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Israeli violations in the occupied West Bank "have escalated"

February 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

A Palestinian research centre monitoring Israeli violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has accused Israel of escalating the level of attacks on Palestinian citizens and their properties over the past month across the West Bank and Jerusalem. The latest monthly report from the Land Research Centre said that the violations committed by Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers in occupied Jerusalem during the month of May include house demolitions, land confiscation and closures of roads and mosques. All, says the report, should be seen in the context of Israel’s systematic Judaisation scheme aimed at emptying Jerusalem of its original inhabitants and settling more Jews in the city.

The report documents hundreds of violations and procedures which have deprived Jerusalem’s Palestinian citizens of their right to housing. A number have been forced by the Israeli authorities to destroy their own houses. In addition, the Jerusalem municipality has imposed very high fines on four families in the Bostan area of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, totalling 69,000 Shekels (equivalent to $20,000). Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch ordered the closure of the Ibn Qudama Mosque located in the Wady El Joz neighbourhood; the mosque was searched and worshippers were arrested.

With regard to settlers’ attacks on Palestinians, the report mentioned an incident in mid-May in which a group of Jews, accompanied by Israeli police officers, broke into some Palestinian houses in the Eisawiyya neighbourhood, which led to the arrest of more than 13 Palestinians who were trying to prevent the settlers’ illegal action. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at the Palestinians during the incident.

According to the Land Research Centre, a number of settlers set fire to more than 300 olive trees – aged 400+ years – in the town of Hizma in East Jerusalem. It also noted that the Settlement Association seized a building owned by the Salah family in the town of Safafa and that the group threatens to demolish all the houses owned by the family and establish a settlement unit on the rubble. On the 44th anniversary of the Occupation of Jerusalem, the Centre reports that illegal settlers started a provocative campaign which included an incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque, provocative marches and attacks on Jerusalemites and their commercial interests across the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Ras Amoud.

May 2011 also witnessed the murder of a minor, 17-year-old Milad Ayyash, in Silwan, who was killed by Israeli gunfire for no apparent reason.