Palestinian protestors killed in occupied East Jerusalem

25th Aug 2017
Palestinian protestors killed in occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinians pray Friday Prayers in front of Damascus Gate of Al Aqsa Mosque compound Jerusalem July 28 following a week of unrest (Photo: Turgut Alp Boyraz/ AA)

Farhaan Roble

Three Palestinians were killed in occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank in protests after Israeli authority banned worshippers under the age of 50 from entering al-Aqsa mosque earlier last month. The weeklong ban was put in place on July 21 and a cordon of metal detectors was placed around the compound. 3,000 police personnel were also brought in to quell any unrest.

The security measures, dubbed as “Judaization of Jerusalem” by the Arab League, caused widespread protests and clashes with armed illegal settlers across the occupied territories, protests which Israeli security forces responded to with live fire, rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.

Two Palestinians, 17 and 24, were killed by live fire during protests in East Jerusalem and a third was killed in clashes in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Teenager Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf was killed by an armed illegal Israeli settler in Ras al-Amud neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Sharaf, who was shot in the neck, was from the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

Sharaf was quickly buried in an effort to prevent Israeli forces from confiscating his body. Israel frequently confiscates the bodies of Palestinians slain by its forces as a means of collective punishment with the stated intention of discouraging funerals that turn into mass protests, withholding the bodies sometimes for months.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had treated 193 injured people across Jerusalem on the West Bank on July 21, warning of “foreseen tensions and potential clashes”.

The standoff began after a shootout between armed Palestinian’s and Israeli guards on July 14 near the Haram al-Sharif complex in Jerusalem, the incident left the three attackers as well as two Israeli policemen dead. However, the aggressive recompose to the incident and the collective punishments have prompted Hamas to call for a “day of anger”.

However, the violations against the Palestinians continued when 58 Israeli settlers forced their way into Al-Aqsa mosque on August 6. Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League for Palestine Affairs, Saed Abu Ali, said the “unprecedented incidents in Jerusalem were a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinians and Muslims, and the international covenants and resolutions.”

Israel insists on the “spatial and temporal division of Al-Aqsa Mosque and is deliberately planning to continue its Judaization of Jerusalem,” Ali said in a statement.

Hamas Leader, Ismail Haniya, said, “To the Zionist enemy, I say openly and clearly: al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are red lines. Truly they are red lines.”

Jerusalem is considered a holy city in all Abrahamic faiths however Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in particular, is contested by some Jews who believe that it lies exactly where Solomon’s temple used to stand.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister, Riad Malki, highlighted the “annual massive assault against al-Aqsa on the occasion of the anniversary of the so-called destruction of the temple.”

Others however have hinted at this whole incident being a “political game”. Mohammad Barakeh, Palestinian in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), said “The Israeli Government’s [decision] of referring the matter to the police is a political game in order to absolve Netanyahu of any responsibility by implying that this is not a political issue, rather a security.”

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