During the first half of 2016: Seven Jerusalemite Martyrs…6272 settlers break into Al-Aqsa…arresting 963 Palestinians and demolishing 68 establishments
July 3, 2016

In the first half of 2016, the city of Jerusalem witnessed hundreds of arrests and isolations from Al-Aqsa Mosque as commercial and residential establishments and the Martyrdom of seven Jerusalemites.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the most prominent violations in the city of Jerusalem since the beginning of the year.

Seven Jerusalem Martyrs…continuing to detain Martyrs’ bodies

The center explained that the most prominent violation in the city of Jerusalem was murdering Jerusalemites with cold blood under the pretext of “attempting to stab or shoot”. The use of weapons to kill Jerusalemites was always the first option of the occupation forces who did not think about arresting Jerusalemites or even shooting to injure them not to kill. During the first half of 2016, seven Jerusalemites including a woman, girl, and boy passed away.

In January, 14-year old Ruqaya Abu Eid passed away after being shot by the guard of “Antot” settlement established on the lands of the village of Anata under the pretext of attempting to stab him. Also, 17-year old Mohammad Nabil Darwish passed away near the entrance of the military camp established on the lands of Abu Dis village after a locally made explosive device exploded in his hands.

In February, 20-year old Mohammad Abu Khalaf was shot by the occupation forces in the courtyard of Damascus Gate. Dozens of rounds were fired towards Abu Khalaf despite falling down and not posing any threat to the forces in the area; he was shot under the pretext of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack.

In March, four Martyrs passed away. Fadwa Abu Ter (52) was shot in Al-Wad Street in the Old City of Jerusalem under the pretext of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack, Fouad Abu Rajab (21) was shot after carrying out a shooting attack in Salah Eddin Street in the city, Mohammad Jamal Kaloti (21) and Abdel Malek Abu Khroub were shot after carrying out a shooting attack in the area of New Gate in Jerusalem.

The occupation authorities are still detained the bodies of 6 Jerusalemite Martyrs part of the collective punishment policy practiced against their families. They are: Thaer Abu Ghazaleh and Baha’ Alayan, who are detained since last October, Abdel Muhsen Hassouneh (December), Mohammad Abu Khalaf (February), Mohammad Kaloti and Abdel Malek Abu Khroub (March). The Martyrs are from the Old City of Jerusalem, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Kufor Aqab and Beit Hanina.

The Israeli Supreme Court had recommended at the beginning of last May to release the Martyrs’ bodies before the month of Ramadan but the Minister of Internal Security “Gilad Ardan” ordered to stop releasing the bodies at the end of last May claiming that Abu Jamal family had violated the releasing conditions during the funeral of their son Ala’ Abu Jamal. An appeal was submitted to the court against the Minister’s decision. Few weeks later, Ardan responded to the appeal and agreed to continue releasing the bodies of detained Martyrs and conditioned the police to set the location where the bodies will be buried; the court set a date on the 4th of July to discuss the appeal.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

During the first half of 2016, 6272 settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The month that witnessed the most number of break-ins was April (1868 settlers) since the Jewish Passover holiday also fell in that month. During June, 1282 settlers broke-in as the anniversaries of ‘Destruction of the Temple” and “Occupation of Jerusalem” fell in June.

In another escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the occupation forces raided Al-Aqsa Mosque twice in the month of Ramadan (June 26 and 27) and attacked worshippers with sound grenades, rubber bullets and pepper gas and injured dozens of them in order to secure settlers’ break-ins. The forces did not take into account the sanctity of the month and the presence of dozens of worshippers (elderly and youth). It is known that he police usually close Dung Gate during the last ten days of Ramadan (when Muslims stay and sleep in Al-Aqsa) and put the one-sided break-in program on hold but the police insisted on keeping Dung Gate open to allow settlers to break into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque which provoked the feelings of Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa.

An electric vehicle also broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque through Dung Gate and carried out a tour into its courtyards. The vehicle ran over one of Al-Aqsa guards while he was working.

The occupation authorities isolated 143 people from Al-Aqsa Mosque for periods that varied between one week and 6 months. Among those isolated were 18 women and 13 minors. The authorities targeted the elderly this year and isolated many of them from Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Arresting 963 Jerusalemites including 366 minors

The occupation authorities continued their series of arresting in the city of Jerusalem and arrested 963 Jerusalemites including 47 women, 58 elderly and 366 minors. Among the minors were 32 children under the age of responsibility (12 years) and 12 girls; April and June witnessed the most number of arrests.

The geographical distribution of arrests was as follows: Esawyeh (195), Old City of Jerusalem (178), Silwan (165), Al-Tur (92), Jabal Al-Mukabber (43), Shu’fat (33), Beit Hanina (32), Kufor Aqab (27), Sur Baher (26), Shu’fat refugee camp (24), Wad Al-Joz (17), Al-Sowaneh (14) and several other arrests from Um Tuba, Beit Safafa and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

During the last few months, the occupation forces deliberately carried out group arrests and specifically targeted villages and neighborhoods where they would raid residential houses and terrify and assault the residents and conduct random arrests.

Demolishing 68 establishments and displacing 71 Jerusalemites

The occupation authorities demolished several establishments following orders from the occupation municipality under the pretext of building without a permit or to turn the lands into “national parks” and open roads to connect settlements with each other. They also closed and demolished three houses following an order from the Commander of Internal Front as part of the collective punishment policy practiced against Martyrs and their families.

The information center monitored the demolition of 68 establishments and displacement of 71 Jerusalemites. The establishments were: a chapel, 24 houses, 3 residential building, 11 barracks, two rooms, two farmyards, 5 walls, a parking lot, 7 agricultural establishments, two playgrounds, foundations of buildings and parts of two houses, a chicken coop, container and two warehouses. Among the demolished establishments were 13 that were self-demolished by their owners in order to avoid fines and punishments of actual imprisonment.

One of the houses that were closed and demolished following an order by the Commander of Internal Front in the occupation army is owned by Safa’ Abu Jamal (Martyr Ala’ Abu Jamal’s sister). The authorities claimed to have intelligence information that the house is actually owned by Ala’. They authorities also demolished the inside walls of the house of Martyr Baha’ Alayan and closed the house of prisoner Abed Dwayyat with iron plates before even convicting him on charges of killing a settler by throwing stones towards his vehicle.

The geographical distribution of demolished established was as follows: Silwan (16), Esawyeh (11), Jabal Al-Mukabber (9), Al-Tur (6), Al-Sowaneh (5), Beit Hanina (5), Sur Baher (4), Shu’fat (2) and one establishment in each of Al-Musrara, Beit Safafa, Sheikh Jarrah and Dahyet Al-Bareed. The authorities also demolished 6 establishments in Bethlehem in lands that fall within the borders of the Jerusalem municipality.

Collective punishment

As part of the collective punishment policy practiced against Jerusalemites, the occupation authorities suspended the social security allowance of a group of Jerusalemite men and women who were arrested from Al-Aqsa Mosque and were isolated from it following orders by the occupation intelligence and police. They were classified as the “Marabouts” organization which is prohibited following an order by the former Minister of Defense “Moshe Ya’alon”. The social security allowances include health insurance, children allowance and guaranteed income.

The occupation authorities also suspended the social security allowance of prisoner Isra’ Ja’abees who is accused of attempting to kill a policeman by setting an explosive device last October and three other prisoners from the village of Sur Baher who were accused of causing the death of a settler by throwing stones towards his vehicle; they are: Mohammad Abu Kaf, Walid Al-Atrash and Abed Dwayyat. The authorities withdrew their residency along with prisoner Bilal Abu Ghanem.

Part of the collective punishment police practiced against Martyrs’ families and prisoner, the occupation intelligence cancelled the “reunion” application of the family member of Martyr Fouad Abu Rajab (father and 8 children aged between 2-19 years). The family had filed their application three years ago and submitted all required documents and requirements and were in the final steps of the process. It is noteworthy that the Martyr’s mother holds an Israeli ID.

The occupation authorities also deported 36-year old Rania Abbasi to the West Bank under the pretext of illegally staying in Jerusalem. Rania Abbasi is the wife of Jerusalemite prisoner Ala’ Eddin Abbasi who has been arrested since 2002 and is sentenced to 66 years in prison. She has three children; Safa’ (19), Sara (17) and Omar (14).

Settlers’ assaults also continued against Jerusalemites and their property during the first half of 2016. At the beginning of the year, they wrote racist slogans against Christians on the “Dormition Abbey” in Mount Zion in Jerusalem and also assaulted three Jerusalemites and severely beat them in West Jerusalem injuring them with several bruises and wounds.