Last year’s violations in numbers: 9000 extremists break into Al-Aqsa…the arrest of 1450 citizen…demolition of 95 establishments and the approval of building 2433 settlement units
Wadi Hilweh Information Center-Silwan issued the yearly report where the Israeli violations in the city of Jerusalem during 2013 were monitored. The Center said in its yearly report: “hundreds of citizens were arrested, dozens were assaulted, hundreds were displaced from their home, dozens of houses were demolished and thousands of citizens were prevented from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray while thousands of extremists and settlers broke in under different pretexts and Al-Aqsa was closed dozens of times and for the first time it was timely divided and the call to spatially divide it has been discussed several times by Israeli official in the Knesset.” The Center added: “Last year has been marked by the arrest of children as young as ten years old, and the assault of women and Al-Aqsa students (Masateb) as well as the distribution of demolition orders to 200 building at one time in Shu’fat refugee camp while approving or tendering to build more than 4,500 settlement units, despite the start of negotiations to resolve the final issues. Al-Aqsa Mosque… The Center said: “the year 2013 witnessed a serious Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa Mosque in terms of the Israeli government and Jewish groups as well as the Israeli forces as they clearly called to divide Al-Aqsa between Muslims and Jews in the sessions at the Knesset similar to what they did in Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron; they also revealed scheme to divide it and built the alleged temple on parts of it.” During last year, more than 9050 extremists including Ministers in the Israeli government, members of the Knesset, Israeli officials, 2342 Intelligence individuals and soldiers and 1876 “police guests” broke into Al-Aqsa according to the monitoring and documenting of the Islamic Awqaf in Jerusalem. September of 2013 was the most with the most break-ins as it witnessed the break-in of 1595 extremists during “Yom Kippur”, and 1133 extremists broke in during the month of July on occasion of the so called “destruction of the temple”, 1004 in March in “Pesah” holiday and 1007 in May on occasion of the Israeli independence day. The break-ins occur every day but Fridays and Saturday through Dung Gate which the occupation authorities took over when they occupied East Jerusalem and they monitor this program which is refused by the Islamic Awqaf and is confronted by the Marabouts at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The occupation forces prevented the Friday prayer 6 times in Al-Aqsa during last year; four consecutive Fridays in March and April, and two consecutive times in the month of September as they prevented men under the age of 40 from entering and praying. The occupation forces (Special Forces, snipers, Intelligence and Musta’ribeen), broke into Al-Aqsa 13 times last year in the months of February, March, May, September and December. The Israeli authorities isolated more than 350 citizens from Al-Aqsa Mosque for various periods from one week until 6 months with the possibility to extend those periods; among the citizens isolated was the director of the Mosque, Najeh Bkeirat. Some of the main events that took place at Al-Aqsa Mosque last year included a police officer kicking the Holy Qur’an and then stepping on it inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, taking off a woman’s veil, attempts to break into the Dome of the Rock in addition to raising the Israeli flag in its courtyards and drinking alcohol. An Israeli settler performed her religious rituals while wearing her wedding dress near Al-Qataneen Gate which directly overlooks the Dome of the Rock. During last year, one Israeli extremist called “Yehuda Galbek” managed to lead daily break-ins inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and despite creating problems in the courtyards and provoking Muslims, the Israeli police cancelled an order that was issued to ban him from entering Al-Aqsa for 6 months, and Avi Biton who is the chief of police in the Old City of Jerusalem promised Yehuda to protect him during his break-ins. The arrest of 1450 Jerusalemites including 450 children and 25 women Last year recorded a remarkable increase in the arrests of Jerusalemites, and the occupation didn’t exclude children, women, and the elderly or even patients from being arrested. The arrests included citizens from all Jerusalemite towns, villages and neighbourhoods (Esawyeh, Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Tur, Al-Sowaneh, Silwan, Wadi Al-Joz, and the neighbourhoods of the Old City, bet Safafa, Sur Baher, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Shu’fat refugee camp and Beit Hanina). The Information Center monitored last year the arrest of 1450 Jerusalemites including 450 children and 25 women. The months that witnessed the most arrests were the months of March, June and September while the month of February witnessed the arrest of a 5-year old child as he was arrested and detained for an hour inside a military vehicle. The month of January witnessed the arrest of an 8-year old child from Esawyeh and during the last days of December, the Israeli forces arrested 3 sever-year old children from the courtyards of Al-Aqsa. In a serious legal precedent, the police issued an order last November to arrest a 4-year old child from the neighbourhood of Al-Sa’dyeh, and after raiding the family’s home to execute the order, the officer was surprised to find out that Mohammad Zein Al-Majed is only 4 years old and withdrew from the house after threatening the father to call the child for interrogation. Last year also witnessed a violation to the rights of more than 20 children from the neighbourhoods of Jerusalem as they were interrogated in “cells 20” where the child is completely isolated from the outside world by extending his arrest for almost a week and is also prevented from talking to his lawyer in addition to the secret and confidential sessions he goes through; children are placed in solitary confinement that lack the lowest levels of life. The way and methods of arrests during last year were marked by arresting the children from their homes in the early morning hours or after midnight as well as the group arrests that were carried out after the suppression of events taking place in the city. Most of the arrests were done by the Musta’ribeen (undercover police) as they would participate in protests and chant and throw stones with the participants and would then assault and beat the young men and arrest them. Wadi Hilweh Information Center confirmed that the occupation authorities violated the Israeli and International laws by arresting children as they made it a priority to arrest them. The Israeli laws prevent the arrest of children between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. while most of the arrest in East Jerusalem took place in the early morning hours and the children are investigated alone without the presence of a companion; note that arresting children should be the last method used not the first as the child could be called for investigation with the presence of one of his parents. The Israeli laws require the presence of a companion with the child during investigation in addition to the presence of a specialized children investigator but the case is different in Israeli interrogation rooms and the police claim that they only do so for the benefit of the investigation and not to disrupt it. In order to psychologically pressure the children, the police handcuff the children during the arrest and interrogation which is also a violation of the detention law. The demolition of 95 commercial and residential establishments....and displacement of 446 Jerusalemites The demolition processes by the occupation’s municipality and civil administration continued in the neighbourhoods of the city of Jerusalem during last year. The municipality also forced several house owners to self-demolish their homes and threatened them to impose high fines on them and arrest them if they don’t execute the orders. The Center monitored the demolition of 33 residential establishments (residential buildings, rooms, houses and caravans), and also demolished 15 commercial and residential establishments that were under construction, 12 residential establishments were self-demolished, 35 barracks used for residence and raising sheep. The demolition processes led to the displacement of 446 citizens and took place in Beit Hanina, Shu’fat, Al-Tur, Al-Sowaneh, Esawyeh, Silwan, Sur Baher, Jabal Al-Mukabber, the Old City of Jerusalem, Beit Safafa and Salah Eddin Street). In an assault on the history and civilization in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Israeli bulldozers demolished last February arches and buildings in the form of arcs located on the north side of the Buraq Square in preparation for the implementation of the scheme to build a Jewish religious center in the arena known as the "House of Strauss" which will consist of 4 floors with an area of 900 square meters, and will be used as the main entrance to the tunnels underneath Al-Aqsa Mosque. The demolition and dredging were focused in 2013 on the areas that are threatened to be confiscated in favour of the so-called "national parks" project in Jerusalem (Al-Tur, Esawyeh, Jabal Al-Mukabber and Silwan). These processes were done under the supervision of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority. In addition to the demolition processes that were carried out under the pretext of “building without a permit”, the Jerusalem municipality does not grant building permits for residents of East Jerusalem because of the impossible conditions and huge amounts of money that accompanies the licensing procedures that stretches for many years. The nightmare of demolishing houses pursues thousands of residents in Jerusalem after the municipality had distributed demolition orders in the neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. The largest campaign was in Shu’fat refugee camp and the adjacent neighbourhoods (Ras Shihadeh and Ras Khamis) as the municipality distributed demolition orders to 200 buildings where 16 thousand people live, not to mention the notices that are distributed on an ongoing basis in all neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The occupation authorities also issued demolition orders to two Mosques in Silwan; the women’s chapel in “Mohammad Al-Fateh” Mosque in the neighbourhood of Ras Al-Amoud and “Al-Qa’qa’” Mosque in the neighbourhood of Ein Al-Lozeh. The Information Center points out that there are three types of demolition orders that the Jerusalem municipality distributes on the residents of East Jerusalem. The most dangerous one is the “administrative order” which allows the municipality’s staff to demolish the property in 24 hours; this is becoming the most common order nowadays and is usually distributed in the areas targeted by the Nature and Parks Authority. Another type is the “Judicial Order” which is issued by one of the Israeli courts and is postponed several times. The last one is the “land cleaning” which has been used in the past two years and allows the municipality to bulldoze wide areas of land under various pretexts. Settlers’ assaults... During last year, the extremist Jewish groups from “Price Tag” carried out several attacks against Islamic and Christian sanctities in addition to the assaults on the residents inside their homes or while working and even when walking in front of their homes. During last year, the “Ma’man Allah” cemetery was attacked twice and racist slogans were written on its walls and the tombstones of graves. Al-Nabi Daoud Mosque was also attacked and its Ottoman tiles and frontispiece were broken. Three other assaults were recorded on Christian churches and they are: “Church of the Dormition”, “Protestant Church”, and “Latin Church” as racist slogans against the prophet Issa were written and more than 30 gravestones were broken in the Protestant Church in the area of Nabi Daoud. A group of Jewish settlers also assaulted the Latin Church in Silwan south of Al-Aqsa Mosque and broke gravestones and wrote racist slogans. The settlers also carried out several attacks during their holidays; in the Jewish Holiday “Lag BaOmer” they deliberately set the fire near the houses and properties of Jerusalemites which led to the burning of the gardens of several houses and cars in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah as well as a car owned by the UN in Jabal Al-Mukabber; they also attacked Jerusalemites during the settlers’ march on occasion of the so-called “destruction of the Temple” and “Independence Day.” During last year; 4 Jerusalemites were stabbed using sharp tools and suffered minor to severe injuries, 23 citizens were assaulted using hands, rocks, sticks, glass and sharp tools; 10 citizens were sprayed with pepper gas. Among the people assaulted were 7 children, 5 women and 6 taxi drivers. Also, 65 cars were damaged where the settlers burnt 3 of them and slashed the tires and wrote racist slogans on the rest. On the other hand, the union of “Ateerat Lyoshna” seized two commercial stores in the old city, under the pretext that they were Jewish property before 1948. The settlers also tried to seize an apartment that belongs to Jaber family in Shu’fat as they tried to manipulate the Israeli Magistrate Court decision. Several more attacks carried out by settlers living in the Jerusalemite neighbourhoods were also recorded as they attack the residents with the help of their guards who often randomly fire live bullets. In the context of the attack on the land and property, the Israeli Magistrate court ordered the family of Siam to evacuate their house which is located in the western neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. The family has been living in the house since the 60’s of last century and the custodian of absentee property claims that the family only lives there since 1968 so that the family will lose all their rights and also requested the family to pay 40 thousand NIS to freeze the evacuation order. The settlers also tried to confiscate a house and a piece of land in the neighbourhood of Al-Tur in addition to their attempt to confiscate a property for Rweidi family in Al-Ein in Silwan as the settlers appealed the District court’s decision which confirmed the ownership of the land to be for Rweidi family; note that the property consists of 3 floors (5 residential apartments) where 30 people live and is owned by Jom’a Mohammad Salem Darwish Rweidi. Settlement... In the context of settlements, the occupation continued the suggestion of new settlement projects and continued the building of settlements even during the negotiations period which resumed four months ago. The occupation authorities ratified the building of 2433 residential units during April, August and last October. They also ratified the building of new settlement units in the courtyard of Lions Gate “Giv’ati parking” that is established at the entrance of Silwan, and also ratified the project of “National Park” on the lands of Esawyeh and Al-Tur last November which will confiscate 740 Dunoms of land owned by Jerusalemites. The Israeli government also decided to build 2015 settlement units in the settlements of “Pisgat Zeev” in Beit Hanina and “Har Homah” in Bethlehem, and “Ramat Shlomo” in Shu’fat, and “Gilo” in the village of Beit Safafa. Popular resistance... The activities of Popular Resistance committees in Jerusalem continued during last year and were confronted by the Israeli occupation. They built “Bab Shams” and “Younes Grandchildren” in order to confront the attempts to confiscate wide areas of land in favour of the settlement project known as (A1), and few days later the Israeli authorities evacuated the people and demolished what they had built and also arrested all activists present in the area, Also, parts of the Separation Wall that separates the city of Jerusalem from the villages of Ezaryeh and Abu Dis were demolished by Jerusalemite activists and Beer Nabala to emphasize the right of citizens to reach to the occupied city of Jerusalem. The Israeli forces also demolished the tent “Sumoud Al-Zaytoon” established on the lands of Shu’fat several times; note that the lands are at risk of being confiscated in favour of Road 21 which connects the Israeli settlements with each other. They also demolished the sit-in tent in Sheikh Jarrah that is established in front of the house of Shamasneh family several times last February as well as demolishing a sit-in tent in Esawyeh that was put up to support Samer Essawi while he underwent the open hunger strike. The occupation forces also harassed activists in the sit-in tent in Beit Safafa to challenge Street number 4 which aims at confiscating wide areas of land and separating the people of the village. During last year, the occupation forces managed to suppress the freedom of speech in Jerusalem by preventing all activities (social, sports and national) that were organized indoors and outdoors. They banned activities to support prisoners, Al-Aqsa, a march on Women’s Day, Earth Day, against Street number 4, Prawer Plan, week of Palestinian Child, the memory of late President Yasser Arafat, the Jerusalem Spring festival and a sports marathon. They also managed to target journalists and paramedics during events and incidents by chasing and assaulting them and arresting them sometimes. Educational process... The educational problems continued in the city of Jerusalem during 2013 where there was a lack of classrooms and not building new schools by the occupation’s municipality which forced the citizens to register their children in schools far away from their residence. The municipality closed the 6th grade in “Bi’er Ayoub” elementary school in Silwan at the beginning of the school year due to the lack of classrooms and distributed the students over several schools that are far from their homes. The schools most affected in 2013 were: Al-Aqsa where school was suspended for 6 days to secure the settlers break-ins; note that Al-Aqsa has 3 schools and they are: (children elementary school, secondary girls’ school and secondary boys’ schools) and has around 500 students. The education was disrupted several days in Dar Al-Aytam School which overlooks the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque and sound grenades were fired inside the school. The Israeli forces also arrested two students from Al-Zahra’ School and Al-Aytam while they were in front of their schools under the pretext of throwing stones.