Provocations by Israeli soldiers and settlers continued in the occupied Palestinian territories, on Wednesday, with multiple violations occurring across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while militant Jewish settlers again broke into al-Aqsa Mosque via the Mughrabi gate.West Bank
Masked Israeli forces were reported to have brutally attacked a 13-year-old elementary student before taking him into custody from inside his school, in the old town of Hebron, according to the student’s father, Arif Jabir.
Mr. Jabir told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that forces raided the school, attacked and severally beat his son Bara’a before leading him out of the school in a brutal manner and using foul language.
The soldiers violently forced Bara’a into the back of a military jeep, severely bruising his body. He was transferred to a hospital for treatment.
WAFA notes that educational facilities, including students and teachers, are not spared from Israel’s regular attacks, including obstruction of access to schools and the violation of the right to education.
During the recent 51-day military assault on the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces bombarded a number of schools, including those run by the UN — a serious violation of international law.
Israeli forces, on Wednesday, also demolished several structures used for housing and livestock, in addition to a traditional oven in Yatta town, to the south of the Hebron and Jerusalem districts, according to local activist Rateb Jabour.
Mr. Jabour, who is coordinator of the local anti-wall and settlement committee said that a large Israeli force, backed by bulldozers and military jeeps, broke into Khashem al-Daraj, where they cordoned off the area and demolished a residential structure, a cave, an out-door toilet facility and a livestock shed, all which belong to Mustafa, Mousa and Eid al-Tibni.
Jabour slammed the demolition as an ‘arbitrary act of revenge’ perpetrated as part of Israeli plans to displace Palestinians and illegally replace them with Israeli settlers.
Meanwhile, forces demolished a traditional tabon (oven) in the village of Umm al-Khair, to the east of Yatta, under the pretext that it disturbed Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of ‘Karmiel’.
Mr. Jabour additionally stated that Israeli forces demolished a traditional oven for the second time in just a week, under the pretext of unlicensed building. Forces brutalized anyone who attempted to confront them and save the oven, inflicting multiple wounds and bruises on several local residents.
The tabon provides bread for the family who owns it, as well as for other members of al-Hathalin family.
Israeli settlers frequently harass Palestinian locals. Last February, a settler from ‘Karmiel’ filed a lawsuit claiming that he, along with his family, suffer from the smoke emitted by the oven and requested a compensation of some $72,000.
To the west of Salfit, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces raided the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, where they kidnapped five Palestinians after inspecting their homes.
The Salfit governorate issued a statement which identified the five as Majd Nassim Assi, 23, Ali, 20, Ahmad 22, Layth, 19, and Muhammad Rayyan, age19.
Governor of Salfit, Mr. Issam Abu Bakr, denounced the raiding and inspection residents’ homes, as well as the arrests which followed. He said that most of those who are arrested by Israeli forces are youth and children.
According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Israel has arrested a total of 3,000 Palestinian children since 2010.
Abu Bakr noted that such actions appall residents and deprive children from living a normal life.
He further called on human rights organizations to take urgent action in stopping all aggressive Israeli practices against Palestinians in the Salfit district.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Israeli police, accompanied by West Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers broke into Silwan, where they demolished the a cave-like structure used as a shelter by a Palestinian family.
The cave is located in a plot of land belonging to Khaled al-Zir, who, together with his family, were forced to take shelter in the cave following the demolition of their house, again under a pretext of unlicensed building.
Khaled and his relative, Fahmi, were both brutally assaulted and abducted, following a confrontation with Israeli troops as they attempted to stop the demolition process.
According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, the residents of Umm al-Khair are originally Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their original homeland of ‘Arad and Beersheva in 1948.
WAFA further reports that the residents of this village, as well as those of Khashem al-Daraj, are mainly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. More than 85% of the residents are engaged in agricultural activities, especially animal husbandry.
Jewish militant settlers again broke into al-Aqsa Mosque through the Mughrabi gate, on Wednesday, as well, touring its yards in a provocative manner under the protection of Israeli police, said witnesses.
Israeli police were stationed at the gates of al-Aqsa, where they imposed strict measures on worshipers who wished to enter the compound, seizing identity cards and returning them when they had left the compound.
Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli police, on Tuesday evening, also stormed al-Aqsa, raided al-Marwani Mosque, and seized the back packs of students who study there.
Furthermore, several extremist Jewish organizations which call for the demolition of al-Aqsa Mosque and construction of the “Jewish Temple”, have reportedly organized a conference under the title of “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount”.
The conference coincides with the Jewish event which celebrates a group of Jews’ journey of prayer at what they consider to be the ‘Temple Mount’, set to be held in the presence of high ranking Israeli figures, right-wing parties and members of various “Temple Mount” extremist groups.
The ceremonies celebrating this event will last for an entire week.
Jewish groups have called for a mass raid of al-Aqsa Mosque, during which they are expected to perform provocative tours and prayers. According to sources, they aim to schedule a program for the Jewish Students of the Temple and Israeli rabbis to visit al-Aqsa compound.
Jews hold al-Aqsa to be the site of the first and second temples, with a number of advocates attempting to recruit Christian groups (mostly of Western denominations) into the campaign, with some having gone so far as to suggest bombing the mosque.
Christians at large, however, remain divided on the issue, as biblical prophecy states: ‘I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.’ ~Revelation 21:22
Escalating attacks against both Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Israel and the oPt now total over 500, in just the past five years.
A number of churches have since taken up the cause of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in response to the violations by both Israeli authorities and settlers in this regard.
Pope Francis, on the last day of a recent 3-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, called for allowing all believers free access to holy sites in Jerusalem.
The mounting tension in the Old City of Jerusalem has sparked numerous violent confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli settlers backed by police.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently administered by Jordan, according to a treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994, WAFA further notes.
As the main custodian of all Muslim and Christian sites in Palestine, Jordan expressed concerns over calls by several prominent Israeli officials to take over the sovereignty of the holy site.
According to media sources, a debate held in the Israeli Knesset, introduced under the title “The Loss of Israeli Sovereignty Over the Temple Mount”, was initiated by Moshe Feiglin, a Jewish far-right member of PM Netanyahu’s Likud party, to take control of al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli forces, on Wednesday, abducted at least nine Palestinians from the occupied West Bank districts of Jenin and Nablus, while taking on youth from the Jerusalem area, according to reports by local and security sources.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians in the town of Qabatiya, to the south of Jenin, after raiding and searching their families’ homes. They were identified as Ibrahim Sabaghneh, 53, Tariq Abu Elrob, 20, and Asyad Zakarneh, 22.
Forces also took Bilal Sharqawi and Ahmad Torkman, both from the town of Yabod, while they were present at ‘Dotan’ military checkpoint, near Jenin.
Meanwhile, forces detained and interrogated two brothers from the same town, for hours, before releasing them.
WAFA further notes that the town of Yabod is a target destination for daily Israeli raids and arrest campaigns, leading to regular confrontations, the last of which took place on Tuesday, where four Palestinian youth were shot with live ammunition; one of the injured is reported to be in critical condition.
In the town of Jaba’a, forces abducted two brothers; Mahmoud and Mohammad Khalilyeh, 35, 45, respectively, and Nayif Hamammreh, 30, following a raid on their homes and motor shops, where they confiscated a motor bike and several car parts.
In Nablus, forces took into their custody 31-year-old Samih Jaber, from the town of Aqraba, to the south, after raiding his family home.
In occupied East Jerusalem, special police units further raided the town of Silwan, to the south of the Old City, where they took Morad Ghaith, who was taken to an interrogation center in Jerusalem.
Police also kidnapped Sameera Edrees, from Jerusalem, as she tried to leave al-Aqsa Mosque from one of its main gates; she was subsequently led to a police station in the Old City.
The police additionally arrested an elderly at the compound. His identity remains unknown, but he was reportedly taken for chanting religious slogans and attempting to fend off settlers’ who broke into the holy compound.
According to guards who work at al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli police seized worshipers’ identity cards at the main gates and referred many of them to a detention center for further interrogation.
See this week’s Opinion/Analysis section for further information on the escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.