The Second Half of 2012: More Demolitions, Arrests and Attacks Against The Citizens of Jerusalem

 By The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ)*

     The city of Jerusalem witnessed yet another year of the occupation and is greeting new year empty of hope. This hopelessness is a result of the ongoing oppression, settlements and projects to make Jerusalem a Jewish-only city, and of the ongoing arrests, attacks, house demolitions and financial fines against the Palestinian citizens in Jerusalem.

     In the report issued by The Information Center of Wadi Hilweh about the last 6 months of 2012, most of the attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem were highlighted, as well attacks on their property and holy places. The report included information about the arrests, the demolitions, the attacks, the settlements, the expulsion from the Aqsa Mosque and the forcible shutting down of Palestinian organizations.

More than 350 citizens were arrested, among them dozens of children

     Both full arrests and house arrests function as a tool for the occupation used to break the will of the Jerusalem citizens to resist against its oppression.

     Theses arrests are often directed at children aged of 16 years old and less. These children are often interrogated in an aggressive and frightening way, and are often sentenced to house arrests and forced to pay financial fines, all of which affects their emotional condition and limits their freedom.

     Over the last 6 months more than 350 citizens from Jerusalem (including youth, children and women) were arrested and interrogated, and a few were held for hours. These minors come from all areas from Jerusalem, mostly from Silwan and Al Essawiye, then from the Shuafat refugee camp, the old city, al-Sawane and Bet Hanina.There is an average of almost 60 arrests per month, or two arrests per day.

     Among those arrested were 13 females, a few of them minors. Four of them were given long arrest extensions, two were accused of stabbing a soldier and one is still under arrest until today.

     A few of the arrested citizens were arrested more than once in the same month, and most of the citizens were released after paying the bail money (between 500 NIS to 2,000 NIS). After being released, most are sentenced to house arrests.

24 house demolitions, 7 of them were “Self-Demolished”

     The Israeli demolition machine continued to demolish the houses of the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem throughout the second half of 2012, at an average of almost 4 demolitions in a month. The report divided the informationa as follows:

     Al Tur (East of the old city) – The houses that were demolished belongs to: Adel Aramin, Emad Abu Laban, two houses belonging to the brothers Bassam and Sharif Al Ja’bari, a store that belongs to Muhammad Abu al Hawa that used to be rented to a Pharmacy and an office for rental cars.

    Al Sawaneh – Rif’at al Halawani demolished his house even though it was there before 1948 and the State of Israel.

    Old City of Jerusalem – Muhammad al Shalabi demolished part of his house.

    Bet Hanina – Nawal Suliman demolished part of her house, Ali Ahmad demolished part of his house after receiving a warrant from the municipality, Israeli bulldozers demolished a caravan and a stable that belongs to the Custodian of the Absentee Property, and six stores and caravans that belonging to Taleb Edris and Usama al Malhi.

    Bet Safafa – Mousa Aliyan demolished his house with his own hands before it was 100% completed.

    Soor Baher (the North of Jerusalem) – the Dabash family demolished 2 houses that belongs to them after the municipality claimed the a new 9 meters road will pass through the area

    Jabal al Mukabbe – Israeli bulldozers demolished the house of Muhammad Ali Za’atre, and sheep pens that belonging to Aziz Ja’aybes.

    Al Azzariya – The municipality bulldozers demolished a populated house and an aluminum factory that belonging to Osama Taha and a caravan and housing units that belonging to Abd al Rahman Abu G’alus.

    Al Nabi Samuel – Israeli bulldozers demolished a number of caravans.

    Silwan – Israeli bulldozers demolished an umbrella above a house roof, a caravan and a room in the Abassiye area belonging to Muntasar Sarhan even though it was more than 100 years old.

Dozens of demolition warrants and a few house takeovers

    Most of the demolition warrants were focused in Silwan and other areas, as well as settlers takeovers of a few of the houses.

   In Silwan, demolition warrants were issued in July, August, three times in September, twice in October, once in November and three times in December.

   The municipality staff raided all the areas of Silwan, distributing at random demolition warrants to houses and buildings.

    The Shamasne Family got an eviction warrant in the Sheikh Jarrah area; after  the family is evicted, settlers will be able to take over. The family was originally given a deadline until the end of 2012, but at the last moment the order was frozen until March 1, 2013.

    Many warrants were delivered in the Sawane area, East of the Old City.

    Settlers took over a 5-story building in Jabal al Mukabber, and took over the house of the Hamdalla family in Ras al Amoud, as well as another house in Al Tur.

    The lawyer of the Ja’aybes family managed to receive three month freeze of the demolition of five houses that were supposed to be demolished around the end of 2012.

Attacking the citizens, their properties and holy places… More than 22 citizens from Jerusalem were assaulted

    Over the last six months, many Palestinian residents of Jerusalem were attacked, their youth injured and their property and holy sites damaged. Many of the attacks were carried out by settlers.

    23 citizens were attacked by the settlers or by the police forces of the Border Police unit of the IDF, a few were attacked because they are Arabs, many families were attacked in their houses, some in the court while waiting for the trials of their sons. Other than the physical attacks, families also incurred many damage costs as a result of attacks on Palestinian properties, as well the holy places such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a few Monasteries.

    Racist statements where written on the walls of the Monasteries of Latroun, the Maslabeh, Saint Gorgeous in East Jerusalem, the Franciscan in the Old City. The graffiti were made of hateful language against Jesus Christ.

   The AL-AQSA MOSQUE was raided many times, Jewish ceremonies were made in the middle of its courtyard while the invaders were guarded by the Israeli police. Most of these incidents occurred in September and the beginning of October. Addtionally, an Israeli settler raided the mosque’s courtyard from the Dung Gate while wearing a militant uniform, as well raids by the intelligence forces, soldiers, and an incident in which the Israeli flag was raised over the Dome of the Rock.

    The Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in October, surrounded the worshipers inside of it and used sound and gas bombs and rubber bullets against them.

    Israeli forces prevented the worshipers from praying in Al-Aqsa, limiting the ages of the men, as well as preventing them from praying in it during Jewish holidays.

    Many assaults and attacks against Palestinian citizens in Jerusalem by extremist Israelis were shown in the report.

     These Palestinians were attacked while walking in the streets of Western Jerusalem, many of them were harmd badly, such as: Jamal al Julani, Ebrahim Abu Ta’a, Ebrahim al Salaime, Nasim Abu Rumuz, Islam Markisto, Fadi Al Namri, the brothers Nihad al Juhad Zg’ir, Ehab Abu Snene, Tamer Badawi, Abed al Salam al Kaimari and the child Arin Dmeri while she was in the Jaras Garden.

The settlers of Ras al Amoud attacked the locals of Silwan

    The settlers of Rekhes Shoufat attacked the locals of Shoufat, they threw stones at them, wrecked their cars and wrote racist statements against Arabs on them.

    Additionally, there were those attacked by Israeli forces, such as Hassan al Afifi who was brutally attacked by the forces after he was arrested from his house, Muhammad Mashahre was beaten at the border of Al Sheikh Sa’ed, Hani Abu al Hawa while he was near a store in Al Tur at the same time as confrontations, the Bazian family in Atarot; Em Zuher al Bazian 66 years old andher sons: `Zuher, 50 years old, Talal 40 years old, Bilal 27, and her 17 year old grandsons Nour and Yussef, as well were many attacks during other arrests.

    The Police of the Memadyon Park attacked Talal al Sayad with a taser while he was there with family and friends.

    The Israeli forces shot towards Rami Kayed Shkerat while he was near the Jabal Mukabber police, claiming he tried to enter the police center and run over soldiers.

    The security guards of the Israeli courts and the Nahshon units attacked the families of arrested individuals and a few of them were even arrested themselves as in the case of Samer al Essawi’s family, the families of Abu Diab, Al Qak, Qarain and Odeh

    The Essawiye village went through hard times like never before over the last two weeks of the current December, many houses were raided, many arrests, confrontations, the water shut off, random fines issues, and car licenses cancelled.

Exclusion citizens from al Aqsa and The old city of Jerusalem

    The Israeli policy continues to ban people from the Al-Aqsa mosque and the old city. They excluded around 40 citizens, both men and women, for different period of times, between 15 days and 6 months. Among the people excluded were locals of the Old City and people who worked in the Al-Aqsa mosque, as well as the administrator of the Al-Aqsa Mosques, Al-Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat.

Targeted reporters

    Reporters in Jerusalem are being targeted by the authorities, who attacked:

– The reporter Ali al Diwani, who was injured from his ear and sustained a few scars on his body.

– The reporter Mahfuz Abu Turk, who was injured from a rubber bullet while covering the incidents at the Kalandia border crossing.

– The reporter Atta Ewessat, who was injured on the right side of the face after he was stoned by extreme Israelis while he was doing his job in the “Religious Area.”

– The reporter Ibrahim al Husseini and the photographer Ayman Aliyan, who were injured while they were doing their jobs near the Dung Gate.

– Said al Qak, who was injured by a sound bomb.

– The reporters Mahmood Eliyan and Diyala Jwejan were also injured.

    Many of the the reporters were injured from the Israeli forces during the raiding of the Al-Aqsa, including the photographer Ammar Awad, whose leg muscles were ripped, and reporters who were injured from sound bombs, including Mahmood Eliyan, Maysa Abu G’azaleh, Muammar Awad, Mouna al Kawasme.

Attacking Remnants, Houses and schools

    The schools in Jerusalem experienced a few raids from the soldiers or the Under Cover Units (Musta’ribin) as happened in the Primary and the Junior High Schools in Silwan, and the Boys School in Al Tur.

   Additionally, Israeli forces raided many buildings in Shoufat and took pictures of them.

   The Umayyad and The Abbasid remnants in Silwan were attacked by the occupation authorities including the Jerusalem municipality and the Department of Antiquities.

Suppressing Marches and Demonstrations

    Many youth organized peaceful marches and peaceful demonstrations, especially near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, but they always faced brutal repression from the Israeli forces, such as the use of Sound Bombs, Horsemen Units, and random arrests of the people in the area. Israeli forces reppressed a Solidarity march with the Palestinian prisoners, a solidarity march with Gaza, a march against the film that slandered The Prophet, a solidarity march with Gaza near the Hebrew University, and they prevented the people from organizing a festival in memory of the Nakba and shut down the Hakawati Theatre.

Acquittal of individuals and proof of home-ownership

     In addition to the sad news, there was some happy news over the last six months of 2012. There was happy news for Mousa Darwish, Muhammad Erfaiye, Muhannad Mahmood, Youssef Aliyan and Muhammad Aliyan, after an Israeli soldier admitted during a trial -when he was asked about his interrogation of five men from jerusalem that were arrested in the “Land Day” confrontations- that many of the Undercover units participated in throwing stones at the Israeli forces and they were arrested for two weeks and released to a house arrest.

    Additionally, the courts acquitted 5 minors from Silwan after they were arrested for one and a half years. Their names: Muaz al Shayoukhi, Suhaib al Rajabi, Hani al Shweki, Loai Rajabi, Mahmood Abu Nab.

    Two families succeeded in proving the ownership of their houses in Silwan, the Qarain and the Faraj family, after long struggles that lasted years in the Israeli courts.

Settlements projects and restrictions

    Many projects were built and approved for settlers in Jerusalem over the last half year. Around 2,386 units were approved in the past six months, while last year there were only 312 units approved, meaning the approval rates were eight times higher than the year before.

    The policy of Judaizing Jerusalem and its historical landmarks began with the Israeli occupation and has increased at the last period. There were Israeli attempts to take over the entrance of Ein Silwan. Settlers started excavation projects that led to the collapse of the ground in Wadi Hilweh. The municipality changed the Arabic names of the streets in Silwan and al-Sawane to Hebrew names.

    And the settlements projects they are continuing. In the Old City, there is a project to build a Synagogue called “Israel’s Pearl” 200 meters from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to the approval of thousands of houses in the North, South, West and East parts of Jerusalem.

    Especially in Silwan, many settlers have received a green light to build without any permits or any opposition from the Municipality of Jerusalem. They have permission to build housing units, and the District Committee approved a tourist center and an Antiseptic facility for religious Israelis in Al Ein al Foka, which will be around 200 square meters. The “Moria company” is planning to build a tunnel between the settlement known as the City of David and the Giv’ati Parking-Lot.

    There has been excavation in the Umayyad Castles and confiscation of a piece of land from the Bab al Rahme cemetery.

    Another part of Israel’s settlement project was the shutting down the border of Ras Khamis in order to complete the separation wall around the Shuafat refugee camp, which would thereby separate the camp completely from Jerusalem.

   As for the procedures that are trying to impoverish Palestinian existence in Jerusalem, the occupation authorities shut down the organizations of Beit al Shark and 11 others, among them the organizations Al Dirasat, Chamber of Industrial Commerce, and the Club of the Jerusalem prisoners. (T/R-022/R-006)

*The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) is a groundbreaking new initiative that is organising non-violent civil resistance on 30th March 2012 in Palestine and the four neighbouring countries: Egypt, Lebanon Jordan and Syria.

The GMJ is comprised of a diverse coalition of Palestinian, Arab and international activists who are united in the struggle to liberate the holy city of Jerusalem (the city of Peace) from illegal Zionist occupation.

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