2015: A Dangerous Escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque

January 9, 2016 7:14 AM IMEMC Agencies Holy sites, Jerusalem, News Report 0
09 Jan
7:14 AM

Wadi Hilweh Information Center has issued their 2015 yearly report and monitored the main events in the city of Jerusalem, with special attention given to Israeli violations against Jerusalemites and their properties.The center explained, in its report, that occupation authorities escalated their violations in 2015, a year which witnessed major events highlighted by Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the “ticking bomb” that escalates the situation in the city of Jerusalem, in particular, and the Palestinian territories in general, when violated. The Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, witnessed a popular uprising which started at the beginning of October,when dozens of attacks (stabbing, shooting, hit and run) were carried out in response to violating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque by both Israeli settlers and occupation forces.

Among the most prominent violations highlighted by the center, in 2015, were the violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem deaths, arrests, settler assaults, settlements, demolitions, collective punishment policy, deportations from Jerusalem, violations against the right to education and the suppression of various events in Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli escalation against Al-Aqsa Mosque continued in 2015, through joint assaults by governmental parties, right-wing extremist leadership and “alleged temple” groups supported by occupation police. Official calls to allow Jews to break into Al-Aqsa Mosque and practice their religious rituals inside it, without any time limits, continued in 2015; Jews were also encouraged to break-in through other gates in addition to the Dung Gate. Members of the Knesset and other leaders requested allocation of special areas for Jews to pray, in addition to preventing Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque during Jewish holidays.

Situations at Al-Aqsa Mosque escalated with the beginning of the Jewish holidays, in the second half of last year, and reached their peak in September and October, resulting in an uprising all over the Palestinian territories.

In August of 2015, occupation authorities started applying the “temporal division” of Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and settlers by imposing a siege on the Mosque and closing most of its gates for several days, in addition to controlling the entrance of Muslims and imposing restrictions on them, while providing settlers with complete protection and allowing them to break into Al-Aqsa through the Dung Gate, under the umbrella of the so-called program of “foreign tourism”.

The number of extremist settlers breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque reached 11,307 in 2015, with the month of September witnessing the largest number of break-ins (1,575 during the so-called “Jewish New Year” and “Sukkot”, followed by the month of April (1,213), during the Passover holiday and October (1,164) and November (1,015).

The break-ins happened every day except for Fridays and Saturdays, and were usually conducted through the Dung Gate,which was taken over by occupation authorities when they annexed East Jerusalem. Israeli authorities are responsible for this “break-in” program, which has been refused by the Islamic Awqaf and the Marabouts who continuously confront the extremists by chants of “God is Great” and maintaining a daily presence at Al-Aqsa.

The months which were hardest on Al-Aqsa Mosque were from the end of September until the beginning of October, to secure the settlers’ break-ins during the Jewish holiday “Sukkot”, where the holiday season always becomes that in which to violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a dangerous precedent and a new escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, occupation Special Forces raided (on 3/10/2015) the mosque and evacuated all Marabouts who attempted to stay and sleep inside Al-Aqsa, and, in another incident, forces executed arrests from inside Al-Qibali Mosque over two consecutive days, in September.

Settlers also launched a plane equipped with a recording camera over Al-Aqsa Mosque several times, while one settler raised the Israeli flag over Al-Aqsa courtyards. During these break-ins, settlers deliberately practiced their religious rituals and insulted the prophet Muhammad and his followers.

Closures and restriction on the entrance of Muslims

Israeli authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Prayers on 18 occasions last year (not including Fridays), and closed most of Al-Aqsa Gates except for “Hutta, Al-Silsileh, and Al-Majles” Gates; they prevented citizens from freely entering and exiting the Mosque.

Restrictions were imposed on men and women as follows:

July 26th: Preventing young men and women from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the Dawn Prayer; prevented continued until before noon.

On August 2nd, most of Al-Aqsa gates were closed from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and restrictions were imposed on the entrance of women and young men.

On September 13th, young men and women were prevented from enter Al-Aqsa to perform the Dawn Prayer, and restriction of the entrance of Muslims was imposed on the 14th and 15th, while young men and women were prevented from performing all prayers.

On the 23rd of September, men under the age of 40 were not allowed to enter Al-Aqsa to the Dawn prayer and no Muslims were allowed to enter on the 27th, for the Evening and Night Prayers.

On the 28th, 29th and 30th of September, men and women under the age of 50 were not allowed to enter Al-Aqsa for all prayers.

From October 1st until October 5th, men and women under the age of 50 were prevented from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the Dawn until the Night prayer, while on the 6th, the restrictions were only imposed between the Dawn and Afternoon Prayers.

During last August, occupation authorities obstructed the entrance of summer camps’ children to Al-Aqsa Mosque during their summer holiday and deliberately detained them by iron barriers at Al-Aqsa gates for no reason.

Clashes inside Al-Aqsa courtyards

Armed occupation forces raided Al-Aqsa Mosque 8 times during 2015, beginning on July 26th and, then, on August 2nd, and the 13th, 14th, 15th, 27th and 28th of September and, finally, on the 3rd of October. The raids usually occurred after the Night Prayer to evacuate the worshippers and Marabouts; two people were arrested.

Occupation authorities executed arrests from inside Al-Qibali Mosque for the first time, on the 14th of September, and once again on the 15th. They also raided the mosque on the 4th day of Al-Adha Eid, resulting in the breakout of limited clashes inside Al-Aqsa courtyards.

On the 28th of September, occupation forces brought iron shields on wheels inside Al-Aqsa through the Dung Gate, for the first time, to protect themselves from stones.

During the raids, Al-Aqsa courtyards were turned into a battle field, as forces attacked Palestinians present in the courtyards and assaulted them with sound grenades, rubber bullets and pepper gas, in addition to hitting them with batons. Also, snipers were stationed on the roof of Al-Qibali Mosque, which was closed with iron chains and wooden blocks, and was under siege.

Forces, in addition, damaged the windows’ protectors using special tools. They also deliberately fired sound grenades towards Al-Qibali Mosque, which led to the burning of several square meters of carpet inside the mosque.

Restrictions and banning young men from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the Friday Noon Prayer

Occupation authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of worshippers into Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the Friday Noon Prayer five times. Men under the age of 45 were prevented from entering Al-Aqsa and were forced to pray in the streets of Jerusalem and at the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem on the 31st of July, 18th of September, 2nd and 9th and 16th of October; note that restrictions were also imposed on the Dawn Prayer as well.

Friday Prayers were held on the asphalt, in the streets of Jerusalem and roads leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City and at Al-Aqsa Gates.

“Black List”

In a serious action taken against a number of Palestinian women, occupation authorities prepared a so-called “black list” at the end of August, following an order from the Chief of Israeli police in the Old City of Jerusalem, Avi Baytoon, against women who “create problems” inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to his claims.

In the beginning, the list included 20 names and reached 70 at the end of the year, and of mostly females. Occupation authorities not only prevented the people listed from entering, but also assaulted them and fired sound grenades, especially in August, September and October. They also harassed people at Al-Aqsa Gates and in the streets of the Old City.

Marabouts at Al-Aqsa Mosque

At the beginning of September, Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon, issued a decision considering the Marabouts at Al-Aqsa Mosque as an “illegal organization” which aims to disturb public security at Al-Aqsa, through obstructing the settler break-ins and, again, “creating problems”, as recommended by the intelligence service “Shabak” and the Israeli police.

Isolations from Al-Aqsa Mosque

Occupation authorities isolated 297 Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2015, for periods that varied between 10 days and 6 months, following orders from occupation police or intelligence. Among those isolated were 126 women, 9 girls, 8 minors, and 12 Al-Awqaf employees.

Interference in renovation works

Occupation authorities continued preventing maintenance employees from carrying out renovation works inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards, and additionally prevented construction material from being brought-in.

Deaths

Occupation forces, settlers and “guards” carried out several executions and cold-blood murders against Palestinian children and young men in the city of Jerusalem, as the Israeli justification to open fire towards them was always ready for those who are “attempting to stab or stabbing a soldier or a settler”. In most cases, the evidence to confirm the occupation’s claims were not revealed, despite the fact that most areas where incidents occurred have surveillance cameras in the streets. But, the Israeli authorities insisted on hiding the truth which confirms that what happened in Jerusalem was cold-blooded murder.

Forces deliberately left the injured bleeding on the ground, without providing them with necessary first aid that could possibly save their lives. Instead, they got busy taking off the shoes and clothes of an injured Palestinian man and humiliating him during interrogation, as revealed in recordings shared on social media. Footage also showed the possibility of arresting the suspect without killing him. Videos also showed settlers assaulting, kicking and insulting the injured in the presence of Israeli police, who provided them with full protection.

In 2015, 34 passed in the city of Jerusalem, including 6 boys and one girl

Geographical distribution of the slain was as follows: Jabal Al-Mukabber (6), Shu’fat refugee camp and Anata (4), Silwan (3), Beit Hanina (3), Esawyeh (3), Kufor Aqab (2), one in each of Al-Tur and the Old City of Jerusalem and one female Martyr from Qalandia refugee camp.

Also, 10 who passed away in the city of Jerusalem were from different areas in the West Bank (Al-Bireh, Qalandia, Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus, Qattana, Abu Dis and Ezaryeh).

At the end of April 2015, 17-year-old Ali Muhammad Abu Ghannam passed away after being shot at Z’ayem military checkpoint, under the pretext of attempting to stab a soldier; and, at the end of May, 48-year-old Emran Abu Dheim passed away after being shot by the occupation forces, under the pretext of attempting to carry out a hit and run attack in the village of Al-Tur.

With the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015, 20 people died in the city of Jerusalem, including 5 from the West Bank. They are: Mohannad Halabi, who passed away after a stabbing and shooting attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, resulting in the startup of the popular uprising, Basel Bassam Sider, Mohammad Nathmi Shamasneh, Mahmoud Khaled Ghneimat and Mutaz Qasem (all accused of stabbing attacks in the area of Damascus Gate, West Jerusalem and north of Jerusalem).

The Jerusalemite victims were Fadi Alloun, Thaer Abu Ghazaleh, Ishaq Badran, Mohammad Saeed Mohammad Ali, Mustafa Khatib, Hasan Manasra, Ala’ Abu Jamal, Baha’ Mohammad Alayan, Ahmad Fathi Abu Sha’ban, Mutaz Aweisat and Ahmad Qneibi ( shot under the pretext of carrying out attacks); Wisam Faraj and Ahmad Salah passed away during clashes in Shu’fat refugee camp, while Huda Darwish and Nadim Shkeirat passed away due to Israel’s long standing collective punishment policy of cement blocks imposed in Jerusalem, in which most of the Jerusalemite neighborhoods were closed and medical staff were unable to reach the wounded.

In November of 2015, 4 Jerusalemites passed and one person from Nablus passed away in Jerusalem. They are: Mohammad Abed Nimer, Hadil Wajih Awwad, Baseem Abdulrahman Salah (Nablus) and were accused of stabbing attacks while Mahmoud Alayan and Ayman Sameeh Abbasi passed away during clashes; Alayan in Ramallah and Abbasi in Silwan.

In December of 2015, 7 Palestinians passed away in Jerusalem. They are Omar Yaser Iskafi, Abdel Muhsen Hassouneh, Mousab Mahmoud Ghazali and Mazen Arabyeh from Abu Dis; Izz Eddin Radad from Tulkarem; Mohammad Saleh Abu Habseh and Issa Yassin Assaf from Qalandia refugee camp; they were all accused of carrying out stabbing, run-over and shooting attacks.

Occupation authorities not only murdered Palestinian children and young men in cold blood, they also harassed their families. After revealing the identity of the slain, forces would raid family homes, conduct search operations and damage the house contents, followed by arresting parents, brothers and sisters.

Despite the tough psychological situation parents are already in, after finding out that their child has been murdered, they are exposed to harsh interrogations, in the attempt to get them to confess that they knew about their child’s intent to carry out an attack; they are also threatened, verbally abused and terrified through several methods.

Forces also raided the houses of all slain Jerusalemites accused of attacks, taking pictures and measurements of their homes and threatening to demolish them and displace the residents. Occupation authorities served the families of Ala’ Abu Jamal and Baha’ Alayan orders to demolish and seize their homes in Jabal Al-Mukabber; the Israeli Supreme Court ratified the orders.

The Supreme Court also decided to deport Nadia Abu Jamal, wife of Ghassan Abu Jamal, and her children (Walid 7, Salma 5 and Mohammad 4) from the city of Jerusalem, after the judge ratified the Minister of Interior’s decision to deport the wife from the city and cancel the “reunion” application, as part of the collective punishment imposed on the families of the dead.

Detaining the bodies of the slain

As part of the punishment imposed on the families of the deceased, occupation authorities continue to detain the bodies of 14 Palestinians, based on a suggestion made by Internal Security Minister, Gilad Ardan, not to release the bodies of Palestinians who passed away while carrying or attempting to carry out attacks, in order to “limit attacks against Israelis in the city of Jerusalem in particular as well as other areas”, as he says. He also said that detaining the bodies will deter others from carrying out similar attacks, and that releasing the bodies and carrying out special funerals and burying them in well-known cemeteries which will become a “shrine”, afterwards, only encourages attacks for others. The body of Thaer Abu Ghazaleh, who passed away on the 8th of October, was the first to be detained.

Arresting 2,297 people including 860 minors

Occupation forces increased their series of arrests in Jerusalem and arrested hundreds of Jerusalemites. Following an order from the chief of police, occupation police formed a new unit, to chase “stone and Molotov Cocktails throwers”, which specializes in arresting and interrogating Jerusalemites. The unit is based in Jabal Al-Mukabber police center “O’z”, and has worked for two months in Jerusalem, carrying out random arrests for those who have open files with occupation authorities. Those detained would usually be released in the same day, or after extending their arrest several times without filing any charges against them. Most young men were subjected to house-arrest and deportation from their homes for periods between 5 and 15 days.

Last year, occupation authorities arrested 2,297 Jerusalemites, including 860 minors, 31 girls, 105 boys under the age of responsibility (between 7-12 years), 219 women and 69 students.

The months that witnessed the highest numbers of arrests were: October (480), November (268) followed by March (185).

In terms of the geographical distribution of arrest, it was as follows: Silwan (545), Old City of Jerusalem (440, Esawyeh (315), Al-Tur (202), Jabal Al-Mukabber (111), Beit Hanina (87), Shu’fat refugee camp and Anata and Dahyet Al-Salam (79), Wadi Al-Joz (67), Sur Baher and Um Tuba (67), Shu’fat (49), Al-Sowaneh (25), Kufor Aqab (20), Sheikh Jarrah (23), Beit Safafa (5), in addition to other arrests from the streets of Jerusalem including village and mosque gates.

Last year, 25 Palestinians who were shot by occupation forces or Israeli settlers were also arrested, including two women, a girl, 9 boys, two young men who lost their eyes, and two young men critically injured after being assaulted by settlers in “Ra’nana”. Despite their having critical injuries, occupation authorities detained them in Israeli hospitals and monitored with police; indictments were submitted against them and the judges extended their arrest several times in absentia.

Occupation authorities also detained 12-year-old Ali Ihab Alqam and 13-year-old Ahmad Saleh Manasra, in closed institutions and “rehabilitation centers”, on charges of stabbing settlers. According to Israeli law, Alqam and Manasra are under the age of responsibility, and cannot be arrested.

In conjunction with the random arrests against dozens of Jerusalemite children, occupation prison administration opened, last year, a new section for minor prisoners named “Giv’on” prison, in the city of Al-Ramleh. It is a new prison which lacks the most basic necessities of life, designed to harass Palestinian prisoners. Minor detainees are currently subject to bad treatment, beating, isolation and humiliation, not to mention the bad food provided to them, in terms of quality and quantity. After great pressure, authorities closed the prison and transferred the detainees to Megiddo and Hasharon prisons.

Administrative detention

During 2015, 33 Jerusalemites, including 4 minors, were transferred to administrative arrest following an order from the Israeli Minister of Defense. In October, 11 Jerusalemites from the village of Esawyeh, 10 from Silwan, 4 from the Old City, 2 from each of Sur Baher and Jabal Al-Mukabber and Kufor Aqab, and one from Shu’fat and another from Shu’fat refugee camp were transferred to administrative detention. The authorities have restored this type of arrest, based on “intelligence information” or testimonies by others, or both combined, but the evidence was weak and wasn’t enough to submit an indictment. If the indictment gets submitted, the judge will decide to acquit the detainee and release him; that is why the administrative arrest law is used.

Demolishing 80 establishments…and displacing 122 Jerusalemites

Occupation authorities did not take a break from demolishing residential and commercial establishments in the city of Jerusalem, during 2015, while using the same old pretext of building without a permit. The municipality also forced Jerusalemites to self-demolish their homes after threatening to imprison them and impose high fines, in addition to paying the demolition costs. On the other hand, the municipality did not give building permits to the residents of occupied East Jerusalem, by way of setting impossible rules for obtaining such permits.

The “demolition nightmare” is harassing thousands of Jerusalemites, after orders were distributed among them.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored the demolition of 80 establishments, where most were under construction and some were ready. The demolitions were as follows: 8 residential building, 22 houses, a residential barracks, 5 barracks used for horses and sheep, 3 farms, two warehouses, 11 residential rooms and a storage, 4 walls, 10 commercial establishments, 3 houses’ foundations and a balcony, a water-well, a poultry farm. Also, two lands were swept and Jerusalemites had to self-demolish 7 establishments (5 residential houses, a room and a bathroom).

The occupation also displaced 122 Jerusalemites, including 58 children, in 2015, due to demolition operations against residential establishments.

Among the establishments demolished were the family houses of those who passed away at the end of 2014, and were demolished using two methods (explosives or pouring concrete inside the house), as ordered by the Commander of Internal Front. Authorities closed the house of Odai Abu Jamal with concrete (built in 1936) and demolished the house of Ghassan Abu Jamal using explosives, which resulted in demolishing his brother’s house as well. They also demolished the house of Mohammad Ja’abees using explosives, and caused damage to his brother Shaker’s house. The house of Ibrahim Akari was also demolished using explosives, while a room inside the family home of Mu’taz Hijazi was closed with concrete; the occupation displaced 36 individuals from the families of the deceased.

Last year, demolitions also occurred in Silwan, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Esawyeh, Wadi Al-Joz, Beit Hanina, Salah Eddin Street, Atarot, Sheikh Jarrah, Shu’fat refugee camp, Al-Tur and Sur Baher.

Settler assaults

Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored settler assaults against Jerusalemites and their properties, and pointed out that, because of the lack of any restraint by Israeli authorities, settler assaults on Palestinians increased in recent years.

Settlers attempted, at the beginning of the year, to kidnap children in the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber, including the child of Martyr Ghassan Abu Jamal, and another child from the neighborhood of Al-Thori, in Silwan.

The center also monitored physical assaults against Jerusalemites, including three cases of shooting (Shurouq Dwayyat who was critically injured), and another in Al-Bazar market, in the Old City of Jerusalem, and a third one in Silwan. There was also an attempt to shoot a woman in Jabal Al-Mukabber, two stabbing attempts in Jabal Al-Masharef and by David’s Gate in the Old City. Twenty Jerusalemites were assaulted with sticks and iron bars in West Jerusalem and inside settlements, including two in “Ra’nana”. There were also 4 hit and runs carried out by settlers, and one woman suffered a miscarriage after she was assaulted along with her family members. Several injuries were also recorded among Jerusalemites, due to being assaulted with pepper gas in different parts in Jerusalem.

The center also monitored assaults on holy sites ( both Islamic and Christian). Parts of the Greek Orthodox School were set on fire at Mount Zion, south of Jerusalem, and slogans insulting Jesus and Christianity were written on its walls. Similar slogans were also written in three different places in Jerusalem.

Also, several cars were damaged in the village of Beit Safafa, and one vehicle was set on fire in the village of Um Tuba.

Jerusalemite neighborhoods, where settlers live, suffer from daily provocations which usually escalate into verbal altercations or clashes using hands. Settler guards also participate in assaulting Jerusalemites, and especially in Silwan, the Old City, Al-Tur and Al-Sowaneh.

Settlers tried to raid Silwan twice in October, and were stationed at the entrance of the village, where they used stones and empty bottles to assaults residents who confronted them.

Last year, settlers also organized marches, under the slogan “Death to Arabs”, in West Jerusalem and at the entrances of East Jerusalem, and in the markets of the Old City, where they vandalized Jerusalemite properties.

In terms of the crime committed by settlers in July of 2014, against the child Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, when they kidnapped and burned him, the case is still being debated in Israeli courts.

Violating the right to education

In terms of violations against the right to education and the level of discrimination against educational institutions in Jerusalem, the problem in Jerusalem remained unsolved in 2015. The problems were reflected in the lack of classrooms and the lack of new schools, wherein locals were forced to enroll their children in schools far away from their residences.

Israeli authorities escalated, in 2015, violations of the right to education, by raiding schools and arresting students while they were heading to their schools. Forces were also deployed at the schools’ gates, along with police dogs, and they deliberately sprayed schools with waste water.

The schools most affected during 2015 were, perhaps, the Al-Aqsa Legitimacy Schools, which educates 500 students. These schools are located inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Education was also disrupted in “Dar Al-Aytam” school, in the Old City, as well as the schools of Al-Tur, Ras Al-Amoud and Jabal Al-Mukabber.

The center explained that, during break-in days and clashes, occupation forces imposed restrictions on the entrance of students, and conditioned them to enter through Al-Silsileh Gate only. Some female students were prevented from entering, while males were only allowed to enter through Hutta Gate, which has become a daily procedure since the beginning of the school year. Police also detained several students and prevented them from going to their schools for no reason, while others were assaulted and subject to beating and arrest.

Education was disrupted at Al-Aqsa Schools on the 13th and 15th of September, and, on the 28th, was disrupted in the kindergarten and boys school, while the director of Dar Al-Aytam school was forced to stop the education process after the second class, on the 15th of September, after occupation forces descended on the roofs adjacent to the school, and randomly fired grenades and rubber bullets in the area.

Occupation authorities also prevented Al-Aqsa Schools from bringing in books on the first days of school, while the educational and administrative commission was forced to distribute the books outside Al-Aqsa’s gates.

Settlers and occupation forces broke into Al-Shamilah Boys School and the Girls Elementary School, in the village of Al-Tur, at the beginning of last year, with one soldier firing live bullets while standing across from Al-Shamilah School, when students were leaving. Forces also raided the Girls Basic School and Ibn Rush School in Al-Tur, and arrested one student.

Forces deliberately fired sound grenades and rubber bullets towards Al-Tur Schools and, once, targeted “Princess Basma School for special needs”, assaulting the guards and two teachers. In another incident, a student at Al-Shamilah School was injured by shrapnel from a sound grenade that was fired inside the school’s courtyard, when the students were at their sports class.

Israeli forces managed to deploy on Schools’ Street, in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud, Silwan, where they provoked and searched students. They raided Ras Al-Amoud School and searched all classrooms, arresting one student. A few days later, they raided the school again, and arrested the same student from the school’s courtyard. Students of Ras Al-Amoud Schools suffered from the daily presence of occupation forces and checkpoints established on Schools’ Street, where they targeted the schools with rubber bullets, sound grenades and tear-gas canisters, thus obstructed the educational process.

Forces also targeted several schools in Jabal Al-Mukabber and Esawyeh with grenades, in addition to a daily presence maintained on Schools’ Streets.

Occupation forces established checkpoints and placed cement blocks in the streets of Jabal Al-Mukabber, Al-Tur, Ras Al-Amoud, Al-Sowaneh and students were subjected to searches before and after school.

Health Institutions

Health institutions also had their share, in terms of assaults, in 2015. Forces raided Al-Maqased hospital 6 times during September, October and November. They raided the hospital’s departments, looking for people injured during clashes in Jerusalem. In another escalation, forces raided the hospital looking for the files of patients injured, while intelligence had specific names they were looking for. They confiscated a computer and a number of surveillance cameras from the hospital.

Al-Maqased hospital was targeted with wastewater, sound grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets, in 2015. Forces raided the outside courtyard of the hospital while firing sound grenades and rubber bullets towards the people, resulting in suffocation cases for several patients and the people accompanying them; a woman in the children’s department returned a tear-gas canister outside the window resulting in burns in her hand.

Occupation authorities also threatened to open an investigation against the medical staff at Al-Maqased hospital, under the pretext of “providing treatment to the youth who participated in clashes without informing the police.”

Forces also raided Augusta Victoria hospital, in the village of Al-Tur (Mount of Olives), and attempted to raid the Red Crescent hospital located in the neighborhood of Al-Sowaneh. They also broke into “Baladna” medical center, in the village of Esawyeh, looking for files of injured people, this in addition to Ein Al-Lozeh center, in Silwan, in an attempt to seize the body of Ayman Abbasi.

Occupation forces targeted an ambulance of the Palestinians Red Crescent and arrested injured people from inside the ambulance, under threat of weapons. They also searched the staff, in addition to firing sound grenades and rubber bullets towards the ambulance, not to mention obstructing the work of paramedics as they attempted to reach the injured.

Six Palestinians lost their eyes

During the past year, six Palestinians lost their eyes due to being targeted with rubber bullets. Three of them are from Shu’fat refugee camp (child Zakaria Julani, child Sami Amoudi and Nafez Dmeiri), Mohammad Burqan from Al-Thori in Silwan, Louai Faisal Obeid and Suleiman Tarwa from the village of Esawyeh.

Suppressing events in Jerusalem

Occupation forces deliberately harassed and suppressed Palestinian events and activities organized in the city of Jerusalem. They suppressed a peaceful protest which condemned closure of streets in the village of Al-Tur, and suppressed a celebration in Silwan, upon qualification for the professional football league. Forces raided two events which were held to celebrate the release of prisoners and suppressed them, in addition to suppression of the welcoming celebration of other freed prisoners.

Forces suppressed an activity at Damascus Gate on the anniversary of “Earth Day”, a protest against the “Flags’ Dance “and against the so-called “unification of Jerusalem”, the carnival of “Jerusalem is Ours”, longest human series requesting the release of Palestinian bodies detained by Israeli authorities, marches in Sheikh Jarrah and other marches in Jabal Al-Mukabber requesting the release of bodies.

Last year, the forces raided the Mount of Olives club several time, and confiscated cameras on one occasion; they also targeted the club with grenades several times and raided Silwan Club.

Deportations from Jerusalem

Occupation authorities issued, last year, military orders to deport six Jerusalemites from the city of Jerusalem for periods between 5-6 months, under the pretext of maintaining security and safety, and following a decision from the so-called Commander of Internal Region “Yoyel Satrik” (according to articles 6, 108 and 109 under the emergency law of 1945) and for the importance of protecting the state and the population’s safety, as well as public order.

Deportation orders were issued against Anan Najib, Obada Najib, Mohammad Al-Razem “Mufalfel”, Samer Abu Eisheh and Hijazi Abu Sbeih; the deportation order against Daoud Al-Ghoul was renewed at the beginning of 2015. Abu Eisheh and Hijazi refused the orders and decided to strike inside the headquarters of the Red Cross, in Jerusalem.

Press Crews

Occupation forces also targeted press crews while monitoring the events in the city of Jerusalem, and injured many of them with bruises and other wounds. They also raided the headquarters of “Pal Media” at the Mount of Olives, and issued fines to several journalists, while damaging their equipment as they monitored events in the city, and especially at Al-Aqsa’s gates.

A siege on Jerusalemite neighborhoods and village

Within the policy of collective punishment against Jerusalemites, occupation authorities imposed a siege on the villages and neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and closed the entrances with cement blocks, establishing checkpoints. They also distributed iron barriers in the main streets and roads, as part of the collective punishment policy used against Jerusalemites, after a decision was made by the Israeli Cabinet to close the Arab neighborhoods in response to attacks in Jerusalem.

Jerusalemite villages and neighborhoods, especially Esawyeh, Al-Tur, Sur Baher, Jabal Al-Mukabber and Silwan, suffered from the closures and residents will also be forced to look for alternative roads in order to avoid the heavy traffic, which could also put them at risk, due to the heavy deployment of occupation forces in the streets of Jerusalem. The checkpoints and cement blocks also delayed the civil defense staff, ambulances, medical staff and paramedics from responding to emergency cases at an appropriate time.

Residents also complained about being searched in a provocative way, after they were stopped, and had their IDs checked; the searching process also included females and children. Young men were forced to lift up their shirts and, at times, take off their shoes while women’s purses and bags were thoroughly searched.

Furthermore, tax authorities, municipality, Ministry of Health and Nature and Parks authorities harassed Jerusalemites at their workplaces, and especially in the Old City of Jerusalem, Esawyeh, Silwan, Al-Tur and Jabal Al-Mukabber. A state of financial recession occurred in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem during the last quarter of the year, when forces deliberately raided commercial stores and searched them. They also checked the permits and licenses of commercial establishments, and served some of them with evacuation notices, in the case that they didn’t obtain the necessary permits.

High fines were imposed on merchants for random reasons, including the presence of empty boxes outside the stores, smoking inside or at the stores’ gates, displaying merchandise outside the stores, this in addition to imposing fines on merchants because the stores’ signs did not meet required standards.

Settlements

Settlement organizations increased their activities, during the last year, and under complete protection and support from the Israeli government. Elad settlement organization seized a property owned by the Al-Malhi family, in March, (three residential apartments), two lands (a 500-square meters land owned by Abbasi family and a 1,200-square meter land owned by the Sha’ban family) in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh, in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, through “leaking” property and falsifying documents.

Last May, the settlement organization “Ateerat Cohanim” seized three residential apartments owned by the Abu Nab family of the Middle Neighborhood, in Silwan, after they were sold to them by Ahmad, Mohammad and Naser Abu Nab. They also seized a residential building last August, after buying it from its owner Jamal Sarhan. The building consists of 12 apartments divided on 5 floors, and the settlers seized 4 floors, with one tenant refusing to leave his apartment. At the beginning of September, the organization seized a house owned by the late Jihad Sarhan; it was also sold to them by Jamal Sarhan.

In October, Ateerat Cohanim also seized two houses from Sabri and Abdullah Abu Nab, in the area of Batn Al-Hawa, Silwan, under the pretext of ownership by Yemeni Jews before 1948. They claimed that the houses were once a Jewish synagogue. They seized the houses, with the support of occupation forces, after evacuating its 9 residents.

Occupation authorities continued, last year, to expand settlements established on Palestinian lands in Jerusalem. According to Israeli sources, 356 settlement units were built between January and September, and were distributed as follows: 64 in Nabi Yaakov, 11 in Pisgat Zi’ev, 72 in Ramot, 208 in Har Homah and 9 units in other areas.

In conjunction with this, occupation authorities are building the infrastructure for three projects, in order to build 400 settlement units in Ramat Shlomo, 700 units in Ramot and 700 in Gilo; they are expected to be built in 2016.

In terms of construction bids to expand settlements, 583 bids were proposed. In April, a bid for building 41 units in Pisgat Zi’ev and 36 in Nabi Yaakov was proposed, and another bid to build 68 units in Pisgat Zi’ev was proposed in July, while a bid for 438 units in Ramat Shlomo was proposed last November.

Last year, a plan to build 93 settlement units in Gilo was ratified by the District Committee for Planning and Building, in addition to another plan to build 900 units in Ramat Shlomo, part of a 1,500-unit project that was put on hold.

Last August, occupation authorities started building “religious pools” near the settlement of Maale Ha-Zeitim, established in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud, in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. This was funded by the “religious buildings” department in the occupation’s municipality. The land has been allocated for the use of settlers, despite it only being classified for “public use”; the municipality funded the project with nearly 1.5 million NIS.

Ateerat Cohanim seeks to seize 5,200 square meters from the lands of the Middle Neighborhood (area of Batn Al-Hawa), under the pretext of ownership by Yemeni Jews since 1881. They divided the area into 6 sections where 30-35 residential buildings are established, and where more than 80 families consisting of nearly 436 individuals live. All the residents have been living in the neighborhood for many years, after buying the lands and property from their previous owners with official documents. The organization served judicial reports to several families living in those lands, requesting them to evacuate.

The organization is also seeking to obtain building permits to build 3 settlement units in the neighborhood of Batn Al-Hawa, in Silwan, and consisting of 4 floors.

In March of last year, occupation authorities decided to confiscate 8,200 square meters in the village of Esawyeh (eastern area), until 31/12/2017, for military purposes; the decision was made by the Commander of Occupation forces in the West Bank.

Occupation authorities (Nature and Parks authority and settlement organizations) continue to dig tunnels underneath Silwan and the Old City of Jerusalem, causing serious damage to commercial and residential establishments in the area. Recently, cracks were revealed in several establishments and collapses occurred.

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IMEMC Agencies

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