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3,750 Jerusalemites, including 1,070 children, arrested since Trump declared city Israel’s capital

December 16, 2019 at 2:34 am

People attend a demonstration against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, at the Times Square in New York City, US on 9 December 2017 [Mohammed Elshamy / Anadolu Agency]

Yesterday, Saturday, a report issued by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies (PCBS) showed that the Israeli authorities had arrested 3,750 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem since the US announced its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 6 December 2017.

According to the PCBS, 1,070 children, under 18, have been detained, in addition to 171 women and girls, including minors, wounded women, mothers, and women who have been staging a sit-in in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Riyad Al-Ashqar, spokesman and researcher for the PCBs, said that the Occupation authorities had increased their aggression against the Jerusalemites since Trump’s announcement, to force them to accept the decision, and not to allow them to catch their breath and prepare for more confrontation.

Al-Ashqar affirmed that the arrests in Jerusalem during the past two years escalated on certain occasions, such as during the forced entry of the worshipers from Beb Al-Rahma gate, which was followed by the arrest of dozens of Palestinians, including national leaders and clerics, namely, Sheikh Abdul-Azim Salhab, the head of the Muslim Waqf (Endowment) Council, and Sheikh Najeh Bkerat, Deputy Director of Muslim Endowments.

The arrest campaign was extended to all the villages, towns, and districts of Jerusalem. Yet, Isawiya was primarily targeted by this campaign, as 1,400 locals were arrested, followed by Shuafat, 498 arrests, then Silwan, 504, Old City, 429, and Al-Aqsa Mosque, 344 while the rest of the arrestees were from different Palestinian villages and towns.

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In its report, the PCBs pointed out that the Occupation intentionally arrested 1,070 minors, under 18, and put them under house arrest, in addition to targeting children under 12, i.e. 74 children of this category were also incarcerated. The Israeli authorities also continued to focus Jerusalemite women, especially those who have been staging a sit-in in Al-Aqsa Mosque, intending to deter them from protecting the holy sites and defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The report stated that 171 women and girls were arrested in Jerusalem, including wounded women. Thus, the majority of them were released in exchange for home confinement or being banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for various periods.

The National Office for the Defence of Land and Resistance of Settlement indicated in its weekly report that the city of Hebron had been directly targeted by Israeli settlement and Judaization projects, as plotted by the Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett.

The report stressed that the Occupation Civil Administration sent a letter last week to the Hebron municipality asking the officials there to agree to destroy the wholesale market in the heart of the city to rebuild it again, so that a new settlement outpost can be established, and to add a floor above the market that includes 70 housing units for the settlers.

Indonesians come together to protest against US President Donald Trump’ decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem [Anton Raharjo/Anadolu Agency]

In the letter, the Civil Administration threatened that if the Hebron municipality did not respond to the request within 30 days, it would initiate judicial procedures to cancel the municipality’s status as a protected tenant to the market. Hence, the official responsible for government property in the Civil Administration claimed that the occupation has the right to annul the municipality’s management of the market and cancel its legal status as a protected tenant by claiming that the city has established an alternative market and that the state is ready to preserve the municipality’s right in the basement if it does not oppose the settlement scheme.

According to the report, the threat, forwarded by the Occupation authorities to the Hebron municipality under Bennett’s instructions, was aimed to initiate a plan to establish an outpost in the wholesale market area without clarifying whether Palestinian merchants can return to work in their stores afterwards.

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The report highlighted that Hebron “has been visibly targeted more than ever,” confirming that the Occupation authorities in the city of Hebron have been practicing a stifling policy under the pretext of security measures, at times, and under cover of superstitions, at other times,  a system of restrictions against the Palestinians as a means of forcibly displacing them. On the other hand, Israel has invoked false security arguments to apply in the Hebron City centre area a policy aimed at making the lives of the Palestinian population an unbearable hell to force them to leave their homes.

This policy adopts mechanisms of severe and extreme separation that Israel has applied in the city for 25 years, to enable settlers to live in the heart of a crowded Palestinian town. This policy violates the prohibition of deportation, which is considered as a war crime, especially as the Israeli occupation authorities deliberately restrict the Palestinians inhabiting the city and ignore their needs to force them to leave. The Occupation oppressive methods practiced against the Palestinians are reversed in the case of the settlers, whose needs are met continuously, amid a proportionately controlled atmosphere by the Israeli authorities to encourage them to stay in the city.

In addition to the settlement and Judaization plans designated for the city of Hebron, the Occupation authorities have extended the decision to seize thousands of dunums of land in Tulkarm, Qalqilya and Salfit.