May 2021 - An unprecedented escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque... Hundreds of arrests … and deportation decisions
In May 2021, the city of Jerusalem witnessed blazing events in which the mass of fire rolled over to include most of the city’s neighborhoods. It started in the Damascus Gate Square and moved to Sheikh Jarrah and then turned into an uprising to protect Al-Aqsa and thwart the settlers’ incursions resulting in clashes in Al-Aqsa after the occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan.
Al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed violent confrontations over the course of days, especially the last week of Ramadan, on the eve of the “calls of the alleged temple groups” to organize mass incursions on the so-called “Unification Day of Jerusalem”, which is the anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the city according to the Hebrew calendar. Settlers also escalated their attacks on Jerusalemites and their property, while hundreds of arrests were carried out in Jerusalem, and measures were carried out against the prisoners, their families, and the liberated prisoners.
The center monitored the occupation forces' incursions and injuries, as well as the sequence of events in the city in general.
The following is the chronology according to the date of events in Al-Aqsa Mosque:
3-5 Assault on worshipers in the area of Lions Gate- outside Al-Aqsa -, and sound grenades were thrown, coinciding with the flocking of worshipers to perform the Night and Al-Taraweeh prayers.
7-5 The storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque coinciding with the evening and Al-Taraweeh prayers, the besieging of the worshipers inside the chapels, the massive throwing of sound grenades and rubber bullets, the evacuation of thousands of worshipers, and the assault on those trapped inside the roofed chapels, and the prayers continued despite the continuous repression.
8-5 Assault on worshipers arriving at Al-Aqsa with beatings and grenades before the Evening call to prayer, at the King Faisal and Hutta gates "outside Al-Aqsa Mosque".
9-5 Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque after the end of the Dawn prayer, attacking worshipers with grenades and rubber bullets, and chasing them in the squares.
10-5 was a day in which the tide of events changed. It witnessed violent confrontations in Al-Aqsa from the morning hours until noon, and it was renewed with the evening and Al-Taraweeh prayers, worshippers remained in Al-Aqsa and lasted for hours, and thwarted the settlers’ incursion on this day and the yearly “flags dance” was cancelled in the streets of Jerusalem, in memory of its occupation.
Since the dawn of May 10th “28th of Ramadan", mass rallies have been launched in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Islamic and Palestinian flags have been raised, and roads and squares have been closed with wood and stones, and in front of Dung Gate - where the incursions into Al-Aqsa are carried out - the youths set up barriers to repel any incursions. And in the morning, the occupation police announced the cancellation of the settlers’ incursions for this day, and chants of God is Great were raised in Al-Aqsa, for their victory in preventing the settlers’ incursions into Al-Aqsa. After nearly one hour, the occupation forces stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa and fired sound and tear gas grenades and rubber bullets, and assaulted those present and repeatedly attempted to completely vacate its courtyardsfrom eight o'clock until before noon, while preventing entry or exit from it, and pursuing every person walking in the mosque by beating and threatening and shooting grenades or rubber bullets directly towards them.
11.5 Storming Al-Aqsa in the evening, attacking worshipers with grenades, rubber bullets and beatings, and trying to evacuate the people.
12.5 Storming Al-Aqsa after dawn prayer, assaulting worshipers with grenades, rubber bullets, and beating.
14.5 Assault on worshipers at Al-Majles Gate “outside and inside Al-Aqsa” by spraying pepper gas, beatings, and firing rubber bullets.
21.5 Violent confrontations in Al-Aqsa after the suppression of a march that started after Friday prayers, and centered on the roof of the Dome of the Rock.
Two martyrs in Jerusalem
16/5/2021 Shaher Abu Khadija, from the town of Kufor Aqab, was martyred, after carrying out a run-over attack against the occupation forces stationed at the entrance to "Karam al-Jaouni", in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem.
24/5/2021 Zuhdi Al-Tawil, 17 years old, from the town of Kufor Aqab, was martyred after carrying out a stabbing attack at the “light rail” station in Sheikh Jarrah (Street No. 1).
Detention of the bodies of Jerusalemite martyrs
The occupation authorities continue to detain the bodies of 5 Jerusalem martyrs in refrigerators: the body of the martyr Musbah Abu Sbeih (since October 2016), the body of the martyr Fadi al-Qunbar (since January 2017), the body of the martyr Aziz Aweisat (since May 2018), in addition to the martyrs Shaher Abu Khadija and Zuhdi Al-Tawil.
During the month of May, the settlers' attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem increased significantly, and several injuries were recorded, due to the settlers' use of their weapons and shooting at the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Shu’fat neighborhoods.
The information center said that the attacks escalated at the end of Ramadan and during the days of Eid al-Fiter, during which a young man in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was shot in the foot, and in Shu’fat, two young men were wounded, one of whom was shot “from the back and the bullet penetrated his abdomen,” and he underwent a surgical operation during which part of his stomach was removed, and also caused damages to the pancreas, intestines and liver. The other young man had fractures in the hand, and one of the young men was seriously injured after being stabbed by a group of settlers.
The settlers also fired at a group of young men in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood at the end of Ramadan. On the first day of Eid, the settlers attacked the residents of Silwan with stones. The next day, they fired at houses in the town.
Several attacks were recorded by settlers with stones against Jerusalemites at the entrance to the village of Issawiya, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Jaffa Street, Beit Hanina, and Shu’fat, which resulted in injuries and bruises to the residents.
On the 18th of last month, settlers beat a number of monks of the Armenian Patriarchate in the Old City, near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and one of the clergymen was wounded in the eye.
The occupation authorities escalated, in an unprecedented way, the process of carrying out daily arrests in the city of Jerusalem, whether field arrests “from Al-Aqsa and its roads, Sheikh Jarrah, Damascus Gate and the adjacent streets,” or arrests after storming homes in all towns and neighborhoods in the city.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem monitored the used of excessive force during field arrests and during detention inside police vehicles, and the occupation did not distinguish by arresting boys, young men and women, and many detainees sustained fractures in the "hands, noses, and chest area”, in addition to wounds in the face, head and back, and several detainees were transferred from interrogation centers to hospitals for treatment, some of whom remained in detention, and some of them were released on condition that they return to investigation after treatment.
Detainees were accused of several charges, most notably: “participation in confrontations, throwing stones, cans, fireworks, Molotov cocktails, raising the Palestinian flag, chants of God is Great at Al-Aqsa, tearing up the “Israel flag”, destroying surveillance cameras, assault on the police and attack on settlers. Dozens of detainees were presented with indictments, while some are under investigation, and hundreds were released under various conditions and restrictions.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center - Jerusalem monitored 677 arrests from the city during the month of May, including: 116 minors, among them about 20 arrests of children aged 13-14 years, in addition to 32 females, including 8 girls.
The center added that among the detainees were 6 school students, who were arrested while on their way to their schools or after the end of their school day on the way back to their homes.
Field arrests were distributed, between Al-Aqsa and its gates (117 cases), Damascus Gate and its nearby areas (138 cases) and from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood (79 arrests). Also, hundreds of arrests were recorded from different towns and neighborhoods in the city of Jerusalem.
As part of the policy of collective punishment against the released prisoners, the occupation authorities have cut off the right to “national health insurance” for 19 Palestinians and their families, including 3 prisoners in prison and the wife of a Palestinian prisoner, and the rest are freed prisoners, who have been subjected over the past years to arrest, repeated summons, and deportation from Al-Aqsa or from the city of Jerusalem entirely, or by preventing entry to the West Bank”, and suspending their bank accounts, as the families were surprised to have their health insurance cut off while they went for treatment at health centers, without any warning or legal clarification.
Last May, the occupation authorities transferred 11 Palestinians to administrative detention by a decision of the Minister of the Army, for a period ranging between 3-6 months, including prisoners whose health insurance was cut off.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the occupation authorities escalated the issuance of deportation decisions during the month of May. The center monitored, through its lawyers, more than 270 deportation decisions issued in May, including deportation from Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, and the Old City of Jerusalem, in addition to order preventing entry into the West Bank, Damascus Gate and the adjacent streets, for varying periods of time between one week and six months, and decisions were issued through the courts or took place after hours of investigation in the investigation centers, especially in Al-Qishleh center in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Salah al-Din Street police station.
The center added that the occupation authorities expelled dozens of young men and girls who were arrested from the Sheikh Jarrah area from the neighborhood, and also deported a number of young men from their areas of residence, "Al-Tur, Issawiya, and Jabal Al-Mukabber."
Sheikh Jarrah and Bab Al-Amoud
Over the course of last May, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood witnessed a daily presence and sit-in, rejecting the eviction decisions that threaten dozens of residents under the pretext of “Jewish ownership of the land.” Protests were faced with suppression by the occupation forces using grenades, rubber bullets, beating, wastewater and cavalry units to disperse the gatherings, in addition to random arrests and deportations from the neighborhood. Also, the forces closed the entrance of Karm Al-Ja’ouni with barriers and erected police checkpoints and then placed cement cubes, and prevented entry except for the residents of the neighborhood.
Events escalated in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after the 6thof last month, after dozens of settlers attacked Palestinians with pepper gas and stones, coinciding with the Evening call to prayer while they were breaking their fast, and violent confrontations erupted inside the neighborhood.
On the same day, extremist MK Itamar Ben Gavir stormed the neighborhood, hours after he announced that his office would be moved to the center of the neighborhood “to monitor the police’s treatment of rioters,” as he put it, and set up his office in front of the looted al-Ghawi family building. For weeks, settlers’ attacks escalated on Jerusalemites and their property and constantly insulted them.
The Damascus Gate square and the surrounding streets also did not calm down, as they witnessed daily confrontations between young men and the forces, who pursued them and tried to prevent them from sitting and being in the area.
During the forces' suppression of the confrontations, the grenades were deliberately used indiscriminately towards houses and lands, especially in the town of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, which led to the burning of vehicles and trees, especially in Silwan.
All the towns of Jerusalem witnessed daily night confrontations.
During the month of May, hundreds of injuries were recorded among Palestinians, according to the various medical teams, especially the Palestinian Red Crescent - which issued daily data on injuries in Jerusalem. More than 1,000 injuries were recorded / half of them were transferred to hospitals for treatment, many of which were described as serious, and the injuries were concentrated in the face, head, and chest.
On the 7thand 10thof May, the highest number of injuries was recorded, as more than 600 injuries were recorded.
Targeting press and ambulance crews
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the occupation forces targeted press crews and paramedics, while doing their work in the city, especially in Al-Aqsa, Sheikh Jarrah and Damascus Gate, by beating and spraying wastewater towards them, assaulting and pushing them, and obstructing their access to the scene, in addition to arresting journalists Zeina Al-Halawani and Wahbi Makiya from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and they were released after 5 days of arrest, on the condition that they be deported from the neighborhood, and a paramedic from the neighborhood was arrested at the beginning of Ramadan.
The Christian celebrations of Easter were not spared from the Israeli attacks, as the monks and a number of young men were beaten and pushed during the Holy Saturday march in the Old City, as they tried to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to participate in religious rites and celebrations for the holiday.