During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, an elevated number of Palestinians attempt to access the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem to pray. This number is even larger on Fridays when hundreds of thousands of worshipers from the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) come to pray in the Mosque. The subsequent upsurge in Israelis forces and the restrictions they place on worshipers can lead to confrontations and instances of violence against civilians.
On Friday 19 August, Yazan Riyad al-‘Abassi, a 16-year-old resident of the Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem was attacked by Israeli Border Guards and Special Forces while waiting for his brothers to come out of the local mosque. The area contained large crowds of Palestinians worshipers who Israeli forces had delayed from entering the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque compound.The Israeli personnel beat Yazan and threw him inside a car before taking him out again and spraying pepper spray in his face. In an impaired state, Yazan was taken to the Israeli police station in East Jerusalem for questioning and eventually transported to the hospital for treatment. Five days after the incident he was still suffering from impaired vision caused by the attack. (See Al-Haq Affidavit 2011/6575).
At 6:30 am on the same day, a few hours after confrontations between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in the Bab al-Hutta neighbourhood of the Old City, a group of Israeli Border Guards entered a nearby Palestinian home and attacked several members of the same family, beating them with batons and shooting rubber bullets.Saleh Deeb al-Fakhouri (58 years), the head of the household, reported hearing someone yelling in Hebrew in the courtyard outside his home. He then heard his front door open so got out of bed and walked to his living room where he found five Border Guard officers.Saleh approached one of the armed men and asked why they had entered his house without permission. The officer responded that they would do whatever they wanted and then swore at him. Saleh calmly asked the men to leave his house, afraid of the consequences of a verbal confrontation. The officer responded by pushing him out of the way.At that moment Saleh heard a scream in the courtyard and all of the armed men left the house. Saleh looked out to see his nephew, Ahmad Deeb al-Fakhouri (55 years), being beaten with batons on the steps of his family’s house, which shares the courtyard with Saleh’s home. Ahmad had tried to prevent the Border Guards from entering his house where his children and wife were asleep. The armed men were now threatening the women of the family with batons so that they could not approach the scene.Saleh tried to go to his nephew’s aid but an officer hit him on the head with a baton. When Saleh’s family attempted to defend him the Border Guards also attacked them.As the situation deteriorated, a border patrol officer in civilian clothing entered the courtyard and yelled at his soldiers to leave. As they left, one of the men fired rubber bullets at the family, wounding Ahmad’s sons. ‘Abd’al-Fattah (25 years) was shot in the face and Tha’er (23 years) in the knee (See Al-Haq Affidavit 2011/6566).Clashes in the neighborhood delayed an ambulance from reaching the courtyard for several hours. Saleh and his relatives were eventually taken to a hospital where he was treated for the wound on his head as well as a fractured hand.
Download the Weekly Focus as a PDF