on election day to pray for the Jewish people.
Israeli forces denied any help to locals of the north and south Jordan Valley
Many houses stores and restaurants in al Essawiye were raided during the Israeli operations that started mid-December. Many citizens were injured, leaving them with scars and broken bones. According to the Information Centre, around 147 citizens were arrested during this.
The Omari mosque in Soor Baher was surrounded by Israeli authority, leading to confrontations.
The Israeli forces raided the Ramlawi house in Old Jerusalem without explanation.
Attacks by Settlers
Settlers attacked young Yazan Diyan in Silwan with pepper spray as well as the mosque of al Nabi Dahud.
Arrests and releases - the prisoners between the light and the darkness
There are several prisoners' issues, highlighted below are only some of them.
The released prisoner, 29-year-old Ashraf Abu Zaree, died in the Matlaa Hospital.
Jihad Abidi was released after spending 25 years in Israeli prison.
Ahmad al G'ool was released after spending 2 years in prison.
Anwar Abu Lafi was released after spending 10 months in prison.
Hassan Halsa (46) from Old Jerusalem, Nihad Halsa (42) from Jabal al Mukabber, Ali Atta Abeed (46) from al Essawiye were all released after spending 13 months in the Israeli prisons. Whilst under arrest they were under difficult conditions, including paying a 10,000 NIS, not internet usage and no visits from people outside of the family until the end of the legal procedure.
The life of the prisoner Samer al Essawi is still at risk due to his hunger strike, something that started a movement of solidarity activities for him.
Extending the arrest of Mrs. Intisar al Hudra and refusing to release her to house arrest, putting her in prison in bad circumstances.
At the end of January the Main court agreed to return 3 people, Ashraf Zalloum, Shady Zahde, Tarek Aliyan, to their houses after they were sent away for a year to a place outside of the "Municipality Borders".
At the end of the month Sami Shker from Silwan was banned from Silwan for a month.
Tarek Abu Sbeih, a guard of al Aqsa mosque, was banned from the mosque for 21 day after he refused to let settlers enter the mosque todo their religious ceremonies. A Palestinian from Israel was also barred from Al Aqsa mosque.
Freezing the evacuation warrants
A spark of hope was given to residents of Sheikh Jarrah at the end of January. The main court in Jerusalem decided to freeze the evacuation of Abd al Razek al Sabag' from their houses. This case has been in the Israeli courts since 1972 regarding 5 houses owned by 5 brothers: Muhammad, Rabea, Bassam, Bassem and G'aleb; there are 30 people in total living there.
Israeli forces Brought him to the Court with an Ambulance - Extending the Arrest of Samer al Essawi
Today the Magistrate Court extended the arrest of the prisoner from Jerusalem, who been on hunger strike, until 14/3/13.
Eye witnesses said he was brought to the court in an Ambulance and transferred to the trial in a wheelchair. His face showed how ill and exhausted he was; his suffering and poor health was clear due to his hunger strike for the last 195 days in protest against his re-arrest following his release in 2011 during the exchanging of the prisoners' deal.
Eye witnesses said the trial was suppose to be on 5/2/13, so the family were surprised to be informed it would be happening today (3rd February).
According to Fadi Abeidat, the lawyer representing al Essawi, Samer has become only bones and now weighs 48 kg. When he met him in Ramleh's hospital he found a person in the wheel chair who was very exhausted and unable to walk, even the short distance to the toilet. Abeidat said time is passing by, death might be soon since he is very weak and in poor health. His list of problems and symptoms include kidneys which might stop at any minute, pains in his body, inability to move his hands, shivers in his hands, sharp pains on the left side of his head, difficulty sleeping or moving his right leg, as well as irregular heartbeats, a high fever, pains in his left eye and hair loss.