A journalist learns that if you photograph Border Policemen committing a felony, you’ll probably end up paying for it.
Near the end of January 2015, Amin Hassan Raneh Alawiya left his home in East Jerusalem’s Al-Azariya neighborhood and made his way to a wedding. As he later described it in his police complaint, upon leaving the house, lawiya – a photojournalist by profession – noticed a demonstration taking place nearby. Naturally, he picked up his camera and went over to document it. A Border Policeman, whom Alawiya recognized, ordered him to move away. In fact, he gave Alawiya the choice of either moving away, getting arrested or getting shot. Alawiya went back home and photographed from there.
Two policemen then came to the house and called Alawiya to come out. When he did the two cops jumped him. They continued hitting him as he was led to their vehicle, and from what they said on the two-way radio, Alawiya understood that he was to blame for disregarding their instructions. Inside the vehicle, the policemen kept hitting him, one of them shouting “this is for our friend” and “our friend will shoot you,” using the name of a third policeman. One of them also used the opportunity to curse the founder of Islam, Muhammad, until the other one told him to stop.
Who is the third cop? Ah! This is the core of the story. In May 2014, as part of his job, Alawiya documented Border Policemen assaulting a hooded child in East Jerusalem, after he was suspected of throwing stones. The policemen also took photos of themselves with the wounded child. The “friend” is one of those documented in Alawiya’s video, which enjoyed widespread distribution on Al Jazeera and other networks. Ever since, he says, he became a target for the Border Police in East Jerusalem, which he claims prevent him from filming in the city and even broke one of his cameras.
Alawiya’s detention in January was part of the Border Police’s quest for vengeance. One of the problems with police forces, particularly forces that are not subject to serious oversight, is that they tend to become a kind of gang: the permeation of a culture of violence and lies becomes common. We have seen the violence, now let’s deal with the deceitfulness.
After his detention, Alawiya was held, handcuffed and blindfolded, in the Abu Dis Border Police base for some two hours. He was then transferred to the police station in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Edumim. There he requested to file a complaint of assault against the cops, but the officer present refused to receive the complaint, and told him he should turn to Israel’s Internal Affairs Division. As we will see, this was a hollow demand that reflected the police’s negligence. Alawiya was immediately informed that he was charged with assaulting and obstructing an officer. The police then demanded Alawiya sign a document saying he was not attacked by the police. He did so, but added in Arabic that it was he who was assaulted. Soon afterward, Alawiya was led to an interrogation room, where he was informed by the interrogator that he was suspected of obstructing an officer.
Did you get what, according to the complaint, just happened? Prior to signing a document saying he was not assaulted by the police, Alawiya was accused of assaulting an officer. After he signed the document, the charge of assaulting an officer simply evaporated. There is a method here, well-known to veterans of demonstrations in Israel and East Jerusalem: as soon as you complain about police brutality, you are automatically charged with assaulting an officer.
When a police force fabricates a complaint against a civilian, especially after he complains of being assaulted by a cop, there is, to put it mildly, a gross misunderstanding of the function of the police. Its duty is to maintain law and order, not to protect itself. When it distorts reality, it lies to itself, to the public that pays its salary and to the courts. When it pins false charges on a person, it is conspiring to damage his good name, his livelihood, and in the worst case scenario, deprives him of his liberty. It then ceases to be the servant of the public and becomes its enemy; it ceases being a vehicle for safeguarding human rights and becomes a tool for their denial.
Alawiya couldn’t file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Division, since he lives in East Jerusalem, specifically in a neighborhood that lies east of the separation wall. Despite the fact that Israeli Police (which includes the Border Police) have been active in East Jerusalem since it was occupied in 1967, there is no Internal Affairs Division station there. In order to lodge a complaint, Alawiya either needs a permit to enter Israel, or needs to use mediators such as human rights organizations. He says that ever since he documented the young boy being abused in May 2014, his permit has been denied.
And if you thought that was bad, the story doesn’t end there: a relative of Alawiya paid NIS 2,000 for his release on bail, since being assaulted by police and and then being wrongfully detained means you need to post bail. The relative, however, did not receive a receipt for the money. What happens to money given to a policeman when no receipt is given? Your guess is as good as mine.
In March 2014, Yesh Din Attorney Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man, sent a complaint to the Internal Affairs Division, demanding an immediate investigation on suspicion of, inter alia, false arrest, assault, abuse of the power of office and conduct unbecoming.
Given that in 93 percent of the complaints submitted in 2011-2014, the Internal Affairs Division closed the case without any investigation; that of the 11,282 complaints in the years 2011-2013, only 2.7 percent turned into indictments; and that the former chief of the division is on record saying that the police suffer from a “culture of lies” and that policemen cover for each other, one cannot hope too much that a journalist who exposed the face of the police will see justice. And these, we note, are the results for all complaints to the Internal Affairs Division, not just those by Palestinians. We’ll keep you posted.
The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights issued its monthly report on Israeli violations against the Palestinians during April of 2015, and said that seven Palestinians were killed, and 375 were injured.
The report documents Israeli violations against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.
Head of the Ahrar Center Fuad al-Khoffash said occupied Jerusalem remains the most targeted district compared to other Palestinian districts in the occupied West Bank, especially since the soldiers and police conduct daily violations against the Palestinians, their homes and property.
Three Palestinians were killed in the last week of April, while at least 39 others, including four children have been injured.
Two other children were also wounded due to the explosion of a remnant object of the Israeli military, south of Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Two Palestinian civilians were killed in two separate incidents in Hebron and Jenin in the West Bank, while the third, who was a child, was killed at a military checkpoint in occupied Jerusalem.
In occupied Jerusalem also, 26 Palestinian civilians, including two paramedics, were wounded during protests that followed the killing of the child; 12 others, including three children, were wounded during other protests in the West Bank and the fourth child was wounded in the Gaza Strip.
Ahrar said the army kidnapped at least 19 Palestinian women, including legislator Khaleda Jarrar, and that most of the arrests took place in the courtyards of the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. It added that the army kidnapped at least 55 children, mainly in Jerusalem, followed Hebron and Bethlehem, during repeated Israeli military invasions and assaults.
In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped at least 113 Palestinians (including the 55 children), 86 in the southern West Bank District of Hebron, 54 Palestinians in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, 40 in Bethlehem, 29 in Ramallah, 11 in Qalqilia, 4 in Tulkarem, and one in Salfit.
Palestinians Killed In April, As Documented And Reported By The IMEMC
On 27 April 2015, Israeli forces opened fire at 19-year-old civilian while he was in his farmland near the annexation wall in the west of Arqa village, west of Jenin. As a result, he sustained a bullet wound to the testicles due to which he suffered severe hemorrhage and died hours later.
On 25 April 2015, Israeli forces killed a 20-year-old Palestinian civilian crossing via an electronic gate at the entrance of the Ibrahimi mosque, south of the old city in Hebron, reportedly, after he stabbed an Israeli soldier at the said gate.
On April 24, soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian, near the Zaim military roadblock, east of occupied Jerusalem.
On April 14, a fighter of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, died of serious complications resulting from his injury by an Israeli missile during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza eight months ago.
On April 10, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man during the funeral ceremony of a former detainee, who was denied access to proper medical attention, while being held by Israel.
On April 8, another Palestinian was shot and killed allegedly after stabbing two soldiers, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
BETHLEHEM – The US Court of Appeals in New York has rejected an appeal from a group of 13 Palestinians seeking damages for alleged “terrorist attacks” by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported Friday.
The complaint was filed against US-based charities that financially support settlements, alleging that such support leads to terrorist activity and is in violation of US anti-terrorism laws, reported Israeli news source Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The USA Patriot Act enacted in October 2001 prohibits citizens from “knowingly providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.”
Plaintiffs in the case argued that charities were financially supporting terrorist activity by funding settlers who have carried out acts of violence against Palestinians and their land, and desecrated houses of prayer.
Charities accused in the case included Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, the Hebron Fund, Central Fund of Israel, One Israel Fund and American Friends of Ateret Cohanim.
After District Judge Jesse Furman initially rejected the case last year, the appeal was rejected again this week by a panel of appellate judges.
“American federal judges recognize the difference between the financing of murder and violence… and legitimate bona fide financial support of the daily needs of peaceful Israeli settlements over the Green Line,” Israeli Haaretz quoted attorney Nathan Lewin, who represented the charities in the trials.
Privately funded violence
The dismissal of the case is a setback for those fighting to shed light on private US funding that is currently helping to sustain illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, as well as the violence that results from it.
While the U.S. government has condemned ongoing settlement expansion, its citizens have been able to freely donate millions to the illegal enclaves.
The New York Times identified at least 40 American groups in 2010 that had collected over $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the last decade.
Israeli watchdog Americans for Peace Now have long fought against tax-exempt donations to settlements.
Among other criticisms, the groups point out that IRS regulations exempting charities from tax deduction define a charitable organization as one that “includes relief of the poor and distressed or of the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening of the burdens of government; promotion of social welfare.”
Such a definition does not extend to charities funneling funds to the Jewish-only settlements of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the group argues, and such donations should not be tax-exempt.
The court ruling on the 13 Palestinians’ appeal is only the latest example of a number of cases in which Israeli settlers have gained legal backing from the US government for illegal practices.
Attacks carried out with impunity
Human rights groups in Israel and the Palestinian Territories have long fought for effective Israeli law enforcement against the type of violent acts committed by Israeli settlers that the 13 Palestinians were drawing attention to.
Such acts are often termed “price-tag attacks,” and are carried out to retaliate perceived pressure from both Israeli and foreign governments against settlements, most often with Palestinian civilians as their victims.
They are nearly always carried out with impunity from the law.
Following price-tag attacks on Vatican-owned offices in occupied East Jerusalem in May 2014, Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the government planned to begin using administrative detention against suspected extremists.
Although Israeli police had made scores of arrests before that time, there had been few successful prosecutions for price-tag attacks and the government was facing mounting pressure to authorize the Shin Bet internal security agency to step in.
The US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism discussed price-tag attacks for the first time in 2013, citing UN figures of some “399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.”
The report said such attacks were “largely unprosecuted.”
The Palestinian News & Info Agency WAFA has reported that the soldiers stopped the Palestinian, who was walking with a young woman from his family, and started provoking the two, before the soldiers uttered vulgar words towards the young woman.
The incident caused the young man to engage in a scuffle with the soldiers before one of them shot him dead.
The army is alleging the Palestinian “attempted to stab a soldier,” and was shot dead while trying to flee the scene.
The name of the slain Palestinian is Ali Sa’id Abu Ghannam, 16 years of age.
The Israeli army refused to hand the body of the slain Palestinian to the Red Crescent ambulance that arrived on the scene, and took it to an unknown destination.
The Israeli Police alleged the young Palestinian arrived at the roadblock “and started running towards the soldiers while carrying a butcher knife.”
Ynet News quoted a police statement alleging that one of the soldiers managed to hold the Palestinian, “but he continued to run towards the soldiers,” and they shot him dead.
In related news, Palestinian medical sources have reported that two Palestinians were shot and injured, on Friday, after Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinians east of Abasan town, east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.
One of the wounded was moved to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, suffering a gunshot injury, while the second received treatment by local medics after being shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet.
Aref Tohta with the demolition order in his hand and his family
Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine – On Wednesday night, the Tohta family received a demolition order for their house in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz. After being warned that soldiers would come early on Sunday morning for the demolition, the family was joined by a group of about a dozen international supporters. Despite the warning, nothing happened that night – leaving the family afraid that their house could be demolished at any time without prior warning.
After being told by soldiers that during a demolition they “don’t see anything in front of [them]”, meaning everything will be destroyed, Aref Tohta and his family moved their most needed and precious belongings out of the house. They piled up boxes with warm clothes and blankets for the night, as far away from the house as possible, moved animal shelters and gave the five family dogs away knowing that they would be killed in a demolition.
A demolition of the family home will leave the fifteen family members without a shelter. Twelve of them are children aged between four and eighteen years. Jenny, an ISM-volunteer, staying with the family during the night explained: “any noise – a car door slamming somewhere, a voice heard in the vicinity – made everyone turn their head towards it, fearing an imminent destruction of the house. The fear was visible on everyone’s face”.
When no demolition happened, the father believed it was because the army did not want to have an international presence documenting this aggression. Now, the family lives in constant fear of the army showing up without any prior warning and tearing down the house. Aref Tohta explained the uncertainty the family has to live with every day: “Tomorrow, I don’t know if I have a place to sleep”.
Wadi al-Joz located directly outside the Old City of Jerusalem, is a vulnerable neighborhood that has seen three demolitions in the last three weeks. On 31st of March, the army illegally demolished the Amro family home, neighbors of the Tohta’s, without any demolition order or prior warning.
Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine – Nureddin Amro and his brother Sharif Amro and their families were awakened at 5:30 am by over a hundred Israeli soldiers who came to demolish their home in the Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Both men are blind. The brothers live with their ill 79-year-old mother, their spouses and children. Nureddin has three young children, Sharif has four; all are under 14. Israeli soldiers pointed their guns in through the windows of the house while the children were still asleep and cut the electricity and phone lines to the house.
“We were asleep. They banged on the doors and shouted. Soldiers completely surrounded the neighborhood. There were dogs and aircraft. It was frightening,” said Nureddin. “There was no advanced notice. No reason given. They announced that they came to demolish the house and they started doing it while we were still inside.”
The Amro family stands in the rubble of their demolished home
Nureddin asked for time to go to court or the municipality for an explanation, but the soldiers refused. The soldiers assaulted the family, kicking Sharif and beating everyone, including the women and children. “They attacked us and locked us in one of the rooms. My son and brother were injured. They stayed for four hours and destroyed four rooms, the garden. They would not give us time to take anything from the rooms. All of our things, the children’s pets, their rabbits and chickens were killed under the rubble” Sharif was taken to the hospital after a soldier kicked the blind man hard in the ankle. Israeli forces refused to even let the family salvage their belongings before they tore it down.
Members of the Amro family gathered beside the part of their home that is still standing
Nurredin is the founder and principal of the Siraj al-Quds School for visually impaired and sighted children in Jerusalem. He is a Synergos Institute Social Innovator and was recognized by the British Council for his leadership working for positive change and social development for people with special needs. According to Nureddin, there was no demolition order against the homes although there have been demolitions in the neighborhood before. They had received warnings a couple of months ago to clean up scrap wood, wires and materials that were around the house, and they did the cleaning as required.
While they were demolishing the rooms of the Amro family’s home Israeli forces destroyed a fence on the neighboring Totah family’s land, along with a shelter that housed a horse, chickens, and a dog. Soldiers also cut the family’s internet and broke the water line. The father of the Totah family was beaten, handcuffed, and arrested; he was later released.
As of this writing, the part of the house that remains standing where Nureddin and his brother are staying with their families; still has no electricity, water, sewage or telephone services. Soldiers returned to the family’s home again this morning, moving the rubble that was visible from the street and threatening that they would be back.
Israeli authorities have already annexed land across from the Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood, creating a national park which encompasses an illegal Israeli settlement. Local residents reported, speaking of the constant threat of settlement expansion under the Israeli occupation, that “they want to get rid of all the houses, all the neighborhood. They want to put their hands on this land from here to the Old City.”
“It is always a meritorious deed to get hold of a Palestinian’s possessions” – The code of Jewish Law revised and updated by Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election makes him the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history. His 20% margin of victory (30 Knesset seats to 24 for his nearest opponent) underlines the mass base of his consolidation of power.
Most critical commentators cite Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements; his rejection of any two state solution and his overt appeal for a mass Jewish voter turnout to counteract the ‘droves of Arab voters’ for his electoral victories.
There is no question that the majority of Israeli Jewish leaders and parties support Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements and ‘no-state’ solution and joined him in a coalition government. But the larger issue is the positive mass response to Netanyahu’s call to action. Nearly three quarters of the electorate turned out (73%) to elect him. Moreover, Netanyahu has been elected prime minister for four terms: between 1996-99 and more recently 2009-20.
What is more, the opposition has not differed from the Netanyahu coalition regime’s Judeo-centric policies and pronouncements. In other words, ‘racist’ ideology per se is not what drives the Israeli majority to repeatedly support Netanyahu.
Jewish-centered racism is an integral and accepted part of Israel’s political culture.
Social Colonialism and Netanyahu’s Popularity
There is a more fundamental, ongoing material basis which accounts for Netanyahu’s electoral victories and mass appeal: His regime’s aggressive, perpetual and escalating seizure and dispossession of Palestinians land and his massive financing of Israel’s Jewish colonial towns.
In other words, Netanyahu’s appeal is rooted in the large-scale, long-term housing which hundreds of thousands of low and middle income Israeli Jews have obtained via his brutal land-grabbing policy. The so-called ‘settlers’ are in part armed Israeli Jewish colonists who engage in open theft and defend Netanyahu, because they materially benefit from his policies… It is not only those who have already colonized Palestinian land grabbed after 1967 – over 650,000 Jews – who vote for Netanyahu, but there are the hundreds of thousands of others in Israel, priced out of the Israeli real estate bubble, who cannot afford comfortable housing and look to the West Bank and Jerusalem for a ‘Jewish solution’ at the expense of the Palestinian inhabitants.
Racism, the foul language directed at Palestinians, which pervades Israeli-Jewish culture (‘Arab scum’ is one of many such common expressions) found expression even among the songs celebrating Netanyahu’s latest electoral victory. Racism serves to justify the land grabbing. Can the settler mind even imagine that an ‘inferior people’ should complain about land grabs by the ‘chosen people’ ? Modern educated Jewish professionals wax indignant that shepherds and olive farmers should hold back the development of glitzy shopping malls, million dollar community centers (for Jews only, of course), hospitals, sports complexes and high tech industrial parks.
And if they – ‘the Arabs’ – object to their own displacement, all the better: Their resistance provides an excellent pretext for armed Jewish settler thugs to invade a village, drive out the inhabitant and call in Netanyahu’s bulldozers, as a prelude to establishing an ‘outpost’, first steps to a new Jews only colony!
The key to Netanyahu’s big vote is that he responds favorably and forcefully in favor of new colonies. The self-styled Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) is dispatched to protect the local vandals and to shoot live ammo at any rock-throwing Palestinian adolescent defending the family patrimony.
Netanyahu acts and speaks for the rapacious Jewish colonial masses. The opposition criticized Netanyahu on the basis of his neglect of socio-economic issues in Israel, especially, the soaring prices of housing in the major cities. But they failed to attract many Jewish voters because Netanyahu offers a more attractive alternative solution – the seizure of more Palestinian land and the construction of Jewish homes, instead of fighting powerful Jewish real estate moguls, land speculators and corporate landlords inside Israel.
Extremism at the Service of Jewish Housing is No Vice
For the mass of Israeli Jews, looking for a cheap, easy and government-financed road to comfortable middle class housing, seizing and occupying Palestinian property is a very attractive and viable ‘solution’.
Netanyahu’s ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians – no state – is a guarantee that land, which is seized and housing which is built, will remain under Jewish jurisdiction. The ‘final solution’ for Palestinians is the housing solution for the Jewish masses.
Under Netanyahu, from 2013 to 2015, two-thirds of new housing construction (for Jews only) has taken place on stolen Palestinian lands. His regime spends $252 million dollars a year on Jews-only colonies (‘settlements’). The Netanyahu regime spends $950 for each Jewish colonist in the West Bank, double what is invested for each Jewish Israeli resident in Tel Aviv. For the most aggressive Jewish colonists, those who destroy the productive olive groves, torch Palestinian homes and who establish ‘settler outposts’, Netanyahu spends $1,483 a year . . . with promises of roads, electricity, schools, swimming pools and air conditioning to come!
Owning the Holy City Secures the Unsavory Vote
Netanyahu’s big vote in Jerusalem can be accounted for by the fact that over 300,000 Jews have been the beneficiaries of land grabs and sparkling high-rise condos in what had been centuries-old Palestinian neighborhoods.
Netanyahu assures the Jerusalem Jews that ‘their city’ is and always will be the capital of Israel, an undivided Jewish city.
Sticking his finger in the eyes of the EU and US officials, who claim otherwise, energizes and emboldens the Jewish voters
Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing is unrelenting: That is why he is re-elected over and over again. Israeli colonial settlements grew by over 5% each year from 2009 – 2015. There is no backtracking with Bibi Netanyahu: at this rate of ‘erasure’ all of historical Palestine will be Judified by 2050 at the latest!
Netanyahu claims that Israeli Jews must have their ‘lebensraum’ . . .
Israel and other colonial powers, like England in the 19th century and Germany in the 20th century, ‘solve’ their domestic social problems and social unrest by exporting populations across borders. The attractiveness of this solution is that it preserves the power and privileges of the domestic economic elite and provides an ‘escape valve’ for the local disaffected masses.
Emigration to settler colonies requires violent dispossession of the local inhabitants. If stiff resistance emerges – the imperial powers resort to genocide; extermination of native peoples by the English, Slavic peoples by the Germans, Palestinian Arabs and other non-Jews by the Israeli Jews.
Long past is the notion that Israeli Jews would solve their social -economic problems via a collectivist economy and popular struggle against Jewish plutocrats.
Today Jewish-Israeli millionaires flourish alongside orthodox, secular, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Sabra and Russian emigrant colonists. The former exploits labor and markets, while the latter dispossesses Palestinians. Netanyahu has discovered a formula for uniting quarrelsome Jewish parties, leaders and voters and for winning elections.
Moreover, Netanyahu has secured the financial and political backing of numerous overseas Jewish-Zionist billionaires. He has secured the unconditional support of tens of thousands of middle class Israel-First activists, academics and professionals who operate AIPAC and dozens of similar propaganda mills in Washington and Christian Zionists throughout the US. Netanyahu’s overseas backers ensure that the US government may grumble and criticize, but will never disrupt Netanyahu’s ‘plan’ of an ethnically pure ‘Greater Israel’ with Jerusalem as its ‘eternal’ capital. Obama may whine and talk to the press about ‘reconsidering US-Israeli relations’ but he has assured Israel and Netanyahu that military and economic ties will remain intact.
Netanyahu has succeeded in setting a colonial agenda for all Israeli-Jewish parties (bar one).
He has established the fact that competitive elections and opposition political parties are compatible and even facilitate violent colonial expansion.
He has established the fact that Israel and its people embrace a racist ideology and receive the endorsement of most Western leaders, and mass media and the unconditional support of its overseas fifth column.
Israel’s project for Palestine, the creation of a single Jewish state, is far more than the demented vision of one man. It has been taken to heart by the great mass of the Israeli-Jewish people and their overseas supporters. The victory of Netanyahu and his supporters marks a historic victory for all those regimes and people across the world who believe and fight for an imperial dominated world.
An extreme right-wing Jewish hate preacher has issued a ruling which urges Jews to hold their prayers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rabbi Dov Lior is one of the most influential of the hard-line national-religious rabbis. He served as chief rabbi of the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron, home to mass-murderer Baruch Golstein, who massacred 29 Muslims while they were praying in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994.
Following Lior’s ruling, another extremist, Rabbi Jacob Heydimann, performed the Purim prayer inside the mosque compound with police protection. The mosque guards were removed by the Israeli police. The latest declaration encourages extremist Jewish groups who have increased their calls to enter Al-Aqsa by force and hold more prayers within the Noble Sanctuary.
Lawyer Aviad Visoli, who represented US-born Jewish extremist Yehuda Glick when he was banned by the police from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that every Jew has the right to pray on the “Temple Mount” [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound]. “Praying there is no longer considered a legal violation after the Israeli Supreme Court ordered Glick to be paid half a million shekels in compensation for removing him from the Temple Mount [sic] for performing his biblical prayers there,” said Visoli. “The police must act to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount [sic] freely.”
It is on that basis, he added, that Lior has issued his latest ruling.
According to Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee, large numbers of Israeli troops and municipality inspectors escorted bulldozers and excavators into the southeastern outskirts of the town, where they demolished stone walls and steel structures used by local farmers as store houses and livestock barns.
Abu al-Hummus said the bulldozers “deliberately” ruined the dirt roads used by farmers to access their fields.
The land is located in an area Israeli authorities have earmarked for a national park, in a controversial plan known as “11092”, which aims to turn 700 dunums of land in the Palestinian towns of al-Issawiya and al-Tur into Israeli parkland.
A statement from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in 2013 previously stated that “the plan is part of the Israeli government’s plans to create a Jewish demographic majority in the occupied city.”
In September 2014, an Israeli planning council suspended the plan until the needs of the Arab towns could be assessed. However, the council, which previously approved the annexation of the 700 dunums, said that approval of the plan could be justified and was not fundamentally illegal.
According to Abu al-Hummus, the local Israeli municipality has ignored the plan’s suspension.
“Israeli forces brush aside court decisions and decisions made by different committees when it comes to implementing settlement expansion plans,” he said.
The land leveled on Tuesday is owned by the Abu Asab, Ubeid, Dari, Abu al-Hummus and Ulayyan among others.
East Jerusalem was seized by Israel along with the West Bank in 1967 during the Six-Day War, and since then, the Israeli government has undertaken a policy of “Judaization” across the city, constructing Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes.
There are now believed to be more than 300,000 Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
The international community views East Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian territories and recognizes the annexation and settlement programs as illegal under international law.
The Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Theophilos III, denounced on Thursday what he called “repeated” attacks on Christian and Muslim places of worship in the Palestinian territories by extremist Jewish settlers.
“The targeting of churches and mosques is caused by pervasive racism and hatred,” he said in a statement.
Earlier Thursday, Jewish Settlers set fire to part of a religious school affiliated with Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Which they sprayed with anti-Christian graffiti. On Wednesday, settlers torched and sprayed graffiti on a West Bank mosque.
Theophilos III said Christians represented an “integral part” of the Holy Land, its history and its future, going on to assert that the Greek Orthodox Church was one of the world’s most important churches.
“Criminals will not intimidate this church or its flock,” he declared.
He called on government agencies to address repeated settler attacks on places of worship.
Earlier Thursday, The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on both the Vatican and the international community to protect Islamic and Christian places of worship from what it described as “Jewish extremism.”
“We strongly condemn these acts,” the ministry said in a statement. “Yesterday a mosque near Bethlehem was torched and today a church in Jerusalem [was attacked].”
Extremist Jews, the ministry asserted, continued to attack Muslim and Christian places of worship while the Israeli government did nothing to stop them.
The ministry went on to blame the Israeli government for the trend, calling on the Vatican, the international community and the UN to help protect local religious sites.
On Wednesday, Jewish Settlers set fire to a mosque near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Which Also they covered with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim graffiti.
Several instances of settler attacks on Muslim places of worship have been reported recently, both in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the self-proclaimed Jewish state itself.
JERUSALEM – A right-wing Jewish organization called the Western Wall Heritage Foundation has circulated an invitation for bids to conduct excavations in tunnels under the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a top Palestinian official said Sunday.
Ahmad Qurei, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the work would start on Feb. 20.
In a statement, Qurei, who chairs a PLO department for Jerusalem affairs, described the move as dangerous. He said that Israeli engineers and contractors had toured the al-Aqsa mosque compound secretly a few days ago to explore the location before they submit their bids.
The Israeli occupation government, added the statement, through these “aggressive excavations,” plans to create new paths and chambers under the Western Wall of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in order to enhance its grab on the Old City of Jerusalem and eventually transform it into a Jewish city both physically and demographically.
Israel has already excavated dozens of tunnels under the Old City as part of its efforts to displace the indigenous Palestinian residents and replace them with Jewish settlers, according to Qurei.
One of the tunnels, he said, runs from Ein Silwan to the western wall of the al-Aqsa mosque. Another major tunnel runs from the wall to the Omari school in the Muslim quarter. A third tunnel runs from the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall of the al-Aqsa mosque.
In addition, added Qurei, there are ongoing excavations in attempts to connect between illegal settlement outposts in the Old City.
More than 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem have been shortlisted to be demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities, Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) has revealed.
The centre’s head, Ziad Hamouri, said that the reason these homes have been shortlisted for demolition is that they were built without building licences issued by the Israeli municipality in the occupied city. Applications for such licences from Palestinians are rarely approved.
According to Hamouri, the Israelis use the licence issue as a pretext to get rid of the centuries-old Palestinian existence in Jerusalem. Few Palestinians can afford a building licence even if an application is approved. “The Israeli demands for a construction licence are punitive financially and procedurally,” said Hamouri. “Every licence takes from five to eight years to be issued and they cost from $30,000 t0 $50,000 each.”
Such measures do not apply to Jews living in the city, who even find apartments ready-made for them to move into and are exempt from frequent and very high taxes.
The Palestinian Authority has called for the international community to stop Israel taking ever more Palestinian land by stealth.