The Center’s monthly report for September…Violations at Al-Aqsa, arrests and dozens isolated
Wadi Hilweh Information Center-Silwan monitored the Israeli violations against Jerusalemites in the city during the month of September which witnessed a serious Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa Mosque resulting in protests, clashes and arrests of many young men from Jerusalem. Al-Aqsa Mosque…closed seven times for Muslims and hundreds of settlers break into its courtyards Al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed a serious Israeli escalation in September by the Israeli government, Jewish groups and Israeli forces. The head of Internal Committee in the Knesset “Miri Rijb” officially called for dividing Al-Aqsa Mosque in between Muslims and Jews, similar to the division imposed in Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron; she was supported by deputies in the Israeli right wing and in the presence of extremist Jewish groups. More than 1595 extremists broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque in September which is the largest number since the beginning of the current year, and among them were the Israeli Minister of Housing, several Rabbis, official Jewish groups that support the building of the alleged temple, deputies in the Knesset and several other extremists that practiced their religious rituals inside Al-Aqsa and some that took rocks and olives for blessings. Note that more than six thousand extremists broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque since the beginning of the year through Dung Gate under the so-called “foreign tourism program”. Al-Aqsa Mosque was closed seven times this month by preventing young men under the age of 50 and 45 in some cases from entering, and preventing all Muslims including 500 students of the schools located in Al-Aqsa courtyards from entering on two days. They closure was from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. (i.e. foreign tourism time) where only extremists were allowed in. Muslims were prevented from praying evening and night prayers on 3/9, on 4/9 it was closed from dawn until before noon, on 12/9 all Muslims were denied entrance from dawn until noon, on 13/9 men under the age of 45 were not allowed to go in, on 17/9 Muslims were prevented from praying evening and night prayers, on 24/9 Al-Aqsa was closed for the night prayer and continued until the next day 25/9, and on the last Friday of the month 27/9 it was closed for men under the age of 50. The police forces were substituted by quick action force to suppress the Marabouts at Al-Aqsa and completely secure and protect the settlers during their tour. The Israeli forces (Special Forces, masked forces and snipers) also broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa through Al-Silsileh and Dung gates three times in September (4/9, 18/9, 25/9) and assaulted all worshippers by severely beating them and firing sound bombs towards them; they also surrounded a large number of worshippers in Al-Qibli Mosque and sprayed them with pepper gas which led to light to moderate injuries among them. The Israeli authorities isolated more than 65 citizens from Jerusalem and 1948 lands from Al-Aqsa for various periods that ranged between two weeks and six months; among them was Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy director of Islamic Movement in 1948 lands, Sheikh Ali Abu Sheikha and Omar Shalabi, secretary of Fateh movement in Jerusalem. Arrests…Musta’ribin participate in the protests and then arrest the young men In the light of events at Al-Aqsa and the continuous break-ins and Jewish calls to divide it, the city witnessed a series of protests and activities in support of Al-Aqsa and against the judaization of Jerusalem, and clashes broke out in several locations and neighborhoods. More than 180 Jerusalemites were arrested including a lady that was arrested towards the end of the month when Israeli forces raided her home and seized her ID and requested that she goes to Salah Eddin Street police station where she was investigated regarding the presence of workers from the West Bank at her house. Among the detainees were 30 minors (14-17 years old) and the rest were young men from the old city (Al-Sa’dyeh, Bab Hutta and Al-Wad Street), Sur Baher, Al-Sowaneh, Al-Tur, Silwan, Esawyeh, Beit Hanina, Shu’fat refugee camp and Jabal Al-Mukabber. The Center points out that the month of September witnessed group arrests during the protests at Al-Aqsa Mosque or in Damascus Gate, and most of the arrests were handled by Al-Musta’ribin units (undercover) as they were participating in the protests and chanting against settlers and in support of Al-Aqsa and often threw stones at Israeli forces, and then they would assault the young men and beat them. During the arrests, the young men and children were severely beaten and some of them were shocked with electric shocks. Settlers’ assaults on citizens and their properties The “price tag” group continued their assaults on the Jerusalemites’ properties in Jerusalem including an assault on the Latin Church in Silwan and Evangelical in Nabi Daoud as they damaged some gravestones and wrote racist slogans on others. They also slashed the tires of several cars in Sheikh Jarrah and used sharp tools to damage them in addition to writing racist slogans on the cars’ bodies. The city of Jerusalem is lately witnessing several attacks similar to the “price tag” group, and until mid-2013, there was around 165 complaints filed against them for assaulting Arab citizens and their properties in both the occupied lands and 1948 lands. The police arrested 67 of them and submitted indictments against 31. On the 5th of September, settlers of “Bet A’ort” assaulted the residents of the neighborhood of Al-Sowaneh, and tried to break in the neighborhood but the residents confronted them. An Israeli settler also assaulted 48-year old Maher Abu Leil from Simar Land (French Hill) while he was on his way to work along with assaulting several children from Esawyeh. Some other Jewish extremists assaulted two female students from Jerusalem while they were passing through Al-Sharaf neighborhood as they were pushed and punched in the face injuring them with bruises and terrifying them; note that they are both from Silwan. Extremists also assaulted two young Jerusalemites while they were standing outside their home in the old city of Jerusalem. Naser Qos, director of prisoner’s club in Jerusalem, said that a group of extremists assaulted two Jerusalemites while being outside their home near Al-Hadeed gate in the old city which led to the injury of 18-year old Hussein Jaber with wounds and bruises in his head, chest and back. Jaber added that he lost consciousness as he was directly hit with a rock on his head in addition to hitting him with their hands and legs; note that he is a special needs young man. Qos pointed out that minor clashes broke out between the extremists and the young men after the assault on Jaber, and the police arrived at the scene and arrested two of the extremists. Demolishing houses and barracks The policy of demolishing houses in the city of Jerusalem as citizen Shaker Nayef Ja’abees self-demolished his house in Jabal Al-Mukabber on the 5th of last month under the pretext of building without a permit. The demolition led to the displacement of 7 individuals; shaker, his wife and their five children where the oldest is 10 years old and the youngest is 10 months old. The civil administration bulldozers also demolished 10 residential barracks, and 10 more that are used to raise sheep and poultry in the neighborhood of Sheikh Anbar in the village of Al-Z’ayem on the 11th of September, under the pretext of building them without a permit. All of the barracks are owned by Al-S’eedi families and some of them have been established for 20 years and others built 10 years ago, knowing that this is the third time they demolish the barracks and led to the displacement of 100 individuals. The Israeli bulldozers dug a channel on the 9th of September between the village of Esawyeh and the settlement of French Hill because of security reasons, noting that the channel is more than 10 meters long and the land belongs to families from Esawyeh and have been seized for years. The digging came after the settlers of French Hill requested the municipality to dig a channel and prevent locals of Esawyeh from reaching the French Hill, arguing that the locals do “provocative action” against them such as throwing Molotov cocktails and damaging their properties. Demolition notices and evacuating houses Employees of the Jerusalem municipality “department of dangerous buildings” distributed evacuation notices for 20 families in Al-Qirmi neighborhood in the old city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of “dangerous buildings”, knowing that cracks and collapses occurred in three buildings in the neighborhood during last month due to the Israeli excavations underneath the neighborhood in addition to the lack of interest by the Israeli water company “Gihon” to do the necessary maintenance; note that the municipality did not provide the residents with an alternative. The Jerusalem municipality distributed administrative demolition orders in Silwan that included Wadi Hilweh playground and several commercial stores. The Israeli police handed out orders to several families in the old city which allow them to go on the roofs of their houses whenever necessary, especially at times of clashes. This negatively affects the families because the forces will fire bombs and rubber bullets from the roofs towards the young men which will put the residents of the houses and their properties at danger. The month of September witnessed several break-ins in the old city and Silwan where houses in Al-Majles gate and Al-Hadeed gate were broken into at night time and the residents were assaulted without taking into consideration the presence of women and children and Um Ala’ Al-Natsheh was injured during one of the break-ins; several houses were also broken into in Bab Hutta and the neighborhood of Al-Sa’dyeh in order to go on top of the roofs and the residents were assaulted whenever they objected. Several houses were also broken into in Silwan. The forces broken into the house of Khalil Abbasi “Abu Firas” under the pretext of “searching for weapons”, and two houses for Rayyan family, the house of Imad Abbasi, the house of Jawad Siam under the pretext of doing construction works, and two houses for Al-A’war family and a house for Al-Silwadi family. In most of these break-ins, the forces detained all residents in one room or forced them to leave the house and then damaged and messed with their properties.